In Summary
  • The panel's findings include a blistering indictment of Mr Sidibe's stewardship, claiming his secretariat is mired in "a crisis which threatens its vital work."
  • The report, based on dozens of interviews and hundreds of staff surveys, said the agency tasked with coordinating the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic suffers from "a vacuum of accountability."
  • Sidibe, a Malian national who has led UNAIDS since 2009, has faced intense scrutiny since the Loures case became public.

GENEVA,

The crisis engulfing UNAIDS deepened Friday with the release of an expert report that found the agency's leaders, including Executive Director Michel Sidibe, systematically failed to address bullying, abuse and sexual harassment.

It was Mr Sidibe who had pushed for the creation of the Independent Expert Panel, following the accusation that he and the agency mishandled sexual assault allegations against former Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures.

INDICTMENT

But the panel's findings include a blistering indictment of Mr Sidibe's stewardship, claiming his secretariat is mired in "a crisis which threatens its vital work."

"The leaders, policies and processes at UNAIDS have failed to prevent or properly respond to allegations of harassment including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power in UNAIDS," the panel said.

"The evidence before the Independent Expert Panel of a broken organisational culture is overwhelming."

The report, based on dozens of interviews and hundreds of staff surveys, said the agency tasked with coordinating the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic suffers from "a vacuum of accountability."

"The leadership of the UNAIDS Secretariat fails to accept responsibility for a culture of impunity becoming prevalent in the organisation, a culture that does not ensure a safe and dignified workplace for its staff, and one that fails to respect human rights in line with law and United Nations values," it added.

NO TRUST

Staff also described "a work culture of fear, lack of trust, and retaliation against those who speak up about harassment and abuse of power," it further said.

Mr Sidibe, a Malian national who has led UNAIDS since 2009, has faced intense scrutiny since the Loures case became public.

An initial internal UN investigation cleared Mr Loures of wrongdoing. But Mr Loures's accuser, UNAIDS staffer Martina Brostrom, then went public exposing flaws in the first probe including Mr Sidibe's attempt to settle the dispute even as a formal process was ongoing.

Page 1 of 2