Report misconduct

Remember: All UNHCR services and activities are always free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay for any of the services provided by UNHCR or any of its partners. Please be cautious of fraudulent behaviour and do not believe anyone who ask you to pay for assistance.

What is misconduct?

The United Nations defines misconduct as “any failure by a staff member to comply with his or her obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules or other administrative issuances, or to observe the standards of conduct expected of an international civil servant.”

Possible misconduct can include:

  • Sexual exploitation and abuse of people of concern.
  • Fraud (e.g. falsifying a document).
  • Corruption (e.g. taking money from refugees or others).
  • Theft and embezzlement (e.g. stealing equipment or money).
  • Workplace harassment (e.g. treating staff members in an unfair manner).
  • Sexual harassment (e.g. unwelcome sexual behaviour).
  • Abuse of authority (e.g. showing favouritism or discrimination against staff).
  • Assault upon or threats to others.
  • Misuse of UNHCR assets.
  • Breach of confidentiality.
  • Acts or behaviour that would discredit UNHCR.
  • Non-compliance with local laws.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Abuse of privileges and immunities.
  • Gross negligence.
  • Unauthorized outside activities or employment.

What are fraud and corruption?

Fraud is any act with the objective of intentionally misleading another in order to obtain a benefit. This includes obtaining assistance based on fake documents or fake claims.

Corruption is any act of offering, giving, receiving or soliciting (directly or indirectly) anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party. This includes requests for payment in exchange of humanitarian assistance.

All UNHCR services are free of charge. Do not trust anyone or any organization asking you to pay for the services of UNHCR or its partners. If money or any other form of favours, including of a sexual nature, is requested from you, you should report it to UNHCR and/or the nearest police station immediately. Be aware that any UNHCR services offered to you in exchange for money are fraudulent.

For reliable information about UNHCR’s work and services, please always consult or contact the UNHCR Helpline from Monday to Friday (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM):

  • Toll-Free Line: 0800 22 12 30 (call from Slovak phone number)
  • Non-Toll-Free Landline: +421 2 22 11 56 50 (call from non-Slovak phone number)

What is sexual exploitation and abuse?

Sexual exploitation is any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes.

  • Humanitarian workers are not allowed to pay for sex with money, employment, goods or services – including goods and services intended as aid to people in need. They must not use promises of these things to make other people accept any kind of behaviour that humiliates or exploits them. This includes paying or offering money for sex with a prostitute.
  • Humanitarian workers have influence over who receives goods and services. This places them in a position of power in relation to people who need assistance. For that reason, humanitarian organizations strongly encourage staff not to have sexual relationships with anyone affected by a humanitarian emergency. Such relationships make humanitarian action seem less honest and credible.

Sexual abuse is any actual or threatened sexual activity carried out by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

  • Humanitarian workers are not allowed to have sexual relationships with anyone under the age of 18, even if it is legal in their country. Saying they did not know the person’s true age is not a valid excuse.

How to report misconduct

If you suspect about a possible case of misconduct related to UNHCR personnel or its partner organizations, you can report this directly and in confidentiality to the Inspector General’s Office (IGO) at UNHCR Headquarters.

Alternatively, you can also report in confidentiality to the UNHCR Slovakia office on [email protected].

Your report should include the following information:

  • What happened? Describe what you know about the incident(s).
  • Who committed the alleged wrongdoing? Do you know if anyone else was involved? If possible, please provide full names, job titles and organization.
  • When and where did the incident of incidents occur? If possible, please include dates and times.