At UNESCO, Azoulay Trades Jobs and Human Rights For Uninspiring Reforms, ICP Sources

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At UNESCO, Azoulay Trades Jobs and Human Rights For Uninspiring Reforms, ICP Sources

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive; Vine; Video here, II

UNITED NATIONS, April 18 - The just completed UNESCO Executive Board, the first for new Director General Audrey Azoulay, did not work out well for her, Inner City Press' UNESCO sources say. Azoulay failed to convince the UNESCO member state on the Board that the proposed strategic transformation is a worthwhile undertaking. After the surprisingly adamant opposition of many member states, due to arm-twisting by French President Macron and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the necessary phone calls were made to the recalcitrant capitals so that parts the proposed “reform” is allowed to move ahead even though significantly amended.

As an end result, the reform consists of creating working groups composed of close friends of Azoulay that will reflect upon the future of UNESCO over the next 2 years - which means that only one year will be left for Azoulay to implement as there is no guarantee that she will be re-elected in 2021. Some 2 million dollars will be spent on consultants, first class travel and per diem as if she does business as in the last century when no online and video-conferences could have been organized. The price paid by Azoulay for adopting the mitigated reform is still is extremely high. This was negotiated at the cost of agreeing to close down the human rights related aspects of the Conventions and Recommendations committee of UNESCO. "This is a serious setback for the international community and shows the little interest of the current UNESCO Administration in the core activities of the Organization related to human rights. By accepting the scandalous decision to proceed with the review of the working modalities of the CR, the Director General secured the crucial support for her reform of potentate-led countries like Egypt,” as one of Inner City Press' inside UNESCO sources put it. At UN Headquarters in New York, SG Antonio Guterres and his Global Communicator have purported to transfer Inner City Press' long time work space to Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom, whose essentially retired correspondent Sanaa Youssef rarely comes in and hasn't asked the UN a question in ten years. UNESCO, it goes without saying, has done nothing about censorship right in UN headquarters.

Other issues at stake were also totally rejected by the Board. Proposals made by Azoulay in the framework of the NGO committee of the Board were found very weak and were also turned down by the member states.

The Executive Board sent a number of very clear message to DG Azoulay - the opinion of Member States is prevailing and is therefore superseding the views of the French technocrats in her Cabinet; there is nothing such as free lunch with tax payers money and - above all - that the Director General Azoulay is accountable to Member States and not to the French President Macron, these sources tell Inner City Press - they also say darkly that the wife of the current  French Socialist Party leader has been appointed at UNESCO by Azoulay, together with more than six other French members of the team of the previous President of France François Hollande. Sems UNESCO has become the garage for former Socialist leaders that have no job at present. Sort of like parts of the UN Headquarters. We hope to have more on this. Watch this site. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment, and for retaliation. But he has failed to do anything about retaliation at UNAIDS, and has allowed the scandal at UNESCO to continue after the belated ouster of Frank La Rue. Now Monday April 16  will be a big day for UNESCO Director General Azoulay. The Executive Board will continue examining item 31 of the Agenda of the Board, On the "Strategic Transformation" of UNESCO. Member states are sharply divided between those keen to give Azoulay a free hand and allocate millions for the reform without clear indication of how the taxpayers' funds will be spent (France and European union states mostly) and those asking for accountability (G77). Document hereA question is whether France will get the votes to have this amendment rejected. Sources tell Inner City Press that Audray Azoulay is "mobilizing over the last few days President Macron and the French foreign Ministry Quai d'Orsay in order to lobby, instead of her, with member states of the Executive Board. The independence of the UN and UNESCO is dead. The notion of international civil service is dead. The politicization of the organization is continuing like never before in the interest of one member State - France. The French international agenda is becoming the UNESCO agenda. The French President's appeal to promote French language worldwide was duly incorporated in UNESCO's activities. Same with his pledge for supporting artificial intelligence - immediately imposed in UNESCO by Azoulay  as a top priority. Some international civil servant. The number of of French Socialist Party members currently unemployed that have been appointed in UNESCO since Azoulay's election last November is relentlessly growing.  Running UNESCO as a French ministry is creating damage beyond imagination and provokes strong reactions in many capitals including European capitals." But what will they do on April 16? Watch this site.  Whistleblowers exclusively inform Inner City Press of the alert by the UNESCO Staff Union that was sent last week to all 195 member states of UNESCO showing how the Legal Affairs service and the Human Resource Office (under Ban Ki-moon plant Hong Kwon) are losing most of the cases submitted before the ILO's Tribunal  in Geneva. A review of these cases shows that most cases were lost because of lack of competence of the managers at UNESCO and of the HR Office and the Legal service, but ultimately by the lack control over the contestation process by the Director-General of UNESCO and by her Deputy Director-General. The whistleblowers say this is one of the reasons for re-examining the efficiency of the HR and LA Offices at the session of the Executive Board of UNESCO that is starting today on April 9. During its private meeitng the termination of the contracts of the Directors Human Resources and Legal Affairs will be discussed. Thanks to the exclusive reporting of Inner City Press, the whistleblowers say, the decision to terminate the contract of Rebecca Trott the Ethics Advisor has already been taken and her contract will not be extended. The question is why not terminating the contract immediately after the proved cover up of the case of La Rue. Watch this site.
De : STU Secretariat <>
Date : 04/04/2018 15:59 (GMT+01:00)
À : "Liste.UNESCO-HQ" "Liste.IIEP", "Liste.UNESCO-FIELD" <>
Cc : "Liste.DELEGATIONS", "Liste.ONG"
Objet : STU Flash : The draining of resources continues!
STU/68th Council/18/002
29 March 2018
Dear colleagues,
The International Labor Organization Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) held its 125th session from 23 October to 13 November 2017, whose judgments are now known. In this session alone, 9 cases concerned UNESCO, which was sanctioned… 7 times!
These sanctions are in addition to those, already numerous, which have costed the Organization since 2016 more than € 500,000! These amounts could be better used, on programme implementation or for the benefit of the staff, especially in these times of financial crisis, which have affected the staff. Just think about the amount of training that cannot be funded!
The establishment of a new Administration provides the opportunity to end the practices that have led to this draining of resources.
The last session of the Appeals Board took place from 20 to 23 March 2018, and we urge the Director-General to follow the recommendations that will be made to her. If not, the Organization shall again risk heavy sanctions.
Best regards,
STU Council

On UNAIDS, when Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on March 15 about Michel Sidibé's reported threats of retaliatory investigations against those making and offering support to sexual harassment complaints at UNAIDS, Haq said this is entire a matter for UNAIDS. Earlier Inner City Press story here. On March 29 when Inner City Press audibly asked Guterres, if he had even yet spoken to Sidibe, Guterres did not answer. Vine video here. The unaddressed rot is not only at UNAIDS. Inner City Press has been informed, and now exclusively reports, that there are also sexual exploitation and abuse allegations at the UN Support Office in Somalia in Somalia (UNSOS), whose outgoing director Hubert Price Inner City Press previously questioned about negligent imposition of sewage on Somalis. The UN belatedly confirmed the investigation on April 6, when Inner City Press asked for the second time. Video here; from the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  I had another question about the UNSOS.  I had asked you about a… a sexual exploitation investigation by OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] that I've heard is taking place there, against a D1.  I know the name of the individual, but I just… I've been wanting you to respond, given how seriously this is being taken in the UN, will you confirm or deny this OIOS investigation?

Spokesman:  My understanding that allegations were indeed reported to the UN Support Office in Somalia November of 2017 and subsequently posted on the conduct and discipline website.  The Support Office is currently reviewing the allegations of exploitative relationship, which involves an international civilian in view of collecting sufficient information to conduct an investigation if warranted.

Inner City Press: And I just want to confirm… if you could confirm that the alleged victim here is themselves a UN…?

Spokesman:  No, I'm not able to do that." Why not?
The allegation is of paying for sex, against the senior level of UNSOS just below Price's now Amadu Kamara's post. It's what Inner City Press called "blue on blue," a terms like so many difavored by today's UN in denial. On April 2, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I tried to ask the Secretary-General, I guess it was on Thursday, about allegations that UNAIDS have retaliation by staff.  And, since then, as you may know, the victim or stated…  self-described victim of Luiz Loures, Martina Brostrom, has appeared on CNN International and described in great detail both what she says happened and…  and the very flawed investigation.

So, I wanted to know, presumably, even in Lisbon, this is…  CNN International is available.  What does the Secretary-General — who so far, at least to my knowledge, has said it's entirely up to UNAIDS — what does he think of this person coming forward?

  But Dujarric for four days never responded with any answer. In fact, he had one, but apparently hoped either that Inner City Press would not ask again, or that he could again throw Inner City Press out. But on April 6 Inner City Press asked, saying it knows the name of the alleged perpetrator (it does), and then Dujarric confirmed that an investigation has been ongoing since November. But it's now April. Dujarric declined to confirm that both sides in the allegations are UN personnel: blue on blue. There are also allegations of theft of fuel and fraud in rations - we'll have more on this.

Present on March 29, before Guterres' unannounced four day junket to Lisbon, was Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale, who orders UN staff to "speak with one voice" - hers - on allegations of sexual harassment. She has continued to restrict Inner City Press, declining for months to even answer what the rules are. Inner City Press has been receiving detailed complaints about mismanagement and harassment in UNAIDS, but the UN refuses to answer. So below are some more of the complaints. Tellingly, the day after Guterres refused Inner City Press' question about UNAIDS, here are Loures' victims speaking publicly, in their own names:  Martina Brostrom, a policy advisor at UNAIDS, said of Loures at a conference in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015: "I was pleading with him, and I was just bracing with all that I could just to not leave the elevator."  Guterres? No answer - and no action. Where is Guterres on this? Where is Guterres? Malayah Harper, who used to run UNAIDS' programs in Uganda and Kenya, on Loures a year earlier, also at a hotel: "He got into the lift with me, and then kind of lunged forward to -- you could call it -- kiss me, but I thought a kiss had to be consensual." We'll have more on this, and on retaliation. Some more of the complaints exclusively published by Inner City Press: "Michel Sidibé has established this 'boys club' culture where qualified women are made to feel less worthy, are openly ridiculed by male colleagues except those women who are providing favors to him and his 'boys,' he continues to give perks to his boys who serve as his connectors to presidents, prime ministers etc by appointing them to important positions as well as even when they retired bridging them back on special assignments for them to make easy money. People such as Fritz Lherisson, Georges Shaw and more recently Abdoul Dieng." There are the Mali connections, beyond what Inner City Press reported about Burundi on March 23, here: "Ben Wahab - A Malian recently appointed as UNAIDS Country Director for Burundi with no country level and no management experience. He came in as a P4 Adviser and very quickly in 3 years he rose to his present position of UNAIDS Country Director.... Theresa Poirier, a Malian Canadian,  UNAIDS Country Director for Malawi .Also a relatively new comer to UNAIDS appointed by Michel as Director in Mali and now serving in Malawi as UNAIDS Country Director... Fode Simanga a Malian serving as senior adviser in Geneva but graded at Director level... Dado SY Kagnsssy a Malian before UNAIDS Country Director for Djibouti, very little experience,non articulative  and a fairly new comer to UNAIDS who was appointed to this position whilst many longer serving staff members are over looked and now posted to Guinea as UNAIDS Country Director.. Amakonde Sande (moved from consultant to P4 in short order to  P5 as UNAIDS Country Director in Malawi and then sent to Uganda  a D1 position where she stayed only for 3 months only to be appointed to China as UNAIDS Country Director... Bridgitte Quenum recently appointed as UNAIDS Country Director but she has no leadership, management experience and was appointed over other more senior  persons. It is reputed that her family is/was a great friend of Michel Sidibe and that is how she entered UNAIDS and now gained this distinguished position." But note - not only has Antonio Guterres bragged recently that now at the UN "we have some Portuguese things" - he also has his own hiring and traveling patterns.

As to UNAIDS and Sidibe, there is talk of mining business; there are harassment complaints and findings that Sidibé refuses to act on.  Of Girmay Haile, the current UNAIDS country director in Zimbabwe, whistleblowers tell Inner City Press that a recent internal investigation came unanimously to the conclusion of severe bullying and intimidation just two weeks ago - but Sidibé has refused to move him. This followed a previous investigation against Girmay Haile Girmay HaileGirmay HaileGirmay Hailein Kenya; Sidibe refused the recommendation of the internal team and promoted him to country director Ghana. Girmay Haile has reportedly said he knows too much and if he falls they all fall. We shall see.

  Back on March 15 when Inner City Press asked about the UN Secretariat's own investigation of whistleblowers, for the second day in a row, Haq again defended it, as somehow benefiting member states. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I'm sure you've seen the article in The Guardian quoting Michel Sibidé [sic] of UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS].  What I wanted to ask you is, he seems to be attacking those who came forward in the sexual harassment case against Luiz Loures.  He's attacked them.  He's said that Loures is a… is… made a courageous decision.  And, of his detractors, he says, we know these people are taking their golden shan… handshakes from us here and knowing they have a job and then attacking us.  We know all about that.  We know every single thing.  Time will come for everything.  When I hear anything about abuse of our assets, I ask for an investigation.  Maybe these investigations are going on.  And so, many staff and many people in the… in the “#MeToo” movement see this as a direct threat against those who came forward.  And I wonder, what does António Guterres… who I'm… I… I would assume is a reader of The Guardian, what does he think of these comments?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of this article.  Obviously, it's for UNAIDS and Mr.  Sidibé to explain what the comments attributed to him are. 

At UNESCO in Paris there are cover-ups and retaliation in the wake of the two-step firing of Assistant Director General Frank La Rue for sexual harassment.

But when Inner City Press on March 20 asked Guy Berger, the grandly titled Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, if he thought reporting on l'affaire La Rue, which has included Inner City Press' exclusive report that after his suspension he was still getting paid and now questions about UNESCO Ethics Adviser Rebecca Trott, Berger said he was unaware of the specifics of the case and to ask UNESCO's press officer.

  Since Inner City Press published the video of the Q&A, it has heard from UNESCO staff in New York that Berger "lied - he was among the best friends of La Rue, defended him at every turn, while also trying to take his job." This is how the UN works - work with collaborators like Berger's former student, to cover up abuse, while seeking mutual advancement. It is disgusting. So too on Rebecca Trott, UNESCO's "Ethics" adviser. As question mount about cover up, it will be interesting to know who is still protecting her within the organization. We'll have more on this.

Likewise, after Berger has spoken and joked with a former student (given the first question) about the importance of independent media and even holding power in check, when Inner City Press asked about the UN's FAO and WIPO going after the press, he said he was unaware but implied it might be justified.

When Inner City Press asked about the UN Department of Public Information's continuing lack of content neutral media access rules, despite Inner City Press' repeated requests to DPI boss Alison Smale, both his student and the UN moderate looked surprised, as if they didn't understand.

OK: Inner City Press was evicted from its UN work space for pursuing the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case in the UN Press Briefing Room - an event of the group headed by Berger's student - and has been a non-resident correspondent requiring DPI “minders” to cover the UN General Assembly and its President. Meanwhile its office was given to a no-show Egyptian state media, Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, who has not ask the UN a question in ten years.

Media that rarely come in and ask anything have arrived since Inner City Press' eviction and have been given UN office space. Inner City Press has been told it is not even on the list, and Smale has not answer a single email. No rules. We'll have more on this (charade) - and on UNESCO. Watch this site.


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