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Cash Demanded from UN Job Seekers by UNA-USA, UN Speaker Has No Comment

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 -- “Never pay money to try to get a UN job,” the man from the UN told a ballroom of job seekers ten blocks from the UN on Thursday night.

  To get in to hear the man from the UN Office of Human Resources Management speak, each attendee had to pay either $10 or, in a package deal, $25 to also join the UN Association - USA. It was apparent, then, that contrary to what the man from the UN said -- as well as in seeming violation of a UN General Assembly resolution -- money was being charged to hear how to try to get a UN job.

   Earlier on Thursday, a person lured to the event by a flier from UNA-USA sent the flier to Inner City Press, calling the demand for money to hear from the UN “disgusting." While that seemed a bit strong to Inner City Press -- $10 is not a huge amount of money -- it seemed surprising that an organization as intertwined with the UN as USA-USA would use the UN in this way. The flier says, "Are you intrigued by how to get a job at the United Nations... Join for a $25 introductory membership and attend for free." Otherwise, admission was listed at $10.

  Inner City Press sent a question on deadline to both UNA-USA and its New York branch, asking if the charge didn't violation a UNGA resolution, 92(I). Having received no answer even after deadline, Inner City Press walked ten block to check out the event, held in the basement ballroom of Hungary's mission to the UN.

   The two people manning the door demanded ten dollars from Inner City Press. Another person going in paid $25, for entrance and a membership in UNA-USA. He paid cash, as did Inner City Press, to which no receipt was offered, and no contact information taken.

   Inside, two UN speakers painted a rosy picture of four month maternity leave, four week paternity leave, extra pay for language posts and “automatic” promotion from the P-2 to P-3 grade. When the question and answer period arrive, Inner City Press sought to ask a question.

Another UNA-USA event, charging $10 to UN job seekers not shown

General Assembly Resolution 92(I) provides that

"Members of the United Nations should take such legislative or other appropriate measures as are necessary to prevent the use, without authorization by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and in particular for commercial purposes by means of trademarks or commercial labels, of the emblem, the official seal and the name of the United Nations, and of abbreviations of that name through the use of its initial letters"

  To charge admission to hear UN officials tell how to get UN jobs clearly seems to be a commercial purpose.

  A representative of UNA-USA, which had not answered the written question earlier in the day about the appropriateness of charging money to those seeking UN jobs, sought not to hand the microphone to Inner City Press. But eventually it could not be avoided.

   Inner City Press asked the UN speaker if it was appropriate that money had been charged to hear his presentation, and about those who work for the UN for eleven months and then face enforced lay-offs, so like at Wal-Mart they never attain full rights.

   The UN speaker -- John Ericson -- said, “That's really a question for UNA-USA,” whose representative proceeded to take the microphone from Inner City Press and say, more to the crowd, that none of this money went to the UN. But that was not the point: UNA-USA was charging money to those wanting UN jobs, and the UN was speaking about jobs in an event people had to pay to attend.

   In fact, another UN source tells Inner City Press that the two OHRM staffers did not know, prior to the event, that UNA-USA was charging money. Let us say, then, that the UN will agree that it was inappropriate. What next? UNA-USA should at a minimum offer refunds to those whom they inappropriately charged money. But how? Inner City Press bears witness that cash was accepted without receipts being given or contact information taken. Perhaps UNA-USA should publish a legal notice in a newspaper offering the refunds that should be required.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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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