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African Union hit by sexual harassment claims

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An internal investigation committee set up by the AU has found that sexual harassment is a problem for women who work at the African Union Commission.
The inquiry which was instigated in May invited all staff members who had cases of complaint to come forward for a confidential interview.
The investigating committee found “almost unanimous confirmation” of sexual harassment in the evidence of the interviewees. According to interviewees, the young women are exploited for sex in exchange for jobs. The investigation found that those most vulnerable to such exploitation were short-term staff, youth volunteers and interns.
The inquiry found out that those responsible position themselves as ‘gate-keepers’ and ‘king-makers and make believable promises to young women that they will be offered contracts.
The inquiry was established after it reported on a petition signed by 37 female members of AU staff complaining about sexual harassment at the commission.
The AU Commission, which has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said that given the findings and serious allegations it would establish a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that protects the victims and takes the strongest punitive measures against any perpetrator.

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