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Discrimination and Corruption in UN Alleged to Ban by Whistleblower's Letter

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

UNITED NATIONS, August 4 -- Another UN whistleblower has emerged, alleging system-wide discrimination against Africans and non-English speakers, naming names to show employment and sexual favoritism and advancing the theory that under-representation of Francophone applicants falls on racial lines.

  In a seven-page, single-spaced letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which a half-dozen recipients showed to Inner City Press, a 16-year employee of the UN Peacekeeping denounces what she calls the "Koreanization" of the UN's senior management, and makes 12 recommendation. The first question on many people's mind is what retaliation she may face.

  The letter's first page recounts

"I have worked for some sixteen years with DPKO and its new Department [of Field Support] DFS... I have received instructions... to establish the list of pre-selected candidates favoring the candidacy of whites from countries that are contributors... Several applications are blocked by DPKO / DFS / PMSS very simply because they are candidates who are Latino or African, most of whom are Francophone. The interviews of these candidates are done in English with the simple objective of blocking French-speaking potential candidates. There are many posts that have been vacant for up to two years. These posts require the recruitment of qualified candidates who speak French to serve in Cote d'Ivoire, in Chad and the Central African Republic, in Burundi, in Haiti, etc....

[There is for example the case of a Canadian] truck driver, retired from the Canadian army, recruited by the UN as Chief of Administration to serve in Peacekeeping missions. All the missions where he has worked, he has recruited not only compatriots but also acquaintances, even friends, who had no experience to serve in the missions and who spent their time on the Internet watching pornographic films. This happened in the UN Mission in the DRC and in the International Criminal Court for Rwanda."

  From there she goes on to name a specific official of the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, the chief of personnel, who does not speak French, despite getting the job on that basis. All of the work, she says, is done by the official's administrative assistant. She tips her hat to Lusophones -- speakers of Portuguese -- whom she says also face discrimination. She identifies Office of Legal Affairs recruitment of, she says, a lesser-qualified Indian candidate over an African, Cyrille Momo. 

   She describes how the staff balance in the UN Mission to Chad [and the Central African Republic] is being, in her words, infiltrated by extremists. Her strongest critiques are directed against longtime top officials at DPKO and DFS, whose previous chief Jane Holl Lute is said to be in contention to head either the Peacebuilding Support Office or even the Department of Safety and Security (although Ban on August 4 asked Spain to submit a candidate, watch this space).


  The letter was copied to the new head of DFS, Susana Malcorra, as well as to French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert and Ban's senior advisor Kim Won-soo. She says, "I am not an enemy of the system but a friend. A friend is the one who tells you truths."

  But how will the system respond?

Watch this site. And this --


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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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