FAO dismisses HR chief sex allegations as 'rumour'

FAO HR honcho Fernando Servan with DG José Graziano da Silva. Photo: FAO

ROME – The FAO has dismissed an eyewitness account of sexual harassment by HR chief Fernando Servas as “a rumour concerning activities outside the workplace” and in typical UN whitewash style claimed “it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

 FAO broke silence Wednesday on the allegations against the long haired Peruvian HR supremo, reported exclusively by Italian Insider, after the Inner City Press in New York asked a spokesman for UN Secretary General Gutteres  “what is the SG's comment and action on the involuntary kissing of an FAO staffer by Peruvian human resources official reported in The Italian Insider, and on FAO / official suing Italian Insider?"

 Hours later an SG spokesman told Inner City Press reporter Matthew Lee:

 "Regarding your questions on FAO, FAO has the following to say: 'The allegation was made in an article by the Italian Insider on a rumour concerning activities outside the workplace and, pending any formal complaint, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

 Evidently the author of the FAO statement considered it is acceptable for the HR chief to lunge at a young employee, so long as such “activities” are conducted “outside the workplace,” even though the incident climaxed an alcohol-fuelled evening by FAO senior executives who lured young women to join them on the razzle.

 The FAO statement then reiterated its usual claims on sex discrimination, which are laughable given that its head of human resoources has been branded a “sex predator” and has enjoyed the protection and blessing of FAO chief José Graziano da Silva, who turned a blind eye to the pawing Peruvian importuning young women.

 The UN agency was quoted in New York as parroting that “FAO has a policy of zero tolerance towards any form of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or abuse. The Organization is committed to ensuring a work environment that is free of harassment, in particular sexual harassment, as well as the highest standards of conduct for its employees with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse.'”

 Inner City commented that “So when UNSG Guterres is asked about FAO allowing rank sexual harassment, Guterres' spokesmen provide only the self-serving response of FAO which is suing the press that reported on the harassment, with Guterres silent or cheering …”

 There was mounting speculation at the FAO this week that the HR casanova has been suspended or transferred to a regional office.

 jp