At UN, Ban's Town Hall Is Stacked with Pre-Screened
Questions, on G-to-P Injustice and Permanent Contracts, Few
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 5 -- As Ban Ki-moon kicked
off his third
year as Secretary General, reviews Monday by UN staff outside
Ban's town hall meeting were less than glowing. "It was like a Soviet
event," one well-placed staffer quipped to Inner City Press,
"complete with pre-selected questions and answers read out of a
book." Another marveled how "it's a new day every day in Ban's
UN," constant reinvention with no memory of previous new beginnings not
followed up on.
Headquarters employees grumbled that other duty stations, from Geneva
Vienna to Nairobi, were given questions first. The head of the New York
Union, who had been asked to disclose his question in advance, inquired
last month of the UN's permanent contracts, and whether this
violated the UN Charter. Union officials complained that no real answer
New York, a General Service staff member asked Ban why not extend
benefits to General Services as well as Professional level staff. Ban
that the limitation comes from the General Assembly, and that American
will not get such stipends unless they move and serve in Geneva or
At least there was one seemingly unscripted question. The broader
and waste of talent occasioned by the wall
between Professional and General
Services staff remains unaddressed.
Press asked Ban's spokesperson at Monday's noon briefing to respond to
Charter-based argument. The Charter doesn't require or provide for
contracts, she responded. The new term is "continuing." But what about
whistleblower protection? And what about Article 101 of the the
reference to staff being "permanently assigned"?
Press spoke with a number of senior UN officials on their way in and
out of the
town hall meeting. One demanded off the record treatment, when
Ban's crack down on the Press. Others, however, to their credit made no
Peacekeeping chief Alain Leroy, walking in with his
Malcorra, replied about the Lord's Resistance Army that the UN Mission
Congo must focus in the Kivus, and cannot provide protection to the
North. Click here
for more on that.
UN's Ban at his Jan. 5 town hall,
pre-screened questions not shown
Special Advisor on Africa may not long retain that title. "I started
Small Islands," he said, adding that he'd prefer not to be too
with the Continent. So if Ban in fact
complies with the stated wish of the General Assembly, expect a new
Warren Sach confirmed that for a time he had been officer in charge of
Department of Management, but not on the day for replying to a report
retaliation. The resulting letter to the editor was by Catherine
"that was December 26," Sach said, "she was in charge." And
as the Arab League meeting about Gaza droned on the basement, Ms.
court in the Delegates' Lounge. Every day is a new day.
Footnote: the Town
Hall meeting was closed to the
press. Even member states were not, at least as of Monday night, able
the video. Delegates' link to the UN's intra-net had not been undated
so far in
2009. Is this any way to run the so-called World's Body? We may have
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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