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Citing lack of evidence, Annan closes harassment case against top refugee official

Citing lack of evidence, Annan closes harassment case against top refugee official

High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has found that a staff member's complaint of sexual harassment against the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, cannot be sustained by the evidence, a UN spokesman said today.

The Secretary-General made his determination after thoroughly reviewing the report of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) regarding the investigation into the complaint against Mr. Lubbers and also carefully considering Mr. Lubbers' response to that report, Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

The spokesman said the Secretary-General has written to Mr. Lubbers conveying his concerns and has sent UN Under-Secretary-General for Management Catherine Bertini to Geneva to consult with the High Commissioner, his senior managers and the staff "to help them rebuild trust and confidence."

Asked if Mr. Lubbers had made an offer to resign or was asked to leave his post, Mr. Dujarric said he was “not aware of any.” He added, “It’s important that we all now pull together and move forward to get the agency to focus on its central mission.”

"The Secretary-General now considers this matter closed," he said.

Mr. Lubbers had issued a statement denying the allegations when they were made public in May. In a statement issued by his spokesman, he said the complaint referred to a formal meeting in the High Commissioner's office late last year where five other staffers were present. "In that meeting of last December 18, there was no improper behaviour on my part," he asserted.