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Sexual harassment charges dog UNICEF India head

October 24, 2007 22:17 IST

The UNICEF country head in India has come under a cloud as a government enquiry has found him to be prima facie guilty of sexually harassing a female colleague.

The enquiry by the Women and Child Development Ministry has found there was reasonable cause to believe that the victim was sexually harassed by Cecilio Adorna, the India representative of UNICEF.

Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury, who ordered an enquiry in September this year after the victim approached her, has written to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee seeking withdrawal of diplomatic immunity to Adorna, a senior Ministry official said.

The letter, which pointed out anomalies in the procedures adopted by the UNICEF probe team, also said there was lack of clarity concerning the immunity enjoyed by UN staffers who commit any unlawful activity in their personal capacity.

The victim, who met Chowdhury on Wednesday, told PTI she was satisfied with the investigation conducted by the Ministry and urged the External Affairs Minister to write to the UN to take action against Adorna.

"Chowdhury's Ministry has done the best it could do. Now, the ball is in the court of the External Affairs Minister. The protocol demands a letter to the UN from Mukherjee," she said.

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