UN report: Lubbers guilty of sexual misconduct

29th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A UN inquiry has found UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers guilty of sexually harassing a female worker — but Secretary-General Kofi Annan rejected the charges.

29 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — A UN inquiry has found UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers guilty of sexually harassing a female worker — but Secretary-General Kofi Annan rejected the charges.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services circulated a report at the UN in New York on Thursday backing the allegations against Lubbers, a former Dutch prime minister. It recommended that appropriate action be taken.

But the report said Annan decided that the allegations could not be substantiated and closed the matter. He did not say there was no evidence, but that the allegations could not be substantiated on a legal basis.

The decision was taken after Annan carefully read the report, spoke with Lubbers and sought legal advice.

Lubbers was accused by a 51-year-old American woman of groping her backside at the end of a meeting in Geneva in December 2003. She lodged a complaint in April. The UNCHR chief denied the allegations, saying the woman had misinterpreted a friendly gesture.

But diplomats also told news agency Reuters that other women who claimed they had also been harassed by Lubbers had not submitted a formal protest.

Annan had also stressed his "concerns" in "the strongest terms" that Lubbers had written to the American woman prior to the completion of the investigation. Lubbers had asked her to drop the complaint to gain protection from reprisals.

Lubbers was the longest-serving prime minister in the Netherlands, heading the government from 1982 to 1994. He was appointed to the UN post in 2001.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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