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Humiliation of Arab Group in UN & UNESCO by DG Azoulay Mirrors UNaccountable SG

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, June 17 – Electoral rhythms at UNESCO go more rapidly than rock’n roll. The new campaign burying down the Azoulay regime will start in less than 24 months. Will Arabs have a chance to get the DG position? Not a single one with the current political situation and the obnoxious bowing policy of the Arab group at UNESCO towards the French DG Azoulay. The abdication of the Arab group from its responsibilities as a group of serious and respected member states, opens the way for another group to get it in two years. 

Four years ago, it was widely believed that this time it was the Arab region's turn to lead UNESCO. Therefore, the candidacy of the Frenchwoman Audrey Azoulay, presented by the former socialist president of France, François Hollande, came as a great surprise and was strongly contested by Arab diplomatic representations. Her candidacy was seen as an insult to the Arabs who had campaigned for years to be in charge of UNESCO in 2017.  The situation nowadays is much less favorable than in 2017.

Indeed, the year 2020 for the Arab world was catastrophic for many countries, and 2021 will certainly not be much better. Regional conflicts and economic problems, exacerbated by COVID-19, have created a disaster from which a number of countries are finding it difficult to recover.  Lebanon underwent the region's most serious crisis in 2020 after an explosion at Beirut port ravaged most of the capital, killing several hundred people and hitting an economy already facing the collapse of its currency with an added disaster.

Last year was a disaster of a year for many other Arab countries, with the situation was compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The economies of countries like Syria and Yemen, in addition to Lebanon, have nearly imploded while a general economic crisis affects other states like Tunisia, Libya and Iraq.  Civil war and conflicts now affect at least four regional Arab states: Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. The conflicts in Yemen and Syria appear intractable while conflicts in Libya and Iraq sputter intermittently as outside actors get involved in their internal crises. Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country which has been in the midst of a perpetual humanitarian disaster for years but the situation is expected to get even worse.

Morocco and Algeria fiercely fight over Western Sahara and Egypt and Sudan are entangled in the conflict with Ethiopia over the Grand Renaissance gravity dam on the Blue Nile River. 

So, will the Arabs ever unite to get the top spot at UNESCO? It is very unlikely. With the French administration's efforts to re-engage with the U.S. and Israel, the Arabs will once again be left in the antechamber, analyzing their continued failure to secure the highest position at UNESCO.

UNHQ sources say, it's like the way Antonio Guterres treats the African Group - and Africans.

 Inner City Press received a copy of the letter signed by on behalf of the Arab Group in which the ambassadors request among many other things the French DG of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay “to join UNESCO’s voice to other international bodies who condemned the ongoing violations in East Jerusalem”. The two-page letter is available on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.

 Hard to believe, but the humiliation of the Arab Group has reached new levels with Azoulay not even bothering to respond. Neither the Palestinian ambassador nor the other ambassadors insisted on a response according to the usual diplomatic rules, nor protested the lack of consideration for their regional group.  Same case exactly of non-responsiveness by Azoulay to the letter sent by Mr Azar, Secretary General of the Private educational institutions in Lebanon, who is deeply concerned about the situation and rightly expects support from the UN Agency in charge of education. However, what Mr. Azar does not know, unfortunately for him and for all other educators around the world, is that UNESCO has completely lost its role and its mandate, and that, in the main field of education, UNESCO has left the initiative of developing major educational projects and materials to other agencies.

The current low profile of Azoulay and her team plunges the education sector of UNESCO, led by Italy's Stefania Giannini, into the depths of despair in this regard. Thus, in 2020, the World Bank, UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme have all separately done much more than UNESCO and its partners. The letter of Mr Azar is available on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.

One final example of the way DG Azoyulay is ignoring the requests of the Arab group. At the last session of the executive board, Arab states requested that UNESCO’s representatives in their countries should be fluent in Arabic and, if possible, representing the region. As a sneering response to this request, Azoulay appointed shortly after a Korean national at the UNESCO office in Amman. Available on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.

 Moreover, last February, we alerted about the situation at the UNESCO Rabat office. The UNESCO Director for Morocco and representative for the Maghreb, the Lebanese Golda el-Khoury, was found fault with her management and consequently dismissed from her post of Director of the Rabat UNESCO office after inappropriate remarks towards the Moroccan members of her staff.  Moroccan employees lodged an internal complaint, accusing Golda el-Khoury of having created a "hostile" working environment. She went so far as to compare her office to a "zoo" insinuating that most of the employees were “animals”.

This insult sparked a revolt against her, including from the international staff, who expressed their solidarity with their Moroccan colleagues.   Four months later, Golda el-Khoury is still working for UNESCO, no disciplinary sanctions yet, with alleged protections from the ADG in charge of the field offices, Firmin Matoko, a high representative of the corrupted and fraudulent administration of Audrey Azoulay. Firmin Matoko, supported Golda throughout the investigation launched against her by IOS, obviously anxious that she could reveal the corrupted schemes orchestrated by Matoko and his accomplices in a number of field offices.   The Moroccan ambassador Samir Addahre, is buying with no objection the argumentation by Firmin Matoko that "they have no one else but Schischlik willing to go to Morocco"...

 So, Mr Addahre will be again supporting DG Azoulay every time when it is needed despite all humiliating maneuverings against the Arab Group. Actually, the humiliations are accepted with appreciation by the usual sycophants the ambassadors of Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and more recently of Egypt, UNESCO sources say.

 This is where UNESCO stands today, a UN agency ravaged by greed and financial misappropriations, propitious to the flourishing of abuse of power, corruption and nepotism. Watch this site.


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