Statement by Ambassador Chris Lu, U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform, Following the Sentencing of Karim Elkorany

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
November 8, 2022

Statement by Ambassador Chris Lu, U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform, Following the Sentencing of Karim Elkorany

On October 27, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Karim Elkorany, a former United Nations employee, to 15 years in prison for the drugging and sexual assault of one victim and making false statements to cover up another sexual assault. As part of the federal investigation, Mr. Elkorany admitted that he had drugged and/or sexually assaulted 17 additional victims between 2002 and 2016. Mr. Elkorany was also employed by a State Department contractor in 2012 and by a State Department grantee in 2010-2011.

The Department of State takes accountability for misconduct very seriously and seeks to ensure a culture that empowers all personnel to contribute to advancing our national security objectives. The Department is committed to fostering a work environment free of the threat of sexual assault, holding accountable employees who commit such actions, and sensitively and effectively responding to individuals who have been sexually assaulted. Consistent with Department policies, we have referred this matter to the Office of Inspector General for review to ensure a culture of accountability. Mr. Elkorany also has been suspended from U.S. government-wide procurement and non-procurement transactions.

We also call on the United Nations to undertake a similar review that includes a comprehensive examination of the handling of any sexual exploitation and abuse or sexual harassment (SEAH) allegations against Mr. Elkorany during his employment with the United Nations. The investigation should examine whether officials were aware of Mr. Elkorany’s misconduct and failed to take appropriate action, including ensuring the availability and accessibility of assistance to survivors.

In line with the Principles on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment for U.S. Government Engagement with International Organizations, the United States is committed to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the UN system. We strongly support the United Nations’ zero tolerance policy and the Secretary-General’s efforts to strengthen its implementation. Protection from SEAH is the responsibility of leadership and managers at every level who have a duty to take action in response to allegations of SEAH and ensure implementation of governance policies and delivery of services in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of all personnel and communities served by our institutions.