Indian UN Official Dismissed Over Sexual Misconduct
Ravi Karkara was accused by several male colleagues of various misdemeanors, including sexual misconduct and intimidation at work.
A senior Indian UN officer was dismissed following a probe into charges of sexual misconduct leveled against him by several of his male subordinates. The investigation upheld the allegations against Ravi Karkara, who was suspended on full pay last year from the post of Deputy Executive Director at UN Women, following accusations of sexual misconduct by many colleagues.
In a statement issued on Sept. 18, the United Nations agency for gender equality and women empowerment said that the investigative and disciplinary processes found the allegations of sexual misconduct to be true. The probe against Karkara, who has not been named by UN Women in the case, conducted by the Office of Audit and Investigation of UNDP Investigation lasted 15 months and was completed in August.
Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, in the statement: “The investigative and disciplinary processes into allegations involving a UN Women staff member have concluded that sexual misconduct occurred. As a result, I have dismissed the staff member; this is the strongest disciplinary measure available within the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations (UN). Consequently, the staff member is prohibited from employment within the UN system.”
She added that the former staff member will not be protected by diplomatic immunity.
“Although UN Women does not have the authority to prosecute, the UN is guided by its obligation to bring credible allegations of criminal conduct to the attention of relevant national authorities. UN Women stands ready to cooperate with any national authority that decides to investigate this matter,” she said.
Reports against Karkara, who has also served as a Senior Adviser on Strategic Partnerships to the Assistant Secretary General, first emerged last year. In June 2017, Steve Lee, 25, accused the Indian national of sending him numerous messages, some involving pornographic material, grabbing his genitals and mocking his religious beliefs.
Eight man accused Karkara of using his position to harass them, Newsweek reported in August this year. One among them was Lee, who told the publication that Karkara used to make obscene gestures and ask him inappropriate questions. Others said he stalked them online, used sexually suggestive language, and demanded sexual favors in return for better career opportunities.
Karkara is an Indian national but not an official of the Indian government or a diplomat at the Indian permanent mission to the UN.
“Since the proceedings are still internal to the UN and relate to an international civil servant who is not an Indian diplomat the Indian Mission has not been kept informed of the developments in the UN’s internal investigation,” a diplomat at the Indian mission was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times in a previous report.