An Indian UN official, Ravi Karkara, working for gender equality and women empowerment has been placed under investigation for sexual misconduct after eight men alleged that he sexually harassed them, Newsweek reported. He is currently the Senior Advisor on Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director at UN Women.
UN Women, in a statement, said the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a UN Women staff member by the Office of Audit and Investigations (OAI) of UNDP is nearing its completion and UN Women continues to urge for the speedy finalisation of the investigation process.
“UN Women continues to ensure that the case is investigated thoroughly and receiving the priority it deserves. We recognise the gravity with which such cases should be treated and have taken the allegations very seriously at every stage,” the statement said.
A UN spokesperson confirmed to PTI that the individual under investigation is Karkara. He was not available for comment.
A UN Women spokesperson said the agency “cannot confirm nor deny the subject’s name” and it cannot comment on any specifics of the case, since that could harm the investigation and disciplinary process. It said it aims to be as transparent as possible while ensuring that the integrity of the investigative, and disciplinary process, if any, is safeguarded.
“For this reason, we cannot comment on any further specifics of the case, as that could undermine the accountability process,” it said.
The UN Women statement said that it will continue to implement its zero-tolerance policy and will take all necessary actions that are within its purview in the case.
“Once the report setting out the findings of the investigation is shared with UN Women, if the facts warrant it, UN Women will initiate a disciplinary process under the UN Women Legal Policy for addressing non-compliance with UN Standards of Conduct. The disciplinary process includes charging the subject, terminating the contract, and, if appropriate, imposing a sanction. Steps may then be taken to refer the matter to national authorities if warranted,” it said.
The report by Newsweek said that the probe’s “subject remains on administrative leave” and that, while still on UN payroll, the person “is not currently performing any active function.”