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Prevention of harassment and abuse

UN-Habitat has a zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment, including abuse of power and authority and treats any complaints about such behaviour with the utmost seriousness.

The UN-Habitat Executive Director has told all staff she encourages reporting of any kind of harassment and emphasized this in a townhall meeting and memo to all staff. Staff have been mandated to undertake online training on harassment.

UN-Habitat is utilizing the UN system wide sexual harassment policies (ST-SGB-2008-5  and  ST/SGB/2005/20 ) and is currently part of the UN  team reviewing these policies.

Anyone with information regarding sexual misconduct or other wrongdoing relating to UN-Habitat programmes or involving UN-Habitat personnel is strongly encouraged to report it in confidence through the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) of the United Nations. 

Taking Action on Sexual Harassment

The Secretary-General has repeatedly emphasized that sexual harassment is unacceptable and prohibited conduct that undermines the Core Values of the United Nations. The UN has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and subsequently, UN-Habitat must lead by example, be a standard-setting institution, and commit to fostering an inclusive environment in which every person is valued and respected.

The Information Note by the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) on Taking Action on Sexual Harassment, available in English and French , details what you can do if you believe you have been a target of sexual harassment or if you witness sexual harassment in the workplace. It also provides details on how to take formal action, how to seek protection against retaliation, and resources available for advice and support.

The Information Note and the Secretary-General’s Bulletin ST/SGB/2008/5 provide   information detailing a number of resources available to all personnel to seek advice and oversight. This list is not exhaustive and UN-Habitat personnel at all levels may opt to report wrongdoing  other channels such as: Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, Regional Director/Country Manager, immediate or second supervisor, the Gender Focal point, the Legal focal point, the Human Resources focal point or to any person with whom the staff members trusts and feels safe and confident to confide in.. Subsequent to receiving information on allegations pertaining to prohibited conduct as outlined in ST/SGB/2008/5 , which includes sexual harassment,  the person confided in should follow the correct channels, as set out in ST/SGB/2008/5 to ensure that the matter reaches the requisite office and appropriate action is taken.

It is important to note and be aware of the Secretary-General’s Bulletin ST/SGB/2017/2 on protection against retaliation, otherwise known as “whistleblower protection” to provide protection to personnel who may otherwise be reluctant to come forward. Likewise, the alleged offender is equally protected until a full investigation has been completed and the outcome validated.

Anyone who has faced, is facing or has witnessed sexual harassment, or any form of prohibited conduct as outlined in ST/SGB/2008/5 , is strongly urged to speak out and inform. The allegations will be dealt with in line with ST/SGB/2008/5, and where proven, disciplinary action will be taken in line with the offence commensurate to the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations and practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters.

All UN-Habitat personnel are required to complete the enhanced mandatory training on “Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse by United Nations Personnel – Working Harmoniously” available through Inspira  in English (LMS-2965-1) and French (LMS-2966-1). 

Managers have an additional responsibility to ensure a harmonious working environment for all personnel, a duty to protect those under supervision and a duty to report any prohibited conduct. All managers must ensure that their respective personnel complete this training and abide by the rules as stipulated in ST/SGB/2008/5.

March 2018

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