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Under-fire UNAIDS chief offers to resign in June

GENEVA: Scandal-plagued UNAIDS head Michel Sidibe offered Thursday to resign in June, following an expert report that said his “defective leadership” had plunged the agency into crisis.

The timeline for the departure, confirmed by the agency, amounted to a concession from a leader accused of fostering a work environment that has tolerated bullying, sexual harassment and a culture of fear among staff.

Agency spokeswoman Sophie Barton-Knott confirmed Sidibe’s proposal for an “orderly transition” in June in an email to AFP.

Sidibe’s term had been due to expire in January 2020.

UNAIDS’ oversight body, the British-led Programme Coordinating Board, met in Geneva this week to evaluate the scathing Independent Expert Panel report which also charged Sidibe with overseeing a “patriarchal” workplace and promoting a “cult of personality” centred on him as the all-powerful chief.

Sweden, a major UNAIDS donor, joined a chorus of activists this week in calling for the ouster of Sidibe, a Malian national who has headed the agency for nine years.

The report also said that Sidibe “accepted no responsibility” for anything that had gone wrong under his watch and argued that the agency’s leaders had to be replaced in order to “regain a culture of dignity and respect.

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