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UN to probe anti-Semitic cases in security service

The United Nations has launched an investigation into anti-Semitic incidents in the UN security service, according to a letter sent to all security staff.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 11:59 IST

The United Nations has launched an investigation into anti-Semitic incidents in the UN security service, according to a letter sent on Wednesday to all security staff.

The letter follows the reprimand of a security guard for drawing swastikas on a log sheet knowing that a guard from Israel would almost certainly see them.

The guard also made Nazi-like salutes to his Israeli colleague.

In a separate incident, a female Israeli security employee alleged that she was assaulted while working in Vienna. It is not clear whether that incident was sexually related or motivated by anti-Semitism, a UN official said.

The letter from Diana Russler, the deputy to UN security chief David Veness, said the Department of Safety and Security and the Office of Human Resources Management have jointly established a panel to investigate "recent allegations of anti-Semitic incidents in the Security and Safety Service ... and establish the facts."

Russler said the panel would be interviewing staff members "who may have direct knowledge of facts related to these allegations." She reminded the staff "of your obligation to cooperate fully with the investigation."

The guard was not identified, but a UN official said he was from Jamaica. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information The United Nations in recent years has tried to live down an infamous 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism, which was repealed in the 1990s.

Some critics still accuse the world body of being anti-Semitic because a bloc of Middle Eastern, African and Asian states have in the past used the General Assembly to broadcast their opposition to Israel.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 10:53 IST