LONDON – A senior official at the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said Thursday he resigned after allegations of inappropriate behaviour during an earlier stint at Save The Children because of “the danger” of damaging both organizations.
Deputy executive director Justin Forsyth, who joined UNICEF in 2016, had been investigated at Save the Children UK, where he was chief executive, in 2011 and 2015 after complaints were made by three women.
“I want to make clear I am not resigning from UNICEF because of the mistakes I made at Save The Children,” Forsyth said in a statement on Twitter. “They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago.”
Forsyth, who is British, said he apologized “unreservedly at the time face to face” and “I apologize again.”
He said he had “no doubt” that some media coverage wasn’t just to rightly hold him 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,” Forsyth said. “Two organizations I truly love and cherish. I can’t let this happen.”
He said he has devoted 30 years of his lift to fighting against injustice and poverty, and for children, especially the disadvantaged, from South Africa to Rwanda and Syria.
“We have sometimes failed, but I feel privileged to have had the chance to help millions of children,” Forsyth said.
His UNICEF biography says he worked as a special adviser to British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and that he worked for Oxfam before serving in government.
Charities in the U.K. have been under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following allegations reported by the Times of London that senior staff from British aid organization Oxfam used prostitutes and downloaded pornography while working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.