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Senior UN Officer Flies In To Ensure Operations of World Food Programme

Senior UN Officer Flies In To Ensure  Operations of  World Food Programme
United Nations
May 05
13:36 2018

A senior officer of the United Nations World Food Programme office based in Thailand is here to ensure operational continuity of the WFP Fiji office.

Nicolas Morin is the temporary officer-in-charge as international investigations following allegations made about the behaviour of staff members take place.

Mr Morin confirmed earlier in the week that he was filling in for Anthony Freeman.

Mr Freeman is the country director for the WFP Fiji office. He is in charge of nine staff members.

The Suva office was established two years ago.

Mr Freeman took up the Fiji posting in June last year.

A United Nations spokesperson in Bangkok confirmed that “relevant staff members have been temporarily removed from their duties while the investigation is on-going.

“Local authorities are being kept informed as appropriate,” the statement said.

According to New Zealand media reports, the investigation is about allegations of sexual misconduct. Several attempts to contact Mr Freeman was unsuccessful. He was said to be away in the West when a Fiji Sun team visited his home in Suva.

A UN spokesperson confirmed that specialist investigators will lead an internal investigation at the WFP Suva office.

The investigations will be conducted through the office of WFP’s Inspector General, in line with United Nations policy.

Earlier in the week, the Fiji Police Force confirmed that it had not received any complaints from the WFP Suva office.

It is understood that the private complaint from the WFP Suva office was made directly to UN headquarters.

The UN has systems in place that allows employees to make direct contact to headquarters without identifying themselves to the nation office.

It also comes as a result of a strong gender movement which advocates zero tolerance. In January, the WFP country director in Afghanistan was suspended over allegations of sexual harassment while a disciplinary process took place.

As a result the WFP announced an overhaul of its sexual harassment policies following increasing criticism over how UN agencies handle such cases.

The policies aim to stamp out abusive conduct, address the issue of underreporting and build a workplace culture that ensures that all employees are treated with dignity and respect.

The United Nations World Food Programme works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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