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After UN Appeals Whistleblowers' Win, Says It Engaged Justice Otis to Study

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 21 -- After whistleblower James Wasserstrom harshly criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month, after winning a ruling of retaliation but with a financial award that did not even cover his legal fees, Ban announced that an outside consultant would advise him on the issue of whistleblower protection.

Then last week Ban filed an appeal even to the small award to Wasserstrom.

On May 21 Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey to explain why the appeal shouldn't be viewed as discouraging future UN whistleblowers, and about the consultant.

Del Buey said he would not comment on the appeal. Minutes after the (very short) noon briefing, Inner City Press was sent this response:

Subject: Re: Your question at the noon briefing
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, May 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

The UN Secretariat has engaged Justice Louise Otis of Canada to conduct an independent review of the Organization's protection against retaliation policy for the purpose of issuing recommendations to the Secretary-General to enhance policy effectiveness. Justice Otis is an expert in international administrative law, and formally served on the Redesign Panel on the United Nations Administration of Justice System.

Justice Otis' review is currently underway, and her final report is expected to be delivered to the Secretary-General later in the year.

While the response is appreciated, even though the terms of Justice Otis' "engagement" and how she was selected are not disclosed, there is still the matter of what message the appeal sends. Does Ban just automatically appeal any ruling against his UN, no matter how well reasoned? Watch this site.

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