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After UN Guterres Refused Press Question on UNAIDS #MeToo, To Lisbon For 4 Days, Slow

By Matthew Russell Lee, Vine, doc here

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 – For Antonio Guterres' 15 months as UN Secretary General he has gotten less and less transparent, about meetings and read-outs and even where he is. At one point for more than a week his spokespeople refused to answer the Press on where he was, finally saying "Europe." On March 29, Inner City Press asked Guterres' top three spokespeople a simple question: "where *is* the Secretary General? And where will he be, each day prior to his appearance Monday in Geneva? Again, has the Secretary General or anyone in his team spoken with Michel Sidibe of UNAIDS following the reports of his threats to staff who have come forward with harassment complaints?" Past 4 PM on March 30, despite Guterres' spokespeople putting out a statement from him about Liberia, no answer. His absence was noted at a protest in front of the UN, here (and later at the UN Security Council stakeout on Gaza). More than 17 hours after the question was asked, and asked again, finally this from Guterres' spokesperson: "the SG is in Lisbon." There - was that so difficult? The question of costs, of four days in Lisbon based off an appearance Tuesday in Geneva, amid protests and the Gaza crisis and inaction by UN Headquarters on sexual harassment and retaliation at UNAIDS and elsewhere is another question. And there are still other questions left unanswered, for example "what is the UN's position, and what has the UN done, about the detention then deportation of Kenya opposition figure Miguna Miguna, and the beating of journalists covering it in the Nairobi airport?
Does the UN have anything more to say about Somalia's complaint about UAE's deal with Somaliland for port and military base, other than that it is a bilateral matter between Somalia and the UAE?" We'll have more on this.
On March 29 Guterres refused to answer Inner City Press' question about sexual harassment at UNAIDS, about which Inner City Press has been asking the UN all year and which will be on CNN International on March 30, while protesters from Southern Cameroons / Ambazonia gather across from the UN to have their voices heard. But where IS Guterres? We'll have more on this.
Only two weeks ago Guterres found yet another reason to visit, with public funds, his home in Lisbon. He also investigates whistleblower, presumably for retaliation, here. On March 13 UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres "will travel on to Lisbon, where he will speak to the Islamic Community of Lisbon as it marks its fiftieth anniversary as an organization." On March 14, Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq said Guterres won't be back in New York until Monday March 19. So why Lisbon? Why not, for example, visit Muslims in Sri Lanka who are having their mosques and shops torched? Or, of course, in Myanmar where Guterres long supported a silent envoy Lok-Dessallein? But Guterres wants to go home, but wants to make it appear to be work related. He went to Lisbon to get an honorary degree; he went to an Internet conference, four days for a ten minute speech. Inner City Press' questions about the costs, where UN Security stays, have not been answered. On March 14, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesmn, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Cyprus is saying that its Foreign Minister will definitely be meeting with António Guterres in Rome.  They call it a 15-minute meeting and said it was agreed to.  So, one, I wanted to know, can you confirm it?  But, two, is it possible to know, especially the ones that have already been agreed to, the meetings that the Secretary-General will have while he's in Rome? Deputy Spokesman:  No, we'll provide details of his meetings once they've taken place.  Stéphane is there in Rome, and he'll let us know. Question:  But… just… it's a request, I guess.  There are officials that when they travel, like… when he's here, he has a public schedule.  So, the night before, they say he's meeting with X, Y and Z.  If you know, why don't you publish it on the…? Deputy Spokesman:  To be very blunt, when he's traveling, the schedule changes at the… at a speed you could not imagine.  We have to change it at the drop of a hat.  It doesn't make sense to put it out a day in advance. Question:  When is he… when is he due back in New York? Deputy Spokesman:  Next Monday." Oh. Sometimes the UN has refused to even admit that Guterres was in Portugal, telling Inner City Press belatedly that he was in Europe. Sometimes the UN wouldn't even say anything about where Guterres was, in response to which Inner City Press started live-streaming Periscope video across the street from the UN's $50 million mansion on Sutton Place. Now UN Security says, We caught you at the residence, and the restrictions on Inner City Press for actually reporting on the UN continue. Guterres ignored and his office didn't even acknowledged receipt of the most recent formal request. His UN is, for now, corrupt. Back on February 16 restricted Inner City Press reported that Guterres would spend the next four days in his native Portugal, says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment, and for retaliation. But his chief of "Global Communications" Alison Smale argued that all UN staff including victims should "speak with one voice" which several staff told Inner City Press they took to mean, Don't make the UN look bad. When Guterres took over on his post-Olympics junket, Inner City Press predicted he would use it as a pretext to go to his real home, Lisbon. And so it is - on February 16, after his spokesman Stephane Dujarric literally ran off the podium as Inner City Press asked a question, saying "I'm good," the UN put on its website that Guterres is in Lisbon and won't be back to New York until February 20, four days away. All this to receive an honorary degree. Previously, Guterres did this to give a ten minute speech about the Internet. Who is paying for this? And what conflicts, from Myanmar to Yemen to Cameroon, are being solved? All this while Guterres and Smale continue restricting and censoring the Press which asks. This is disgusting. On February 6, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq how it was that UNAIDS deputy Luiz Loures was "cleared" of harassment charges, "how was the decision made within UNAIDS?" Haq said, "it was immediately referred to the Office of Internal Oversight of the World Health Organization."
UN transcript here. Video here. [The Guardian says "OIOS," as in the UN Secretariat's OIOS - which is it?]. Inner City Press then specifically asked, "does the director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, then make a final determination?"  Haq said, "It has to follow the recommendations by the investigators, in other words, by the World Health Organization investigators." That does not appear to be the case: Sibide, a witness in the case, is said to have made the decision, after staff members were pressured. On February 16, Inner City Press asked Haq's boss Stephane Dujarric, video here (second half after Lubbers), UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'm sure you've seen The Guardian article in continued reporting on the UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS] clearing of Mr. [Luiz] Loures beyond… beyond the role of the executive director.  They've said that staff members… many of them have said they were virtually ordered to write letters of support for Mr. Loures, which seems to be pretty much almost the definition of… of… of cover-up Spokesman:  Look, I think these are allegations.  I would encourage you to speak to UNAIDS.  They are… you know, and they will speak for themselves in this case and answer what is… what are really just allegations.  The investigation was done.  It was done under the authority of the World Health Organization’s Office of Independent… of Investigative Services, so questions regarding that should go to UNAIDS and the World Health Organization. Inner City Press: And can you say anything more about this March meeting that the head of UN-Women team said that the Secretary-General was going to convene, I guess, on the sidelines of an upcoming conference, an all-agency meeting about sexual harassment? Spokesman:  "Not at this point." So, when? On February 13, Inner City Press asked Haq's boss Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you again about this UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS]/Luiz Loures case, because, yesterday, it emerged or Code Blue stated — and I'd like you to confirm or deny that the claimant in that case wrote to the Secretary-General in the midst of it to say… you know, alleging that Mr. [Michel]Sidibé had a conflict of interest, had actually offered to mediate an apology by Mr. Loures to the claimant to resolve the whole thing, which makes his ultimate decision-making or appointing of the decision maker problematic from their view.  Given the importance of this issue… given what the Secretary-General said at the stakeout about zero tolerance… did he receive the letter from the claimant?  Why didn't he…?  Okay.  First question. Spokesman:  I don't know if he received the letter from the claimant.  This process was handled by UNAIDS.  UNAIDS is an agency which, for these types of issues, deals through the World Health Organization's Office of Internal Oversight.  As you know, UNAIDS is a joint project bringing together various parts of the UN system.  UNAIDS management had no role in the investigation, and the Executive Director specifically had no role in the issuance of the independent IOS [Office of Internal Oversight] report or in the decision-making process in this case.  The complaint was handled by the rules and regulations that are in place and that govern UNAIDS. Inner City Press: Well, two things.  Number one, they say that he appointed his Deputy Executive Director, ad interim, Mr. Joel Rehnstrom, to be the decision maker and that this individual relied on Mr. Sidibé to either get or not get the final job.  So, they don't think that that's really a recusal.  And I guess my other question is, maybe you can say it in retrospect.  Given how important this issue has become, given what his stakeout said, if it's a UN system and a claimant writes to the Secretary-General and says, I believe the process is broken out here, does he… did he acknowledge… I think I [inaudible] find out.  Can you find out? Spokesman:  As I said, let's find out what the… you know, if we've received the letter.  As… as we said, our colleagues at UNAIDS have told us specifically that the Executive Director had no role to play in the issuance of the report or in the decision-making or the process.  And I don't particularly agree with Code Blue's logic. Inner City Press: One last thing in terms of the claimant letter, because it seems like it's… that's a yes-or-no question, but I've heard complaints from others who've tried on a variety of issues to… to… to reach and at least feel that they reached the Secretary-General.  And I know that, under Ban Ki-moon, there was such a process, and letters were acknowledged.  How would you say, from this podium, to… to people, for example, a claimant like this, how are they supposed to know that their… their… their pleas weren’t lost in the mail? Spokesman:  I would hope that every letter is answered or at least acknowledged.  I will check on the specific letter. Inner City Press: That doesn't seem to be the case currently. Spokesman:  I mean, you're… it's asymmetrical warfare here.  You're talking to me about letters that I don't… I have no knowledge of.  Let me find out if that specific letter was acknowledged." Two days later, nothing. So Inner City Press asked Dujarric again on February 15, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: did you ever find out if the… if the letter from the claimant in UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS] was, in fact, received by the 38th Floor? Spokesman:  Yes, the letter has been received by the Secretary-General.  Obviously, as we've said here, issues of harassment are taken seriously.  The Secretary-General, as you know, has taken a number of steps to ensure that there is a strength in capacity to prevent and respond to allegations of sexual harassment and to support and protect victims.  In terms of the letter, I can confirm we've received it.  As you know, it's the policy of the UN, as provided by the General Assembly resolutions concerning the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and by staff regulations, to maintain confidentiality and not to publicly discuss individual cases or complaints of, or investigations into, misconduct.  Therefore, we're not in a position to comment further on the details of the case, but, as I said, the letter has been received." And then what? The same day, Guterres offered unmitigated praise of Ruud Lubbers, who left the UN for sexual harassment . We'll have more on this. Code Blue recounts, "The claimant stated that while the formal investigation was underway, Mr. Sidibé approached her to say that Luiz Loures would like to apologize and to suggest that he himself would facilitate a meeting between accuser and accused, thus putting the whole issue to rest. Appalled and offended by Mr. Sidibé's attempt to informally resolve the case and halt the investigation, the claimant refused and reported Mr. Sidibé's interference to IOS. When brought in for questioning by IOS, Mr. Sidibé denied that Luiz Loures confessed to him, and he told conflicting stories about why he had broached the meeting idea with the claimant. First Mr. Sidibé told IOS that Luiz Loures suggested he intercede with the claimant. “He [Loures] told me clearly that it will be better if we could really make sure that three of us, we could meet to clarify these issues, and not make it a big problems [sic],” Mr. Sidibé said. Then, in a subsequent interview with IOS, Mr. Sidibé said he decided to approach the claimant without Luiz Loures’ knowledge. The press release continues: “The UNAIDS Executive Director recused himself from the final decision-making role in the case to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest. Instead, the UNAIDS Executive Director delegated authority over the case to the Deputy Executive Director for Management, a.i.,” Joel Rehnstrom. It hardly counts as a recusal for Mr. Sidibé to delegate his duties to a subordinate who, at the time, was not only his personally selected interim Deputy Executive Director for Management but was also a candidate for official appointment to the position. Further, Mr. Rehnstrom was a close colleague of Luiz Loures. We fail to see why this case was not removed from the purview of UNAIDS altogether. As you know, Mr. Secretary-General, the claimant wrote to you directly, asking that you assume the responsibility for making the final decision in the case.  The press release says that IOS concluded the investigation, determined that the allegations against Luiz Loures were “unsubstantiated,” and recommended that the case be closed. Upon receipt of the investigation report, Mr. Rehnstrom “requested the Chair of the standing Global Advisory Committee on Harassment to constitute a panel to review the report and to make recommendations to him.” The press release does not mention that all three members of the Global Advisory Committee are UNAIDS employees in a chain of command that ultimately reports to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Sidibé. The IOS conclusions are damning. IOS "found it perplexing" that Mr. Sidibé stated he did not seek Luiz Loures’ agreement for broaching the meeting idea prior to making that suggestion to the claimant. IOS "found it perplexing" that Mr. Sidibé approached the claimant to suggest a meeting given that he "was aware at the time that the matter was under official investigation by IOS, having referred it to IOS himself in November 2016."  In addition, IOS "found it perplexing" that Luiz Loures didn't ask Mr. Sidibé what Mr. Sidibé had discussed with the claimant, "especially given that Dr. Loures had been interviewed as a subject of allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault approximately one month earlier." IOS said the statements by both Mr. Sidibé and Luiz Loures contained “inconsistencies and anomalies.” The UNAIDS press release concludes by stating that the Global Advisory Committee "fully concurred with the findings and recommendations of the independent investigation and recommended" to Mr. Rehnstrom "that he close the case." He did so. We have been reluctant to use the phrase "cover-up" in relation to the Luiz Loures case. But it is becoming harder to avoid the conclusion that the Executive Director of UNAIDS knew the truth about Luiz Loures’ shocking behavior toward a female subordinate. We are beginning to believe that Mr. Sidibé did everything in his power to protect his friend and colleague from the consequences of his actions. The UN internal "justice" system, we have long argued, is dysfunctional and biased."  How then could Guterres says he was declaring "zero tolerance" at his stakeout with pre-picked questions on February 2? Inner City Press first reported about this UN buck-passing on sexual harassment in 2008 (before UN's retaliatory eviction), here: "the International Computing Center, administered by the World Health Organization which has also refused questions. This ICC, it turns out, does not defend those who work for it. One ICC technician, faced with sexual harassment by a high UN official, was told by the UN in New York that nothing could be done, to reach over the Atlantic to the ICC.  There, the answer was that the ICC does not process, or apparently favor, such complaints." We'll have more on this. On February 7, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you yesterday about this clearing of [Deputy Executive Director, Programme] Luiz Loures in UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), and you'd said that the… essentially, the decision was made by, I think you said, OIOS of the World Health Organization. Spokesman:  It's not called OIOS.  It's the Internal Oversight body of the World Health Organization. Inner City Press: Okay.  It's being alleged and it's by Code Blue and as reported in the Guardian that, in fact, the decision… while… they don't say… they call it Internal Oversight Services, the UN's investigation team.  Then they say that the report is reviewed by a three-person panel within the agency.  The panel then presents recommendations to the agency's Executive Director.  And they say that Mr. [Michel] Sibidé [sic], although chall… once challenged by investigators, appointed a subordinate but still called himself the final decision maker and that he was also a witness in the case, i.e., he was interviewed by the investigators apparently seeking to exonerate Mr. Loures and then was the final decision maker.  So, given what the Secretary-General said about zero tolerance, it seems like it's important to get a clear answer whether Mr. Sibidé or his designee made the final decision to clear Mr. Loures. Spokesman:  Well, you'd need to get the details from UNAIDS.  As far as I'm aware, Mr. Sidibé, not “Sibidé”, Mr. Sidibé had recused himself from the process, but any further details, you need to get from UNAIDS. Inner City Press: It's reported publicly that he still maintained his position as the final decision maker and that he appointed the person who would make the decision, which is not really what recusal is about. Spokesman:  Again, you'd need to get the details from UNAIDS about how the process was conducted. Inner City Press:  Is the Secretary-General comfortable… given today's Guardian report about essentially a cover-up of sexual harassment at UNAIDS, is he comfortable with this as the way the UN system deals with such allegations? Spokesman:  I wouldn't agree with your characterization of it as a cover-up. They went through an investigative process." What process? UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment. But his chief of "Global Communications" Alison Smale argued that all UN staff including victims should "speak with one voice" which several staff told Inner City Press they took to mean, Don't make the UN look bad. Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, despite getting cut off (Vine here), UN transcript here and below, longer tweeted video here. Then on January 24, after publishing the UN's troubling finding of "mitigating circumstances" for abuse and payments to abuses, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: The question has to do with not about policy the… the rights of staff to speak but about the UN's actual action on… on cases of harassment.  There's a… there's this document that's circulated to staff about disciplinary actions taken, and I… I saw it yesterday, and I was pretty surprised, because under the rubric of abuse of authority, harassment and discrimination, it says, for example, a staff member performed a sexual act at the workplace in the presence of… of employees.  Mitigating factors included the staff member's long service in mission settings.  And in most… in many of these cases, people are… are… even if they're relieved from service, they're paid compensation.  So, I wanted to know, number one, is there… have… have… the things that are being said now, how seriously the Secretary-General takes… takes such allegations, these were from 2017, and so it seems like there are cases of… there's another case if you want to… harassed an individual… Spokesman:  I can't comment on the specific cases you mentioned… Inner City Press: Right.  It's not a leak.  This is an official disciplinary document. Spokesman:  I'm not saying… I'm not going to comment on specific cases, because I don't have the information in front of me.  There are administrative rules and procedures and an internal justice system here, and we are an organization of rules.  Those rules are followed.  What is important is that everyone understands that there is an environment in which they should feel comfortable and empowered to come forward and report cases of harassment or abuse of power without any fear of retribution.  That's the Secretary-General's focus, to ensure that people feel free to come up.  We are fully aware, like any other organization, that these issues are probably underreported, because people do not feel comfortable in coming forward. Inner City Press:  But in… beyond just coming forward, it seems important what the UN actually does.  So there are unwanted advances… mitigating circumstances, payola to the person… Spokesman:  The case… you know, there… you're using.  You're throwing around terms.  I mean, obviously each case is looked at.  I'm not going to go into the details of each case." But it's not hypothetical. From the UN's transcript: Inner City Press:  I heard there was a call about speaking with one voice on sexual harassment at the UN this morning.  And I wanted to… I guess I wanted to ask you, because some staff members have had a question, this idea of speaking with one voice, does it in any way contradict the idea that staff are free without speaking with the same voice as the rest of the UN, or is UN management to speak to the press, is there…Spokesman:  There's no… it's just to ensure… I think it's important from a communications standpoint that all our colleagues are fully aware of the current state of play of rules and regulations.  I think you're con… I don't know the English word, but you're mixing up the two.  I'll come… I'll come back to you." This while a UN compendium on the discipline it meted out from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, obtained by Inner City Press and put online here, cites "mitigating circumstances" including "long service in mission settings" for harassment, abuse and public sex, and provides those accused with compensation From the UN document: "A staff member sexually harassed an individual, who had worked for an entity external to the Organization and then joined a United Nations agency, by making unwanted advances, sending improper messages of a sexual nature and continuing to attempt to contact the individual. There were mitigating circumstances. Disposition: separation from service, with compensation in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity.... A staff member repeatedly and inappropriately touched the body of another staff member who was working in a subordinate position in the office of the former.
Disposition: a fine of one month’s net base salary and separation from service, with compensation in lieu of notice and without termination indemnity. A staff member performed a sexual act at the workplace in the presence of employees of a contractor, and in a second instance, performed a sexual act in public view. Mitigating factors included the staff member’s long service in mission settings. Disposition: separation from service, with compensation in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity." This (mis) use of mitigating factors hearkens back to the just-previous head of UN Peacekeeping, the fifth of six Frenchmen in a row atop DPKO, saying that peacekeepers committed sexual abuse due to a lack of "R&R," which most in the UN(CA) press corps ignored. On January 12 Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric had no comment at all when Inner City Press asked about the widely reported sexual harassment allegations against the deputy chief of UNESCO, Frank La Rue. When Inner City Press asked a second time on January 17, Dujarric said La Rue is no longer in his position. But what are the UN's policies, now in light of the Guardian's report and UN official Jan Beagle's letter to the editor about it? Inner City Press is informed that on January 23 there was a UN wide conference call on which two contradictory positions were expressed: let staff talk freely to the media, or in the alternative, "speak with one voice," meaning control. Could this be Guterres' "Global Communications" strategy, a continuation of censorship? On January 22, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: as I'm sure you know, Jan Beagle has written to The Guardian about the series about sexual harassment.  And, among other things, she said, unequivocally, the UN staff are free to speak… free to speak to the media, which, if true, is a great thing.  I just wanted to ask you about, there's a UN rule that says that for statements or announcements to the press, permission is required, and I'm aware of a number of cases, but, for example, the case of Emma Reilly in the UN system at the Office of the [United Nations] High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), she was explicitly told that she could not speak to the press.  And I know that because that was explained to me and… so… so can you just… what I want to do, rather than…?  Can you make clear… if, in fact you're announcing that staff can speak freely and will not be retaliated against, this would be the time. Spokesman:  I understand.  Okay.  There are media guidelines in which staff members are told they can speak to the press in their areas of responsibility.  Obviously, I think it's clear that they should tell… they should do it in concert with their supervisors.  There need to be some coherence.  But, I think the larger point is, if a staff member feels they have been wronged, they have not… they have exhausted every avenue, they feel they live in a climate of fear, the press remains an outlet. Inner City Press: I understand, as whistle-blowers, there's all kinds of rules of what… you have to exhaust your ability inside the system before you speak, but that's not what Jan Beagle told The Guardian.  She said staff aren't… aren't prohibited at all, and I want to read you something that… that Emma Reilly… this was quoted to her.  “As a conduct provision, within the UN system, it would not be proper for international civil servants to air personal grievances or criticize their organizations in public.”  And, obviously, the type of harassment we're talking about… Spokesman:  As I said, there are media guidelines, and, obviously as… I'll repeat what I've said.  If people feel they've exhausted every avenue and they need to “blow the whistle” on a situation, the press remains an outlet. Inner City Press:  Right, but if they get retaliated against, can they hold up the letter and…? Spokesman:  We do not want to have… We are working, I think, with great effort in ensuring that we create an atmosphere in which staff members are… feel they can speak up to their supervisors, to other outlets, and report on harassment or retaliation.  That is our focus.  Yes, sir. " Back on January 18, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the article just came out, but it describes some policies that I think you could address.  One policy that it mentions is that some UN agencies have a six-month statute of limitations on complaints.  Is that something the Secretary-General is interested in changing, and another… Spokesman:  I don't know which UN agencies the article is referring to.  What is clear is that the Secretary-General wants to see, across the board, in parts of the UN over which he has no direct-line authority — as you know, some specialized agencies and others, he has no direct authority — but through the Chief Executives Board, he wants a harmonization and he wants effective policies to be put in place to ensure that people feel free and comfortable coming forward. Inner City Press: How about comfortable speaking?  One of the… one of… the article says that… that… that those interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity, quote, partly because they are precluded from talking publicly by UN rules governing staff.  Can you say from this podium that UN staff are free to speak to the press about abuse they suffer within the UN from superiors? Spokesman:  No one is putting a gag order.  I don't… but you know, obviously, those quotes are anonymous quotes.  I can't address them.  But the whole point is to create an atmosphere in which people who have suffered harassment or who are… feel comfortable to come forward and speak and comfortable enough without any fear of retaliation, which would be unacceptable. Inner City Press: And the one last thing, it talks about OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] and… and interviewing the wrong people and bungling investigations.  And I just wondered, since… I think since Ms. [Heidi] Mendoza took over, I haven't seen her have a press conference, and I'm just wondering if… on this issue, if this issue is important enough in order to understand how investigations are done. Spokesman:  Look, we will have people come forward to talk about investigations.  I can't speak for OIOS, but I know… you know, I know as for… they have been investigating these cases, I think, 15 reports in 2016 and about 17… 18 in 2017." So he had those numbers, if-Pressed. Inner City Press asked, if UNESCO's investigation finds the allegations, including that the victim had a mental breakdown, are well founded, should La Rue remain a UN official?
Periscope video here. Dujarric had no comment. Here's video of La Rue answering Inner City Press' questions in October 2016, saying he wants "transparency in UN bodies." Having heard nothing back from Dujarric, despite sending him a link about the La Rue case, on January 17 Inner City Press again asked Dujarric about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you, it was last week about this Frank La Rue complaint or case at UNESCO, and so what is the position, I understand that he's entitled to due process… Spokesman:  "No, I think you may… you may have seen that UNESCO announced that he was relieved of his… of his post.  Whether it's administrative leave, I don't know what the exact term is, but he's no longer in that… in that function.  UNESCO has its own investigative mechanisms, which are fully… fully under way.  And whether it's UNESCO or the Secretariat, there's obviously zero tolerance for… for sexual harassment, and the case will be… will be investigated." We'll have more on that - and this: throughout 2016 New Zealand documentary maker Gaylene Preston and her crew staked out the UN Security Council along with Inner City Press, awaiting the results of the straw polls to elected Ban Ki-moon's sucessor as UN Secretary General. Preston's focus was Helen Clark, the former New Zealand prime minister then in her second term as Administrator of the UN Development Program. Preston would ask Inner City Press after each poll, What about Helen Clark's chances? Suffice it to say Clark never caught fire as a candidate. Inner City Press told Preston, as did many other interviewees in her documentary “My Year with Helen,” that it might be sexism. But it might be power too - including Samantha Power, the US Ambassador who spoke publicly about gender equality and then in secret cast a ballot Discouraging Helen Clark, and praised Antonio Guterres for his energy (yet to be seen). Samantha Power's hypocrisy is called out in Preston's film, in which New Zealand's Ambassador complains that fully four members of the Council claimed to be the single “No Opinion” vote that Clark received. There was a private screening of My Year With Helen on December 4 at NYU's King Juan Carlos Center, attended by a range of UN staff, a New Zealand designer of a website for the country's proposal new flag, and Ban Ki-moon's archivist, among others. After the screening there was a short Q&A session. Inner City Press used that to point out that Guterres has yet to criticize any of the Permanent Five members of the Council who did not block him as the US, France and China blocked Clark, with Russia casting a “No Opinion.” And that Guterres picked a male from among France's three candidates to head UN Peacekeeping which they own, and accepted males from the UK and Russia for “their” top positions. Then over New Zealand wine the talk turned to the new corruption at the UN, which is extensive, and the upcoming dubious Wall Street fundraiser of the UN Correspondents Association, for which some in attendance had been shaken down, as one put it, for $1200.  The UN needed and needs to be shaken up, and hasn't been. But the film is good, and should be screened not in the UN Censorship Alliance but directly in the UN Security Council, on the roll-down movie screen on which failed envoys like Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed are projected. “My Year With Helen” is well worth seeing.


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