Statement in response to the conclusion of the investigation into Ravi Karkara's sexual misconduct
Statement: The United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth welcomes the outcomes of investigation into Ravi Karkara's sexual misconduct
For immediate release
Date: Monday, September 17, 2018
The United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) is pleased to learn the outcomes of the investigation (conducted by the UN) into Ravi Karkara's (former advisor to UN Women) sexual misconduct targeted at young people engaging in the UN system.
As the UN General Assembly-mandated space, UNMGCY acts as a bridge between young people and the UN system in order to ensure their right to meaningful participation is realized. UNMGCY therefore exercised its unique responsibility to assist young women and men who were verbally, emotionally, and sexually abused and assaulted by Ravi Karkara.
We appreciate the speed with which UN Women acted on the conclusion of the investigations and its survivor/victim-centered approach. We hope their decisive and swift actions set an example for the whole system.
We thank OIOS, UNDP OAI, EOSG, and others who worked on this process and offered support to the young survivors.
We are appalled by Ravi Karkara's gross abuse of power and systemic abuse of young people, and even more appalled by the fact that it went on for such a long time.
It is clear that the system is broken: system of accountability, system of HR record keeping, system of hush hush coverups, system of long investigation (14-months long UNDP OAI investigation; justice delayed is justice denied), system of reporting wrongdoing and whistleblower protection.
We call upon the UN system to conduct a UN system-wide audit and investigation into how Ravi Karkara was able to continue the pattern of abuse to prevent cases like this in the future. Ravi Karkara has been in the UN system since the early 2000s and transferred from UNICEF to UN-Habitat to UN Millennium Campaign to UN Women. With, according to many young survivors a long impunitive trail of systemic abuse of young people.
In addition, young people that have come forward to share their experiences and file complaints have reason to believe Ravi Karkara was protected by some of his immediate superiors in UN Women and UN Habitat when earlier complaints about his behaviour were made.
We call upon the UN and its member states to seize this opportunity and double down on fixing the broken system to prevent any future cases by providing resources and accountability. Ravi Karkara did what he did because he knew he could get away with it. That cushion must be removed to serve as a stern warning to all other perpetrators across the UN system. The UN MGCY is in the final stages of launching a grievance redressal mechanism (next week at the UNGA 73 HIgh Level week) that offers young people a safe space to report such cases into the UN system and seek peer support. We stand ready to work with all parties that are interested in building a better system for all.
For inquiries, contact Purna Sen of UN Women at end.sexualharassment[at]unwomen.org