UN puts new tech envoy on leave after harassment allegations

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday he placed his newly named envoy on technology on administrative leave after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

Guterres told a news conference the allegations against Fabrizio Hochschild are being investigated by the U.N.’s internal watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Complaints were filed by three women who worked with Hochschild in his recent jobs, the latest coordinating preparations for the commemoration of the United Nations’ 75th anniversary, according to U.N. officials speaking anonymously because the allegations have not been made public.

“I hope that the investigation will be quickly conducted,” Guterres said. “One thing I can guarantee is that there is zero tolerance and, from my perspective, there will always be zero tolerance in relation to sexual harassment or other forms of harassment.”

Guterres said he only learned of the allegations on Tuesday — four days after the announcement of the veteran Chilean U.N. official’s appointment as the first envoy for technology. According to U.N. officials, the allegations by the three women were known weeks earlier.

Hochschild said he learned about the allegations on Wednesday and “will cooperate fully” with the investigation.

A graduate of Oxford University, Hochschild began his U.N. career in 1988 working for the U.N. refugee agency in Sudan. Before his latest post he served as assistant secretary-general for strategic coordination in Guterres’ office. He also held U.N. posts in the Central African Republic, Colombia and Geneva.

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