Iraqis at British embassy in Baghdad claim sexual abuse

May 8th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 8 (DPA) Iraqis employed at the British embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone claim to have been sexually abused, a media report has said. According to a report by the Times Wednesday, the British Foreign Office had received complains from from an Iraqi cleaner and two cooks that a culture of sexual harassment, abuse and bullying existed at the embassy.

The accusations have been made against British employees of the US service company KBR which was responsible for catering at several embassies in Baghdad.

The company, based in Houston, Texas, whose clients include the Pentagon, has however rejected the claims, the Times reported.

An Iraqi woman, who worked as a cleaning lady, told British diplomats that the head of KBR had asked her to stay in the night and promised to double her wage in return. But her refusal resulted in a pay cut and she was later dismissed.

Two Iraqi cooks, who confirmed the woman’s claims to Foreign Office staff, also lost their jobs shortly afterwards, the Times reported.

They had worked in the canteen and said that KBR managers groped Iraqi staff regularly and paid or rewarded them for sex, and those who refused or spoke out were dismissed.

The British embassy heard the complaints initially, but left KBR to investigate the claims. KBR later reported that they were unfounded.

The three complainants spoke to the newspaper in the hope that the Foreign Office would conduct an independent inquiry.

They said that other Iraqis, who had been sexually abused, had remained silent for fear of being dismissed.

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