Photographer: Nick Youngson, Creative Commons

"Sexual harassment offends the very principles of what we stand for as an Organization and undermines the core values of integrity, competence, and professionalism expected of all." – United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres.

For far too long, there has been denial of sexual abuse and intimidation of whistle blowers and victims who dared to speak about harassment and seek enquiry. Its widely known that majority of the perpetrators are men and majority of the victims are women, this is a sad reflection of how power is distributed at home, at work places and in public space. Sexual harassment is so pervasive that often it is dismissed as inevitable part of life or “no big deal”.

Ending all forms of violation against women is an integral part of the Agenda 2030 and SDGs agreed by all UN Member States including, Tajikistan. In addition to gender sensitive policies and programs, it will require both men and women to work together to change attitudes and break gender stereotypes in families, communities and workplaces. It will require creating safe spaces for victims of sexual harassment to fearlessly speak and lodge complaint without getting blamed, penalized, stigmatized or humiliated, and, at the same time, feel fully assured of quick and fair response.  

Gender sensitive and harassment free workplace is also key to delivering on UN mandate of Human Rights based development and SDGs.   

The United Nations System supporting Tajikistan which includes UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, UNHCR, OHCHR, UNOPS, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, FAO, ILO, UNAIDS, UNDSS, IOM, UNESCO, UNRCCA, firmly believes in “walking the talk” and is fully committed to UN's zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment, which means that even one sexual harassment case is one too many. The policy covers all UN staff, consultants, contractors and vendors who are paid by UN.  We are committed to creating respectful work place, protect whistle blowers, create safe space for victims to speak up and institute transparent mechanisms for fair and swift response. We will also support and encourage the government of Tajikistan to adopt the policy of zero tolerance against sexual harassment in all work and public places and to take measures to break the culture of silence and impunity so that sexual harassment by anyone and anywhere in the country is unacceptable and unpardonable.   

We also ask all our counterparts in government, NGOs, businesses, international organizations, Embassies and charities in Tajikistan to adopt zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment and join hands in eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

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