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UN Human Rights Office Begins Ethnographic Study Some Staff See As Racial Profiling While Banning Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 – In the UN system of Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his equally absentee High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, roughing up and banning the investigative Press is fine, as it profiling staff members in ways that many staff feel is problematic. This was sent out to Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights staff members, and forwarded by whistleblowers to Inner City Press along with this question:  Seems OHCHR has brought in consultants to start racially profiling staff. Presumably this is part of Guterres’s moves to apply gender and regional quotas to recruitment and promotions... Is this even legal? Another added: And yet they crack down on and ban Inner City Press. Now we publish, exclusively: "From: "Staff Messaging for OHCHR
Date: 17 December 2018 at 17:54:27 CET
Subject: All staff message - Ethnographic study on our organizational culture
Dear colleagues
As you know, under the Organizational Effectiveness Action Plans (OEAP) of our newOffice Management Plan (OMP), we are committed to reinforcing our organizational arrangements so that these better align with the human rights results we are determined to deliver.  It’s worth recalling that these Action Plans were shaped by the recommendations of a number of Staff Task Forces operating in 2016/17, as well as by findings of staff surveys and results from the 360 feedback given to senior managers earlier this year.
An innovative step we are taking thanks to all this effort, is the introduction of an ethnographic study of our organizational culture.  The aim of this novel project is to give us all the option of a fresh window onto the workings of the Office, with a specific focus on  barriers to, and enablers of, greater diversity and dignity within our workplace, including with respect to gender identity, geography, age, disability, sexual orientation etc. 
The project is underway and will run throughout much of 2019.  It is an “action learning process” that may deliver advice much earlier than only at its conclusion but it will close with a report to the High Commissioner which we hope to make broadly available – noting, of course, the need to protect confidentiality.
It is my great pleasure to introduce to you the team that, following the required competitive tendering process, was selected to undertake this project:Dr Agathe Mora, Dr Miia Halme-Tuomisaari and Dr Julie Billaud.  Together, they bring more than 40 years of experience in ethnographic study within international and UN organizations (for more information, please see bio note and bibliography).
In the coming weeks and months, they will spend time - initially in Geneva and then elsewhere - attending meetings, introducing themselves and getting to know us more informally too - to help build up a picture of life at OHCHR. They will spend time in our other workplaces OR we will extend the project’s timeline to allow for a more thorough cascade of this approach into the field.
They will be with us initially for a period of eight months, working impartially and independently, with full academic rigor; being bound too by UN standards of confidentiality and intellectual property. If you would like to speak with them, please do not hesitate to make direct contact  at: agathe.mora [redacted].  The project is also guided by a small steering group comprised of colleagues who helped introduce the Dignity@ Work policy.  A contact point for that steering group, which I chair, is Saori Terada [redacted].  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any queries.  In the meantime, do join us in welcoming our team of experts. 
We very much look forward to your participation in this intriguing initiative.
Warm regards,
Kate." That's Kate Gilmore, Inner City Press questions about whom Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq have refused to answer. When 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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