New York

26 February 2018

Note to correspondents on sexual harassment in the workplace

The following was read out at Monday’s daily press briefing:

Earlier today, the Secretary-General sent a message to staff to underscore his commitment to encourage and enable staff to call out sexual harassment in the workplace, and to support victims and witnesses.

The “Speak up” helpline will be operational tomorrow. Open 24 hours a day, the helpline will be a resource for UN Secretariat personnel to speak confidentially with an impartial and trained individual who can provide information on protection, support and reporting mechanisms. The goal is to attend to the needs of personnel, and to empower them to make informed decisions on action, if they so choose.

To improve and centralize the Secretariat’s response capacity, the Investigations Division of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) will, with immediate effect, take responsibility for investigating all complaints of sexual harassment, and implement a streamlined, fast-tracked procedure to receive, process and address complaints.

A specialized team focusing on the investigation of sexual harassment is being created, and additional investigators are under recruitment.  Particular attention will be given to increasing the number of female investigators.

In his message to colleagues, the Secretary-General reiterated his commitment to zero tolerance of sexual harassment, and underlined that harassment of any type is antithetical to the principles for which we stand as an Organization.

As members of a standard-setting institution, he added, we must all be committed to fostering an inclusive environment in which every person is valued and respected. A harmonious, safe and civil workplace is key to delivering on our mandates for the people we serve, he said in his message.