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UN Human Rights Office Lurches From Corrupt Recruitment To Collusion With Guterres Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE, June 14 – The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which retaliated against Anders Kompass, Miranda Brown, Emma Reilly and others and did nothing about Antonio Guterres having Inner City Press roughed up and banned now 346 days, is also corrupt when it comes to recruitment and hiring. Whistleblowers there, citing Kompass and the previous Commissioner, unacted on by his successor, have sent Inner City Press this:

"the non-transparent, fraudulent and unfair manner in which job opening 74117 (current Middle East and North Africa Chief/ Geneva) was first advertised, processed and then filled. But prior to that, we thought it wise to confront this issue by drawing your attention to the rather expeditious and doubtful career progression that the current incumbent of the aforementioned position, Mr. Mohammad Ali Anlsur (former Jordanian Diplomat with no Human rights experience at all), has enjoyed ever since he joined this Office. Not only he was miraculously and abruptly scrambled from a P3 position to sensitive P5 positions in a matter of months, all recruitment processes and temporary assignments that relate to him were tarnished with irregularities and serious breaches to existing rules and procedures

Mr. Anlsur was brought to OHCHR in September 2014 by HC Zeid (He used to work with him in New York) to officially serve as his Special Assistant and as a focal point for the Middle East and North Africa region within the Executive Office (EO). He replaced the then P3 MENA focal point, Ms. F. J., who was forced out of the EO "to make space" for Mr. Anlsur. This abrupt movement of staff within the EO was justified by the then DHC (in an all staff message dated September 2014) on the need for the new HC to have an Arabic Speaker that would accompany him in bilateral meetings with interlocutors from the MENA region!. But soon after, Mr. Anlsur was surprisingly assigned to serve as Senior Legal Policy Adviser at the P5 level (temporary replacing Ms. C. A). This position gave him the privilege to overlook and advise* on the way the Office (mis)managed the case of Anders Kompass, which had and continues to have negative impacts on the whole UN system.   In addition, and under the direct instructions of the Zeid himself Mr. Alsnur has been appointed as the "mini king for the MENA region", disrupting the good functioning of files, deciding on priorities and disregarding and isolating other senior officials that were already working on the Middle East. Most of the decisions taken thereon on the MENA region were one sided, arbitrary and to the least subjective. Those who dared expressing concerns or simple views on best venues to address the many challenges that the region was faced with would be forced out of their positions either by laterally moving them from one duty station to another (musical chairs between Head of offices in Qatar, Beirut, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and Mauritania) or simply isolated after being subject to smearing campaigns and or investigations based on fake assumptions. There are numerous cases, but we will only refer you to the cases of Mr. Freij Fenniche (who was Chief of MENA and forced into retirement) and Elobaid Elobaid (moved out of Qatar at a sensitive time when Alnsur only priority for the region was to build partnership with the Qataris....  During the same period, Elobaid was faced with at least one investigation by OIOS as outlined in this UN court decision.

 Anders Kompass, the Head of the Division (he normally supervises the work of the MENA Section) was faced with two cases the first of Western Sahara and the second on CAR. Time has proved that Alnsur has instigated at least the CAR case against Anders Kompass.     Back to the "enthronement" of Mr, Alnsur! In April 2015, her was selected on a fixed-term P4 position within the Executive Office (job opening 37481). It is unclear whether he was sitting on a temporary P3/ P4 at the time of this selection, but in any circumstances this recruitment process remains questionable and constituted a first exceptional measure to accommodate Mr. Anlsur's ascension in OHCHR. This includes, among other things, narrowing the Terms of References (ToRs) as to perfectly fit his profile/previous work experience, upgrading the functions of the MENA focal point at the Executive Office from a P3 to a P4 etc. Surprisingly enough, the same post was downgraded to a P3 the moment Mr. Anlsur was selected/ confirmed at his current P5 position in FOTCD. Members of the Panel (as we will see it later on) were over dominantly from the Executive Office, which is extremely rare in OHCHR recruitment processes.     Less than six months later (in November 2015), Mr. Anlsur was mysteriously and surprisingly catapulted to the MENA Section to first serve as Officer in Charge (after forcing Anders Kompass out of the Division and the then Chief and his Deputy Chief of the MENA Section out) and then temporary Chief of Section at the P5 level, after yet another loose recruitment process. This raises serious concerns as to the fairness and transparency of that process. In addition, some of the candidates to the aforementioned positons were directly threatened while other potential candidates were "invited" not to apply...  Not only his sudden move to FOTCD was done with a complete disdain to existing rules and procedures, but only within months after his exceptional appointment at a P4 level. It is of utmost importance to highlight that the then vacant temporary P5 at the MENA Section was only advertised on a GTA after Mr. Anlsur would have spent exactly one year (in October 2016) on his initial assignment as the Section's Office in Chard. In other terms, Mr. Anlsur was given a golden opportunity to somehow meet the "lateral move" requirements under ST/AI/2016/1, further paving his way towards the fixed-term P5 at the MENA Section. In the private sector such a reprehensible act is called "insider trading". In the UN and/or broader public sector, it has different names:  abuse of authority/power, fraud or simply corruption.      

Accordingly, and as initially mentioned the whole recruitment process of job opening 74117 (Chief of MENA Section) was done in violation of basic UN rules and procedures, including the then staff selection and managed mobility system (ST/AI/2016/1) and this is why:      First, the ToRs of this job opening were again drafted in a way that perfectly fitted the profile of Mr. Anlsur, whereby key requirements for these kind of sensitive P5 positions such as prior experience in the UN (field & HQs) were simply removed from the initial Job Opening (JO). Managerial skills were not required but only desirable whereas knowledge of French and other important pre-existing requirements were also simply dismissed. Surprisingly, the same ToRs rather required prior "Experience of institutional legal matters related to managing legal processes of international organizations". Probably a wink to Mr. Anlsur's previous work experience at the Legal Department in the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, one of the screening questions expressly required whether candidates have "experience in human rights monitoring, analysis and reporting". Mr. Anslur simply cheated by responding with a yes, although he never had any substantive human rights monitoring/analysis/reporting experience in his entire career. Neither before joining OHCHR, nor while working for OHCHR. The then hiring manager and the Ohchr Human Resources have both failed in checking this information. In addition, another amazing aspect of this recruitment is the non-transparent manner in which the ToRs were drafted and processed, including through the exclusion of relevant and experienced staff members (in the field of recruitment) from within the FOTCD Director's Office. Any attempt to oppose the recruitment process was  vehemently suppressed.    

Second, it was further surprising to see job opening 74117 taken out of POLNET in yet another attempt to control its outcomes.This is probably the first and only time when OHCHR has requested a vacancy to be moved out of Polnet. Looking backward on this case, we do not see any apparent and valid justification for doing so for the post could have been easily advertised through POLNET semi-annual staffing exercise. In fact, it should be clearly and loudly stated that when Mr. Anlsur joined the MENA as O.i.C he did so without any form of recruitment. He then served as O.i.C for the MENA Section (while maintaining his P4 position at the EO) for almost a year without OHCHR feeling the urgency to issuing a GTA. Adding insult to injury, the Hiring Manager then opted not to administer a written exam and to directly conduct competency based interviews. The choice of the interview panel, composed among others of  FOTCD Director a.i and the HC’s Chief of staff, is rather very rare and raises serious concerns as to the fairness of the process.     

Third, and most importantly, it is regrettable to also note that at the time of his application to job opening 74117, Mr Anlsur did not meet the eligibility requirement under Article 6.9 of ST/AI/2016/1 which provides that "Candidates shall be required to have at least one geographical move, which may have taken place at any level in the Professional and higher categories within the United Nations system, to be eligible to be considered for a position at the P-5, D-1 and D-2 levels, except as provided for in section 25.2 below". It goes without saying that Mr. Anlsur has no geographical move** "within the UN system". Furthermore, he did not meet the exceptional measures as defined in Section 25 of ST/AI/2016/1. In fact, Article 25.2 foresees some transitional measures for eligibility screening of candidates until 31 December 2020. It indeed provides that "For staff members who joined the Organization on or before 30 April 2014, the eligibility requirement to be considered for promotion to the P-5, D-1 and D-2 levels may include two lateral moves, in lieu of the geographical move required in section 6.10 above, which may have taken place at any level in the Professional category, and shall be subject to the following provisions:                                    

(a) [...]              (b) Staff recruited at the P-4 level shall become eligible for consideration for a position at the P-5 level after one lateral move at the P-4 level. Staff recruited at the P-5 level shall become eligible for consideration for a position at the D-1 level after one lateral move at the P-5 level. Staff recruited at the D-1 level shall become eligible for consideration for a position at the D-2 level after one lateral move at the D-1 level".      The provisions of Article 25.2 do not apply to Mr. Anlsur as he only joined OHCHR in September 2014 (on a "express of interest basis" and was first selected on a P4 position in April 2015) and shall therefore be subjected to the geographical move requirement as defined in Article 6.9. In addition, the requirements under Article 25.2 (b) do not apply to his case either. Article 25.2 (b) clearly states that "staff recruited at the P4 level shall become eligible for consideration for a position at the P5 level after one lateral move at the P4 level". According to ST/AI/2016/1 a lateral move is defined as: "Service of a staff member in two different positions at the same grade level, performing the functions of the position selected for a continuous period of at least one year". It is obvious from our initial introduction that Mr. Anlsur does not meet the lateral move's definition as he spent less than a year (8-9 months to be precise) at his P4 position in the Executive Office (let alone his temporary assignment as Senior Legal Officer). In addition, in the MENA Section he did not serve at the "P4 level" as he was appointed as O.i.C and then Chief of Section at a P 5 level. During his initial assignment as O.i.C MENA (November 2015- October 2016) he did maintain his position at the EO and, technically he was not "laterally moved" to FOTCD, at least not before his temporary selection as the Head of MENA in October 2016 at the P5 level. He was selected on his current P5 position in April/May 2017...

Many have been prevented from competing for P5 and D1 positions given the Office strict adherence to the geographical/lateral moves requirements as per ST/AI/2016/1.  We further regret that the previous HC and other Senior managers have failed to uphold respect for basic UN rules and procedures, including principles of integrity, transparency, non-discrimination between staff members, non-selectivity and equal opportunities in the filling of vacant positions, in the field and HQ alike. Proximity to the HC or any other Senior Officials shall not be used to simply undermine basic rules and procedures and/or as a fast track for promotion. In his last statement to the HRC of 18 June 2018, Zeid left no doubt about his biaised preference to Alnsur when stressing towards the end of his intervention: “And finally to my brother Mohammad Ali al-Nsour, who accompanied me from New York, via Amman, and has been with me every step of the way, and will always remain a very special friend- thank you”...    Accordingly, we would like to use this platform to once again call  upon our senior leaderships, the new High Commissioner and the Secretary General,  to take some urgent and immediate measures to ensure that all future recruitments are conducted in full transparency and in compliance with the Secretary-General’s bulletin ST/SGB/2016/2 and which was designed to ensure the selection of "staff on the basis of merit, demonstrated competencies and prior performance, through a competitive process in which the paramount consideration is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity". We also would like to call upon them to thoroughly investigate the aforementioned claims and allegations with a view to ensuring accountability. In the meantime, we further urge them to take immediate managerial and corrective measures in line with relevant Secretary-General's bulletins.  * In a now online note dated 29 March 2015, Anders Kompass has clearly stated that: "on 19 March 2015, I was told by a Colleague that Mr. Mohammad Ali Alnsour, Special Assistant to the High Commissioner, had contacted by phone the Human Rights Officer who had investigated the case asking her to formally request an internal investigation on the case. I was told that the HRO had refused to do so".  Other online documebts clearly point out to the fact that the whole Anders scandal was instigated by Anlsur. "

  With UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and her Deputy Andrew Gilmour set to speak in the UN on human rights day on December 10, Inner City Press responded to an invitation and was told, "Thank you for registering to attend the Human Rights Day event at the United Nations on Monday 10 December. On Monday, please come to the UN Visitors’ Gate on First Avenue opposite 45th street starting at 2pm, at which time entry passes will be distributed."

Then, past six p.m. on Friday, December 7 this from Bachelet's and Gilmour's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: "Dear Matthew, We have received notification from UN Security that your name was flagged as "BARRED" on the list we submitted for passes for Monday's event (3pm, ECOSOC Chamber). We will therefore not have a pass for you and are unable to facilitate entry.
Thank you for your interest and best regards,
OHCHR New York Office."

   Inner City Press immediately wrote back, to the sender and Bachelet and her assistant, to Andrew Gilmour and to the moderator of the event, "Particularly since you are the UN Office of the High Commissioner for *Human Rights,* did you not ask why a journalist who asks the Secretary General and his spokesmen about the killings in Cameroon, Burundi, UN corruption, UN peacekeepers' sexual abuse of civilians, and Sri Lanka, is “BARRED” from attending your human rights event - without any hearing or appeal? I will appreciate your Office's answer to this."  We'll have more on this.

 Bachelet gave a speech on October 15 in the UN's Third Committee, she emphasized a prioritization of social and economic rights and said one of the officials of her office is "on mission in Silicon Valley" in the US. There are questions about this - but Inner City Press which has covered human rights and the UN for more than a decade was for the first time banned from access a High Commissioner's speech. This has been raised repeated to Bachelet since she took office but she has so far done nothing, not even responded. Meanwhile on October 12 Cameroon, from whose Paul Biya Secretary General Antonio Guterres took a golden statue and favors in the Fifth (Budget) Committee and remains silent on the slaughter of Anglophones, was elected to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. This system is failing - but if Bachelet cannot even answer on Guterres maintaining a secret banned list including not only Inner City Press but also "political activists," then the UN has hit a new low.

   Inner City Press was never given a hearing by Smale before her August 17 letter with withdrew Inner City Press media accreditation. Nothing in it said anything about a ban from entering the UN as a person, a tourist, or in another other way. But this is what happened, without any recourse. Pure Kafka-esque censorship, by a former New York Times Berlin bureau chief to hinder coverage of the corruption of the former Portuguese prime minster Antonio Guterres, see September 23 New York Post here. What next? Watch this site.


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