Food for sex: UN Staff in Uganda accused of sexual abuse & exploitation

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The United Nations has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and the exploitation of vulnerable women by members of its staff in Uganda’s drought-stricken northeastern Karamoja region.
The inquiry by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services, which began early this month, follows allegations by a whistleblower of sexual abuse and exploitation by a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) staffer against a “female victim” – and a more general pattern of serious sexual misconduct by other UN staff working in what is Uganda’s poorest region.



The allegations centre on the World Food Programme compound in the town of Moroto, and involve UN staff demanding sex from local women in exchange for food, and the hiring of sex workers who are brought onto the UN base, several UN personnel in Moroto told The New Humanitarian, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have been informed of the allegations made against UN staff residing at the compound managed by WFP in Moroto and are investigating,” Amanda Lawrence-Brown, WFP’s Nairobi-based regional spokesperson, told TNH.



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“There is no place for any form of sexual harassment, exploitation, or abuse at the World Food Programme, including by non-WFP staff residing at compounds managed by WFP in the field,” she said.
In response to the allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by staff in Moroto, Rosa Malango, the UN’s resident coordinator in Uganda, sent an email to all UN heads of agencies.



“I look forward to the updates from UN heads on action taken so far including the immediate suspension of staff pending the conclusions of investigations,” Malango said in her email.
Malango emphasised that the UN has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and abuse, and said the “concerned agencies are dealing with the issue”.
The New Humanitarian

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