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March 1, 2011: Libya

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As Diarra Laughs at ECA Run, Complaints by Female Staff Unresponded To

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 7 -- For weeks Inner City Press has heard that the UN's Special Adviser on Africa Cheikh Sidi Diarra is a candidate to replace Abdoulie Janneh as head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ECA.

  After informally asking Cheikh Sidi Diarra about it, on October 7 Inner City Press asked him on camera. He replied that he is not aware of an opening at ECA -- one heard laughter at this point -- and that he is honored to serve 90 nations in his various roles at the UN. Video here.

  One of his roles is as head of the Office of High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries & Small Island Developing States, OHRLLS. Inner City Press has asked for a response to staff abuse claims within OHRLLS.

Specifically, Inner City Press has reviewed detailed written complaints against the OHRLLS Chief of Policy Development Sandagdorj Erdenebileg from 2011 back to 2008.  Click here for one.

  The complaints are consistent, of verbal and other abuse of female subordinates. Despite the 2008 complaint, in which a female UN staffer described in detail how Sandagdorj Erdenebileg was treating her like a "domestic employee," was still reportedly acting the same way, or worse, in 2011 -- telling his assistant to clean up his used tissues, for example: click here.

Inner City Press asked Sandagdorj Erdenebileg for his response to the 2011 complaint, sending it to him, and responded to his telephone call asking what the deadline was.

  Still, no response was received by deadline. Inner City Press told Cheikh Sidi Diarra just after the NEPAD press conference Friday at 1 pm that his subordinate Sandagdorj Erdenebileg had been asked for a response.

"How do you know these things?" Cheikh Sidi Diarra asked. How indeed.

  With all due respect, even as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks about the rights of women, many female employees at the UN are mistreated and little is done about it, even when formal complaints are filed.

  It is supervisors who should be held accountable for acting on complaints, such as the 2008 and then 2011 complaints at issue here.

Diarra & Ban Ki-moon, Tissue-Gate not shown

In this UN system, there is very little review of candidates for top jobs.

Inner City Press is informed, for example, the new Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous was simply presented by the French government as the person who should be given the job, as a replacement for their previous interviewed candidate Jerome Bonnafont, and Ladsous was given it, despite his statements about Rwanda and then ousting Aristide from Haiti, and his role as chief of state to Michele Aliot-Marie when she flew on Air Ben Ali in Tunisia.

  Cheikh Sidi Diarra has run several UN offices, and it seems obvious that the record of running of these offices, including how staff have been treated, should along with other factors such as those described in Friday's NEPAD press conference be reviewed before any next position. But will they be?

In the NEPAD press conference, Inner City Press asked if the International Monetary Fund, ostensibly a part of the UN system, works with NEPAD. The CEO of NEPAD, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said that the IMF's structural adjustment program demands had hurt planning in Africa, but that this is being countered.  Video here.

 Cheikh Sidi Diarra on the other hand gave a rosy description of IMF involvement with the UN and various Ban Ki-moon task forces. This, apparently, is what Ban Ki-moon is looking for from officials in his UN. How women are treated, it seems, is far less important. Watch this site.

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Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

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