Addressing Sexual Violence and Harassment in International Human Rights Organizations: Expert Panel Report

29 Sep 2022

In 2019, Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) and EQUIS Justice for Woman (Mexico), along with the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law convened an “Expert Panel to Address Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in International Human Rights Organizations.” The goal of the Expert Panel was to analyze the response of international organizations, especially those concerned with human rights, to the growing visibility of sexual harassment in the workplace.  

It is critical for human rights institutions to ensure that their workplaces do not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct, and that they have strong protocols and procedures in place to effectively address—and hold individuals accountable for—such misconduct. These are institutions that must lead by example, but experience has shown that too many of them have not taken the issue with the urgency and depth that it requires. This failure to ensure that workplaces are committed to gender equality and non-discrimination harms not only individuals (most of whom are women) who suffer from harassment and hostile work environments, but also threatens to undermine the purpose and mandate of these institutions.

This report develops the basic guidelines that international organizations, especially those dedicated to the protection of human rights must adopt in order to achieve an organizational culture free of violence and sexual harassment. The report offers concrete suggestions for the adoption of good institutional practices, the basic framework for a Code of Conduct and a Protocol for the Attention of Cases of Sexual Violence and Harassment. The Panel that prepared this report was composed of people from the world of academia, internationally recognized for their career in human rights, gender, sexual violence and / or criminal law: Julieta Di Corleto, Alejandro Madrazo and Jeannette Llaja. The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law (the Center) has served as the Panel's Technical Secretariat. 

Read the report here.