UN fires Indian official over sexual misconduct

UN fires Indian official over sexual misconduct

Ravi Karkara

In the strongest disciplinary measure available within staff rules in the United Nations, an Indian national employed in the UN agency for gender equality and women empowerment has been dismissed after an investigation determined he engaged in sexual misconduct.

The UN Women had said last month that the Office of Audit and Investigation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had completed its investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations involving the UN Women staff member.

While the staff member has not been named throughout the process of investigation, sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against Indian national Ravi Karkara, who had served as senior advisor on strategic partnerships and advocacy to the assistant secretary general and deputy executive director at UN Women.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the investigative and disciplinary processes into allegations involving a UN Women staff member have "concluded that sexual misconduct occurred".

"As a result, I have dismissed the staff member; this is the strongest disciplinary measure available within the Staff Regulations and Rules of the UN. Consequently, the staff member is prohibited from employment within the UN system,” she said.

Karkara is not named in the statement. However, he was under investigation for sexual misconduct after at least eight men had accused him of using his prestige and position to sexually harass them, five sources with knowledge of the investigation had told Newsweek.

Mlambo-Ngcuka further confirmed "emphatically" that the former staff member "cannot be protected by diplomatic immunity". She said although UN Women does not have the authority to prosecute, the UN is guided by its obligation to bring credible allegations of criminal conduct to the attention of relevant national authorities.