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Allegations of misconduct surface against employee of UNFPA Libya

TRIPOLI – Allegations of misconduct and unprofessional behavior surfaced recently against an employee working with the United Nations Population Fund Activities (UNFPA) in Libya.

Khaled Hamidi, a member of the the psychological support team of the agency’s hotline service for victims of gender-based violence (1417), was accused by a number of individuals of making sexist remarks against victims of gender-based violence; and of providing little to no help to them.

The allegations surfaced on Thursday after an anonymous Libyan woman made a plea to a UN Women agency on Twitter to help rescue her from her own abusive brother. To which, the UN agency recommended that she use the UNFPA’s hotline service for victims of gender-based violence in Libya.

The woman told the UN agency on Twitter that she, after calling the hotline, was asked by an employee of the service “not to anger [her] brother” and to “stay away from trouble”.

A number of individuals on the social media website were quick to criticize the performance of the hotline service, particularly that of the employee whom The Libyan Address Journal identified to be Hamidi, with many of them speaking up about their experiences with the UNFPA member.

One individual tweeted that he heard Hamidi make “very professionally bad” remarks about victims and survivors of gender-based violence. This individual also claimed that he used to advise female victims to call the hotline service, but he said that all of them reported that Hamidi was of little to no help to them.

Another individual tweeted that she “encountered him in an event once” and “he literally stated that “He doesn’t believe in gender equality” after I addressed a very sexist joke he made during his presentation.”

A third individual on Twitter described Hamidi as bigot; and claimed that “he proudly spoke on the radio that he does not believe in equality because it’s against Islam”

“He slut-shamed women activists and revictimised the women victims and survivors of violence by taking away their credibility and calling them liars,” the individual tweeted.

“And that if they ever were subjected to any violence they should take it up for that’s what patient good Muslim women do”.

The UNFPA told The Libyan Address Journal that it takes “all allegations of wrongdoing seriously”.

Upon being contacted by The Libyan Address Journal on this issue, UNFPA said it “immediately referred it” to its “independent office of Audit and Investigation Services (OAIS)” to proceed with the “established process in addressing such situations.”

The UN agency said that any individual with knowledge of wrongdoing is encouraged to report it directly to OAIS, using the dedicated reporting website, also available in Arabic at:  https://web2.unfpa.org/help/hotline_arabic.cfm

UNFPA gave assurance that “all information received by OAIS will be dealt with in strict confidentiality and according to UNFPA established policies”.

Hamidi did not respond to The Libyan Address Journal’s request for comment.

Libya lacks official data of victims of gender-based violence. However, UNFPA stated in a 2020 report that over 13,000 individuals were reached with its GBV services.

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