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Greenpeace India: Rape, sexual assault cases went unnoticed

Greenpeace, the international organization of environmental heroism, spent this week admitting its own scandal and ill-management as the India branch of the group is under fire for its poor handling of severe sexual assault and rape cases.

According to a recent report from The Guardian, Greenpeace India has admitted it failed to create a gender-sensitive environment for its workers and apologized for its handling of a sexual harassment complaint by a female staff member while acknowledging the alleged rape of another woman. During an internal review, Greenpeace found “lapses” in how it dealt with the cases.

“Greenpeace India treats issues of sexual harassment and violence seriously – and these recent allegations have shown that we need to strengthen our internal processes and our sensitivity training for staff and management,” the group said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Greenpeace said the two cases of sexual assault had not been reported to the police. Both victims, who have since left the organization, had refused to have their cases investigated. One victim declined further investigation, citing Greenpeace’s initial failures and her lack of confidence in the company’s procedures.

The sexual harassment case came about in December 2012 when a female employee made a complaint against a male coworker. However, Greenpeace India’s “internal processes failed,” and it “did not handle that complaint adequately,” the statement said obtained by The Guardian. The man apparently had numerous other complaints.

In related news, Greenpeace in hot water after vandalizing Peruvian Nazca lines.

The group said the case of alleged rape took place in 2013, but the organization only became aware of it in February when the victim left the charity. The victim refused to have the case investigated, the statement said. The man was a serial offender according to the woman’s complaint. Her written grievance given to the HR department in 2012 included documented instances of molestation. It had elicited no such response, and the next year, she was raped at a party.

“There are no words that can fully express the regret that we feel, and no excuses for the decisions made,” the statement by Greenpeace read. The men involved had been “told to clear their desks and not return,” according to Greenpeace.

“We are committed to a safe and equal workplace for all our staff, where people are free to work and live without harassment of any kind. As an organization we haven’t done enough to create a shared culture of respect and sensitivity.”

The India group is also in the midst of a legal battle with the government over questions on its funding. The government of India froze all banks accounts that left no funds to pay the hundreds of staff members working for the organization. In April, the home ministry blocked foreign funding to the Indian arm of Greenpeace as part of a wider crackdown against international and domestic non-governmental organizations which were found to have misreported foreign aid.

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