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Sexual harassment: UNICEF deputy director resigns

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UNICEF deputy director, Justin Forsyth on Thursday tendered his resignation from the UN children’s agency.

His resignation was as a result of complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff in his previous post as head of British charity ‘Save The Children’.

He apologised again for his past “mistakes”, but said his decision to step down from the top role was driven by concern that the scandal would hurt both organisations.

“I want to make clear I am not resigning from UNICEF because of the mistakes I made at Save the Children. They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago.

“I apologised unreservedly at the time and face to face. I apologise again.

“There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to (rightly) hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.

“I am resigning because of the danger of damaging both UNICEF and Save the Children and our wider cause. Two organisations I truly love and cherish. I can’t let this happen,” he said.

Forsyth joined UNICEF in 2016 after leaving his post as chief executive officer of Save the Children, where he faced complaints from three workers who said he had sent inappropriate texts and commented on what young female staff were wearing.

UNICEF in a statement by Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Wednesday said it was unaware that Forsyth faced those complaints when he was recruited.

“Executive Director Henrietta Fore today accepted Justin Forsyth’s resignation from his position as Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF.

“We are grateful to Mr. Forsyth for his work over the past two years to advocate for the most vulnerable children and help advance UNICEF’s mission to save children’s lives.

“This mission is now more important than ever,” the statement read.

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