UN agency says it is handling code of conduct violations by staffer for anti-Israel posts internally

Jan 5, 2024, 8:35 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. agency promoting equality for women said Friday that violations of the U.N. Code of Conduct requiring impartiality by a mid-level manager, who reportedly supported pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli posts on social media, are being dealt with internally.

Last month, the Geneva-based advocacy group UN Watch, which often criticizes anti-Israel actions at the United Nations, reported that Sarah Douglas, the deputy chief of UN Women’s peace and security office, had endorsed 153 posts on social media since Hamas ’ Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel that exposed her the war in Gaza.

UN Watch’s Executive Director Hillel Neuer posted on X, formerly Twitter, some examples including posts that accused Israel of “genocide” and celebrated shutting down bridges and highways for pro-Palestinian campaigns and rallies.

After UN Watch publicized the posts, Neuer said Douglas deleted her social media accounts, but he said the group has screenshots of her posts.

Last week, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said when asked about Douglas’ posts: “I understand there was a violation of the Code of Conduct by this individual.”

Douglas has not commented on her social media posts.

UN Watch said a campaign it launched on Instagram and X demanding that Douglas be fired had received nearly 5,000 signatures by Dec. 27. Two U.S. senators, Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, and Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, have also called on UN Women to fire her.

“We are aware of reports relating to a mid-level manager and the incompatibility of her social media activity with the standards of conduct required of U.N. staff members,” UN Women said Friday in response to an AP question on what action it is taking on the violations and the calls for her firing.

“UN Women takes these concerns very seriously,” it said. “The standards of conduct are clear and breaches are dealt with appropriately and in accordance with UN Women’s accountability and legal framework.”

UN Women said: “Such processes are internal and not made public.”

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UN agency says it is handling code of conduct violations by staffer for anti-Israel posts internally