An unpleasant, but unavoidable decision

21st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has described the resignation of Ruud Lubbers as UN High Commissioner for Refugees as "unpleasant", while others have said the decision was inevitable.

21 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has described the resignation of Ruud Lubbers as UN High Commissioner for Refugees as "unpleasant", while others have said the decision was inevitable.

The Christian Democrat CDA leader also said Lubbers' great involvement in the interests of the United Nation's refugee agency UNHCR and the UN itself had led to his decision to step down, NOS reported.

"The continuous stream of publicity inflicted great damage on Lubbers, the UN and especially the UNHCR," Balkenende said.
    
He praised Lubbers — the longest serving Dutch prime minister — for the manner in which he had worked for the world's refugee population since his appointment as UNHCR chief in January 2001.

Lubbers resigned on Sunday after fresh controversy erupted when a British newspaper published explicit details of an internal UN investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

The leaked UN report had indicated Lubbers was guilty of regular sexual misconduct, but the same report had only prompted UN chief Kofi Annan to issue Lubbers a warning last year because the allegations were unsustainable on a legal basis.

Meanwhile, CDA parliamentary leader Maxime Verhagen said he regretted the resignation of Lubbers, also a CDA party colleague. "I have much respect for the steps he took," Verhagen said.

Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos said Lubbers' resignation was "sad but evidently unavoidable". He said it was a difficult situation for the UN and he hoped the work of the refugee agency would not suffer as a result.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said continued controversy over allegations of sexual intimidation made it impossible for Lubbers to continue in his present post.

Annan thanked Lubbers for his “commitment” to the world's refugees, but said “it is in the best interest of UNHCR, its staff and the refugees it serves that the page is turned and a new chapter be started”.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news + Ruud Lubbers

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