UN employee accuses top official of sexual assault

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New York, March 31 (IANS) A UN employee has accused a top organisation official of sexual assault and claimed that the world body failed to take her complaint seriously, the media reported.

In an exclusive interview with CNN on Friday, Martina Brostrom accused Luiz Loures, a UN Assistant Secretary General, of grabbing her in a hotel elevator, forcibly kissing her and trying to drag her to his room during a conference in 2015.

“I was pleading with him, and I was just bracing with all that I could just to not leave the elevator,” Brostrom, a policy advisor at UNAIDS, the organisation’s global AIDS programme, told CNN.

“What has happened to me, how the situation has been mishandled — it mustn’t happen to any other woman,” she added.

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Loures had co-operated with a 14-month investigation, which concluded that Brostrom’s claims were unsubstantiated.

But Brostrom has slammed the probe as “deeply flawed”.

Loures, who was also the deputy executive director of UNAIDS, is leaving the UN at the end of his contract this week.

A spokesman for UNAIDS told CNN that the investigation into Brostrom’s allegations followed “due process” and she was welcome to appeal.

Brostrom is one of three women to describe similar encounters with Loures.

Malayah Harper, told CNN that Loures assaulted her in a strikingly similar way at a hotel in 2014.

A third unidentified woman also complained of an assault a few years ago.

Several people close to UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe have said that they warned him about Loures over a period of at least three years.

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At a staff meeting in February, Sidibe denied being warned.

He also praised Loures’ decision to leave the UN as “courageous” and attacked employees who spoke publicly about sexual harassment claims at the UN, saying “they don’t have (a) moral approach”.

–IANS

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