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UN climate talks have a ‘toxic background’ of sexual harassment, says lawyer

United Nations climate talks have a “toxic” history of sexual harassment, according to a veteran environmental lawyer.

Lawyer Farhana Yamin wrote an essay on her experience with sexual harassment at UN climate summits, arguing “the trivialization of women continues.” UN delegates kicked off a major climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Monday.

Yamin said it’s impossible to know how rampant sexual harassment is at male-dominated UN climate talks because “apart from informal whisper networks that keep women safe, it largely goes unreported.”

Her warning to female attendees of the Bonn climate talks comes after reports that prominent film producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted numerous women.

“I’ve been privy to many unaired and hushed conversations over the last three decades of my life as a climate change lawyer and know for a fact that many incidents have been brushed under the carpet,” Yamin wrote for Climate Home News.

“I too have kept quiet about my share of painful experiences, especially as a young woman,” Yamin wrote. “These range from unwelcome comments on my appearance to being made to feel as though I had to choose between my dignity and my career. Such incidents left me in a jumble of nerves or seething, sometimes both.”