UNICEF deputy director Justin Forsyth resigns after 'mistakes'

FILE PHOTO: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake (3rd L) stands with Justin Forsyth (L), chief executive of Save the Children, as they visit a school inside a refugee camp in Zahle, in the Bekaa Valley March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The deputy director of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF resigned on Thursday, saying he did not want coverage of past mistakes he had made to damage the organization or other aid bodies.

Save the Children UK said on Wednesday concerns were raised about inappropriate comments and behavior by Justin Forsyth, the charity’s then chief executive, in 2011 and 2015. It said reviews in both cases had resulted in “unreserved apologies” to the women involved.

In a statement, Forsyth said his decision to step down from UNICEF was not because of “the mistakes I made at Save the Children”.

“They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago,” his statement said.

“I apologised unreservedly at the time and face to face. I apologise again. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to - rightly - hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.”

His decision to step down comes as charities in the aid sector pledge to overhaul their approach to dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Britain and the European Union put their funding of Oxfam under review after reported abuse by some staff in Haiti after an earthquake in 2010.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Michael Holden in London; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg