42nd PROGRAMME COORDINATING BOARD
AGENDA ITEM 4 REPORT OF THE UNAIDS SECRETARIAT STAFF ASSOCIATION
DELIVERED BY HUMPHREY M. NDONDO, NGO AFRICA
Thank you Madam Chair.
The NGO delegation acknowledges the hard work that has gone into putting the staff association and HR report together. We commend the staff association for its annual surveys for the past 7 years to inform internal advocacy. We are encouraged to note that 89% of respondents to the staff survey are still committed to the values of UNAIDS despite challenges experienced and the questionable future of the joint programme.
We take note of the priority issues raised by the secretariat including harassment, ill treatment and abuse of authority; staff health insurance and protection of UN salaries and conditions of service.
However, we are concerned about staff reports of workplace related stress, anxiety and uncertainty about their future and that of the Joint Programme, frustrations about poor communication from management and failure to address negative media reports about the sexual harassment allegation at UNAIDS. While we commend women at UNAIDS for challenging their portrayal in the media as window dressing and passive victims of sexual violence, we caution that this assertion be not taken to undermine women who came out and reported experiencing sexual harassment at the workplace.
We would like to underscore that harassment is unacceptable but still happens at the secretariat as evidenced by the staff survey that reported violence of an egregious nature including physical conduct of a sexual nature, unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances, xenophobic violence, being offended based on real or perceived HIV status, being humiliated based on one’s gender and disability and being threatened about continuation of one’s job.
We welcome the 5 point action plan and efforts at establishing an independent expert panel on harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power.
We are motivated to support UNAIDS to develop stronger mechanisms to hold perpetrators of violence accountable, to prevent and protect its staff from ALL forms of harassment and create an ambience of a working environment of the #UNAIDSWeNeed.