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Dozens of COVID-19 Cases Among UNESCO Staff Covered Up by DG Azoulay Like SG Guterres

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UN GATE, March 24 –  On February 29 Inner City Press exclusively published an internal UNESCO email leaked to it about the agency's contact with the Coronavirus COVID-19 and its cover up.

    Today, we learn from sources close to the Medical service of UNESCO, that some 35 cases have been reported to the Chief of the Medical service, Dr Cordier, over the last ten days. No internal release of information whatsoever though, since Dr Cordier got last week the imperative instruction from the Cabinet of the French Director general Audrey Azoulay not to divulge any information on that issue and to skip notifying and updating staff members who could have been contaminated by their infected colleagues in order to avoid panic and complaints against the administration for managing so poorly the crisis and for failing to protect the staff.

After the initial announcement that five of its staff may have been contaminated by COVID-19 because of negligence by the French Director General Audrey Azoulay, only one internal message had been sent to the staff on 17 March, see below.

   Such scandalous lack of transparency in the current dramatic situation, is a crime towards all staff and their families, said one high official to Inner City Press. “We hope member states’ representatives who are directly concerned by this shameful fiasco of Audrey Azoulay will finally wake up and decide to step in by placing her under a form of trusteeship and thus extending their control over her hopeless administration”. 

The COVID-19 crisis hit the corrupted UNESCO totally unprepared. The proven incompetence of the senior management team is putting at risk the lives of thousands of staff members but also affects those of permanent representatives of member states to UNESCO.  After remaining dumb-mute for months, despite that the French authorities decided to strengthen the procedures for locking down the population, the French DG Azoulay still remains silent and absent from her duties and constitutional responsibilities.  

 For weeks, DG Azoulay was trying to downplay coronavirus risks. But not informing about the recent cases of infection neither the staff, nor the member states who have possibly been in contact with those infected is a totally new level of the usual outrageous “I-couldn’t-care-lessness” attitude of the French DG.

 “Not only Audrey Azoulay totally abdicated her constitutional responsibilities, but this attitude towards her colleagues is unprecedently disgraceful and she must be held fully accountable for it” added our contact in the Medical service. “All radical decisions for countering the Azoulay-virus at UNESCO are in the hands of the member states.”  

  In reality, for how long more will member states representatives unquestioningly swallow all that, despite the huge risks even for them, remains to be verified.  Since the very outset, the Cabinet of DG Azoulay did clearly not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously. Instead of preparing the institution for it, nasty jokes were made at internal meetings by ADG/ADM Nicholas Jeffreys and Director Cabinet Kacyanides about the coronavirus being a “great opportunity for getting rid once and for all of ambassadors criticizing the French DG Azoulay and of staff protesting against their current working conditions…”.  

 This is where UNESCO stands today, a Zombie land propitious to the flourishing of abuse of power and nepotism dangerously detrimental to staff members and to their families.  Watch this site.

The March 17 email:

From: UNESCO Alert  Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 8:41 AM To: Liste.UNESCO Subject: COVID- 19: MISE A JOUR 17 MARS/UPDATE 17 MARCH    CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES UPDATE ON 17 MARCH 2020  Dear colleagues,  As part of the measures for mitigating the risk of COVID-19, the Director-General has decided to step up precautionary measures at the UNESCO Secretariat by requesting all staff to telework until further notice. Colleagues in the field are to follow the instructions of the Host country that are communicated by their respective UN country teams/Resident Coordinators.  Only staff members, whose presence is considered necessary by their ADG or Director, will be authorized to access their office. This includes staff responsible for key functions such as security and the implementation of the COVID-19 crisis response. The catering services at Miollis and Fontenoy will be closed.  The remaining public spaces that have been open for the past few days are now closed.  Visitor badges will no longer be issued. The security service will ensure that this is strictly adhered to.  All March/April meetings are postponed/cancelled, except for meetings between staff members whose presence in the Secretariat is deemed essential. In this case, precautionary  measures (in particular distance between people) must be respected. Other exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  We also wish to remind staff members that, in accordance with the instructions given by HRM, you should record telework in TULIP under “Absence from office for sanitary reasons” until 3 April and indicate in the comment box ‘telework’. The guidelines for telework are attached and we count on you to respect them.  All measures apply to the Fontenoy and Miollis/Bonvin sites. ..  Thank you for your attention,  Nicholas Jeffreys ADG/ADM


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