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UN urged to take criminal action against widespread sexual abuse

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UN urged to take criminal action against widespread sexual abuse

The United Nations flag at the UN's headquarters in New York
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A new report alleges sexual harrassment and assault is rife within the United Nations because there's a culture of impunity throughout the organisation.

Self regulation does not work. It particularly doesn't work where there is no oversight and that is the problem that you have in the UN

Peter A Gallo Director, Hear their Cries

The UN says it has a "zero tolerance" policy.

But Peter A. Gallo, a former UN worker and author of the study told euronews that women know that if they report it, they face retaliation, they'll lose any chance of promotion and they'll be the ones victimised

"It appears to be a problem across the whole spectrum of the organisation. Whether it is worse in the field commissions than it is in the headquarters locations, we think so, but we don't know because there isn't any concrete evidence," said Gallo. "Self regulation does not work. It particularly doesn't work where there is no oversight and that is the problem that you have in the UN. The investigation are not carried out with a view to seeking a criminal conviction.

Last year saw 31 new cases alleging sexual abuse or exploitation by UN personnel, nearly half of which involve the U.N. refugee agency, the body formerly headed by the current Secretary General António Guterres.

Calls are growing for more action against sex harrassment claims