Confidential helpline for UN staff on sexual harassment

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has launched a 24-hour helpline for U.N. staff to speak confidentially about sexual harassment at work, and to support victims and witnesses.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said people who call will be able to speak with impartial and trained people who can provide information on reporting complaints, protection and support.

He said the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the U.N.’s internal watchdog, will be responsible for investigating all complaints of sexual harassment and a specialized team is being recruited.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday “the hotline is indeed operational.”

The U.N. has been in the spotlight for several years over allegations of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers, and there have been complaints by staff of sexual harassment.

Guterres reiterated his commitment to “zero tolerance” of sexual harassment.

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