HIV activists want a top United Nations official to quit after he was accused of mishandling sexual misconduct allegations, according to a press conference in London Thursday.
Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, the U.N.’s global AIDS program, is accused of not taking proper actions against complaints of sexual misconduct by former employees, The Guardian reported. Speakers at the conference accused Sidibé of managing a “boys club” where men were free to sexually harass women without the organization taking proper action against the complaints. The activists, with some donning “Step Down Sidibé!” T-shirts urged British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Department for International Development to use their influence to take proper action against the high-ranking official.
Martina Brostrom, a former employee for UNAIDS, claims that she was sexually assaulted by Sidibé’s deputy Luiz Loures. Brostrom alleged Loures started forcibly kissing and groping her in the elevator of a hotel during a 2015 conference and attempted to drag her to his room, she told CNN in an interview. Sidibé later confessed to investigators that he said to Brostom that let’s “see how we can really find a way out without making it a big problem for all the organisation and for the credibility of the organisation, for yourself.” Sidibé is also accused of telling women during a meeting that they do not have ethics if they speak out about alleged sexual misconduct.
“The U.N. has been unresponsive, with the spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General [António Guterres] instead reiterating the secretary general’s support for Sidibé, who has covered up the sexual assault against me while knowing that Loures’ sexual assaults were an open secret in the organisation,” Brostrom claimed.
Loures denied Brostrom’s allegations during meetings with investigators, CNN added.