BDS-SA accused of inaction amid sexual harassment allegations

Lobby group Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa has been accused of inaction amid sexual harassment allegations against its director.

US academic Sang Hea Kil claims that co-founder and director of BDS-SA Muhammed Desai sexually harassed her and two other women on March 21, while she was visiting Johannesburg to attend a conference on Palestine.

Afro-Middle East Centre executive director Naeem Jeenah is the main point of contact between the women and BDS-SA.

He says a meeting was called with the BDS-SA board on 23 March to address the matter with Desai and two other board members. It's said Desai refused to respond to the allegations.

Jeenah says two emails have been sent to the complainants since then.

This happened almost two months ago. Sang then got a lawyer from the women's legal centre to represent her. The BDS-SA board has not responded to the lawyer's letters either and it seems that they're basically hoping for the matter to disappear.

Naeem Jeenah, Executive director - Afro-Middle East Centre

Jeenah says Kil laid charges with the Brixton police station on 24 March.

It was sexual harassment charges and we don't know what happened to that. She has not been given a case number and has had no contact from the police about that.

Naeem Jeenah, Executive director - Afro-Middle East Centre

Her lawyers are now following up on that. They have been told that the case was closed but her lawyers say that in these kind of circumstances it is easy to have the case reopened, which is what they are trying to do.

Naeem Jeenah, Executive director - Afro-Middle East Centre

According to Al Jazeera, Desai released a statement denying the allegations, threatening legal action against the complainants.

The Afternoon Drive team has made attempts to contact Desai with no success.

Jeenah says more women have come forward since the allegations were made public.

There has been a number of them and I think we may find that some of those may decide to speak of their experiences.

Naeem Jeenah, Executive director - Afro-Middle East Centre

BDS-SA has been quoted as saying it treats these accusations very seriously and an independent investigation will be wrapped up in a month.

Click on the link below to hear the full story...


This article first appeared on 702 : BDS-SA accused of inaction amid sexual harassment allegations


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