Consultants quit Unicef UK project after accusing the charity of institutional racism

Two consultants have pulled out of a Unicef UK project after accusing the charity of institutional racism.

Fifa Rahman and Rachael Crockett said in a statement on social media that they had withdrawn from a project on health systems strengthening because of hurdles “grounded in institutional racism, including racist language and the contention of Unicef UK staff that the racism was ‘well meaning’”.

Unicef apologised and said it would meet Crockett and Rahman later this week to ensure their feedback was heard and acted upon.

A statement from the charity said: “We acknowledge these allegations, and we are sorry for the impact caused to the individuals concerned.

“Unicef UK is committed to working within our organisation on challenging all forms of bias and discrimination in our day-to-day work and communications.

“We appointed a specialist diversity and inclusion lead over a year ago to support the organisation’s work on equality and tackling racial injustice, as set out in our diversity and inclusion strategy.

 ”We are taking action to ensure that our processes and systems and the way they are communicated uphold our commitments to being a fair and inclusive organisation.

”Unicef UK continues to learn and understand systems of oppression and is dedicated to challenging and interrogating our position within them, in order to individually and collectively dismantle them.”

The allegations come while Unicef UK is seeking a new executive director and chair.

In September, Third Sector revealed that Sacha Deshmukh, the charity’s previous executive director, resigned after making allegations of bullying behaviour against Douglas Alexander, then the charity’s chair.

Alexander, who was cleared of any bullying allegations in a subsequent independent investigation, also stepped down at the time the claims were made.

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