UN suspends 2 for suspected involvement in video showing sex act in Tel Aviv
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UN suspends 2 for suspected involvement in video showing sex act in Tel Aviv

United Nations says staffers from Jerusalem-based peacekeeping unit ‘engaged in misconduct, including conduct of a sexual nature’

A woman straddles a man in the back of a United Nations vehicle in a video clip that was shared widely online on June 26, 2020. The video is believed to be from Tel Aviv and the image has been pixelated by the Times of Israel. (Screenshot/Twitter)
A woman straddles a man in the back of a United Nations vehicle in a video clip that was shared widely online on June 26, 2020. The video is believed to be from Tel Aviv and the image has been pixelated by the Times of Israel. (Screenshot/Twitter)

The United Nations on Thursday said it had suspended two of its staffers for suspected sexual misconduct after a video clip surfaced last week showing a sexual act taking place in an official UN vehicle in Tel Aviv.

In the 18-second video, a woman in a red dress is seen straddling a man in the back seat of a clearly marked white UN vehicle. Another man appears to be asleep in the passenger seat. The clip was shared widely on social media on Friday.

The vehicle appears to be on a road near the Tel Aviv beach. None of the passengers’ faces are visible.

A UN spokesperson told The Times of Israel on Thursday that the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services had found in an investigation that “two male international staff members who were in the UN vehicle in Tel Aviv, have been identified as having engaged in misconduct, including conduct of a sexual nature.”

“Given the seriousness of the allegations of failing to observe the standards of conduct expected of international civil servants, the two staff members have been placed on Administrative Leave Without Pay, pending the results and conclusion of the ongoing OIOS investigation,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The staffers were from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), a peacekeeping force established in 1948 and based in Jerusalem.

Dujarric said UNTSO was holding an awareness campaign for its personnel on the organization’s code of conduct in response to the incident.

After the clip surfaced last week, Dujarric said, “We are shocked and deeply disturbed by what is seen on the video.”

“The behavior seen in it is abhorrent and goes against everything that we stand for and have been working to achieve in terms of fighting misconduct by UN staff,” he said.

The UN maintains strict regulations barring sexual misconduct by staffers and has come under fire for violations in recent years.

A report by the UN confirmed 175 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by staffers in 2019. Sixteen claims were substantiated, fifteen were found to be unsubstantiated, and the rest were under investigation.

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