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UN staff sent home in midst of sexual misconduct allegations

May 1, 2018 1:20 am

Two senior male expatriate United Nations staff from the World Food Program (WFP) have been sent home pending a formal investigation by the world body into allegations of sexual misconduct.

WFPs Regional Communications Officer for Asia Pacific – Silk Buhr has confirmed to FBC News that there were a number of allegations made about two of their staff in the Fiji country office and that the agency has now formally initiated an investigation.

Buhr adds at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.

FBC News understands the allegations were reported by local staff with the WFP.

Police Spokesperson Ana Naisoro says they have yet to receive a report on the alleged sexual assault.

Emails and phone calls to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a comment on the issue have been futile.

WFP only set up a Fiji office in 2016 in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston.

UN staff are covered by Diplomatic Immunity which is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

Meanwhile, this year the aid sector has come under scrutiny for alleged sexual misconduct and abuse, most notably within the global charity Oxfam.

It is alleged staff employed by Oxfam Great Britain paid for sex with young women in Haiti and Chad which led the organisation to apologise and the British Government has since set up a special unit to investigate sex abuse in humanitarian agencies.