Anyone concerned by potential wrongdoing is encouraged to speak up and contact the IGO.

In particular, fraud, corruption, sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment are considered misconduct, whether by UNHCR personnel, partner staff or vendors/contractors.

The mandate of Strategic Oversight is to strengthen the organization-wide response to oversight findings and facilitate coherence of all oversight functions by ensuring there is no gap or duplication. This service is in charge of meta-analysis of findings, recommendations on significant matters requiring management action, communication and coordination with external bodies.

Strategic Oversight manages the relationship with the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which provides internal audits. It also acts as focal point for the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and as Secretariat for the Independent Audit and Oversight Committee (IAOC).

The Investigation Service is responsible for receiving and looking into allegations of misconduct by UNHCR personnel, partner staff, vendors or contractors. Where appropriate, the IGO will conduct an investigation to determine the facts.

Definition of misconduct

The United Nations defines misconduct as “any failure by a staff member to comply with his or her obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules or other administrative issuances, or to observe the standards of conduct expected of an international civil servant.”

Definition of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)

The United Nations defines sexual exploitation as "any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of persons of concern", and sexual abuse as "the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force, or under unequal coercive conditions."

Reporting misconduct or SEA 

Anyone can contact the IGO if they have concerns or information about possible misconduct or sexual exploitation or abuse by any UNHCR staff member or other person working directly with UNHCR. Anyone can contact the IGO if they have reason to believe that a staff member of other person associated with UNHCR has not behaved correctly.

More information on how to make a complaint or report SEA.

Disciplinary action

If the investigation finds the staff member failed to comply with UN Staff Regulations and Rules or the standards of conduct expected of a UN civil servant, then the IGO will send a report to UNHCR's Division of Human Resources and Management (DHRM). It is the responsibility of DHRM to determine the appropriate administrative response, such as possible disciplinary action. Depending on the type of misconduct, the disciplinary action can include dismissal, demotion or written censure.

For types of misconduct, please click here.

To contact the IGO with a complaint, please click here.

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