Thank you, Chair.
The lessons learned from the Independent Expert Panel report must not only result in a stronger UNAIDS, but also in stronger international institutions striving for the elimination of harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power. We are in a global landscape where civil society space is shrinking and under threat. As people living with HIV and key populations are experiencing continuous sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power, we need strong supranational institutions that have the moral authority to point out such abuse of power and discrimination.
We, the NGO delegation, support the UNAIDS Secretariat’s participation in UN system-wide efforts to strengthen the UN system’s ability to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and related issues.
We appreciate the October 2018 UN System Model Policy on Sexual Harassment, which we note includes mention of gendered and other power imbalances that “could impact on sexual harassment and violate the human right of equality,” as well as the “very specific harassment threats that Trans and gender non-conforming individuals are facing.” We who have been victims of assault, harassment and bullying reserve the right to file when we are ready, and we need to be empowered to choose our own processes of resolution without having the fear of retaliation. Each of these is in keeping with the recommendations of the UNAIDS Independent Expert Panel Report.
We appreciate the establishment and work of the Chief Executives Board/Inter-Agency Standing Committee/UN-Representatives of Investigations Services working group on strengthening United Nations system investigation practices, and we strongly urge that the committee does its work to review the required standard of proof as soon as possible.
We ask this group to consider whether an external and independent investigation, disciplinary and redress system (established working with key stakeholders, including survivors) could improve investigative practices and the willingness of the entire UN system personnel to report.
We envision a stronger UNAIDS.
PCB Special Session March 2019
Agenda Item 2: Update on prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power at UNAIDS Secretariat
Delivered by Devanand Milton, NGO Latin America and Caribbean
Tags: Special Session