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At UN, Top DFS Post Maybe For Haq, Reverse on Silva as Price, Conflict of Maged

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 -- The UN's Ban Ki-moon has given top jobs to many unqualified people, some of whom still don't even try to do their jobs, Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous being a case in point.

  So with the top post of the Department of Field Support vacant as Susana Malcorra moves to be Ban's chief of staff, many expected this to be another patronage or "bean-counting" post.

  It has been suggested, however, to Inner City Press that a qualified official from the top troop contributing country should get the post: Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh, who has served in Timor Leste. She has has the courage to criticize the UN where necessary; unlike Ladsous she has not shied from questions.

  But is Bangladesh, despite the number of troops it contributes, a powerful enough country? Is it trying out for the post?

  Bangladesh's Permanent Representative Monem is often among the most honest of UN diplomats on such issues as the Peacebuilding Commission.

  Not long ago hetold Inner City Press that he told Sri Lanka that it should switch its Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona as Asia Group member of the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations for General Shavendra Silva, who stands accused of war crimes.

  But sometime after that, Monem changed his tune. One begins to wonder, is this the price of moving into Ban Ki-moon's USG circle? Time will tell.

  Another DFS candidate, Catherine Pollard, has or should have been hurt by her failure to timely and fairly process a claim of sexual abuse in OHRM in 380 Madison Avenue.

  Atul Khare of India has been hurt, subcontinent sources say, by fellow Indian Vijay Nambiar's insistence to retain an Under Secretary General's rank even in a part time Myanmar job.

  Meanwhile the Ban administration remains unaware or resistant to the idea of conflicts of interest. From the UN's March 20 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: Special Adviser on Africa, maybe you will either comment or find this out: factually, when does Mr. Maged Abdelaziz begin as the Special Adviser on Africa, a post he was named to from here?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: I’ll have to check, I don’t have that date with me.

Inner City Press: And given that he is now a prospective UN high official, is there, what is your comment to some who say that there is a conflict of interest now? He works for Ban Ki-moon, but he is still negotiating budgetary, i.e., troop cost issues in the C-34 [Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations] with the Secretariat that he has already taken a job to work for? Is there some problem with that?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, he will begin to work for the UN when he begins to work. Until then, he is probably earning a living doing something else.

Inner City Press: Right, but is there, I mean, do you see why he is already working for the side he is supposed to be negotiating around how UN funds go to peacekeepers, but he is already working for the entity that actually pays the money. So, it’s, there is no safeguards about this?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, there is no conflict of interest right now because he has not begun his job yet.

Inner City Press: He has already been given the job though.

Deputy Spokesperson: But he hasn’t begun his functions yet.

Inner City Press: So, he is…

Deputy Spokesperson: When he begins his functions he will be expected to work solely for the UN.

Inner City Press: So at this point though, he has to have zero loyalty, or not loyalty, affiliation to Ban Ki-moon, it’s not, the idea is that this has no impact on his behaviour of advocacy status.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I’d have to check on that with the appropriate authorities.

In the day and a half since, nothing has been said. For shame. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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