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UN Raided ICP After Leaks, Here Are More, No Confidence in Ban Ki-moon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 -- At the UN as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon prepared to confer on March 19 with those UN staff who will meet with him, after he called them all “selfish,” a formal protest to the meeting was filed by an elected UN Staff Union rep, of a union that the UN is trying to eliminate the jobs of.

  Inner City Press, whose UN office was raided on Monday, video here, records searched and photographs taken including by UN Correspondents Association president Pamela Falk of CBS, obtained the e-mail and publishes it below.

  Inner City Press also obtained an advance copy of the speech of the president of those staff who WILL meet with Ban on March 19, despite the vote of “No Confidence” after Ban told Inner City Press that his opponents areselfish.”

   Meanwhile, those who want to meet with Ban complained March 15 of Inner City Press' publication of a leak of their e-mail about staff members after Hurricane Sandy forced to work surrounded by rotting paper, with only dust masks. This was opposed by other UN staff.

   So alongside the UN Censorship Alliance a/k/a UNCA, the French Mission which called Inner City Press' publication of leaks “a hostile act,” its fourth head of Peacekeeping in a row, Herve Ladsous, CBS, Reuters and AFP - who was behind the raid? Here's the UN e-mails:

To: Ban Ki-moon, Susana Malcorra et al
From: Alex Smith Staff Representative, Unit 5
Date: 18/03/2013 05:42 PM
Subject: Meeting of the Staff Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Pursuant to the resolution GM/44/02 adopted by the staff-at-large at the Emergency General Meeting on 24 January 2013, against a backdrop of detrimental actions taken against the staff by senior administration officials, and the derogatory statement by the Secretary-General that the staff in New York are "selfish", the staff representatives of Unit 5 will not attend the Staff Council meeting with the very official in whom the staff have declared a vote of no confidence.

There could be no issue of greater importance for the Staff Union, and particularly the Staff Council, than that we (staff representatives) should concede to will of the staff and abide by the Statute and Regulations of the United Nations Staff Union. The Statute and Regulations of the United Nations Staff Union are clear on the role of the Staff Council, vide Statutes 4.2, 7.1, 7.4 and 14.1 -14.3. Statute 14.3 is particularly poignant: The overall and operational policies shall be binding on the whole Union.

Should the Council meet with the Secretary-General, it will be a clear contempt of the decisions of the referenced Emergency General Meeting, which may invoke disciplinary procedure in accordance with Statute 15 and Regulation 8.3.1.

Should the Staff Council be in doubt as to the proper action in this matter, I suggest that it seeks the Arbitration Committee's interpretation of the Statute and Regulations of the United Nations Staff Union, in accordance with Statute 17.2, before it can meet with the Secretary-General.

Here was the complaining e-mail of those who WILL meet with Ban, followed by another Staff Union response:

Subject: Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations - another email leak
From: Barbara Tavora-Jainchill/NY/UNO
To: [Many]
Date: 15/03/2013 12:17 PM

And a Staff Union response:

Subject: Re: Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations - another email leak

Disturbing news indeed, more so in the context in which you communicate it to us.

Considering I was in 3B, work in FMS, and provided dozens of masks, gloves, goggles, and as much protective equipment as I could take without getting in trouble (and I got quite sick), I'm surprised I wasn't properly deposed on the record. As SR for most of the staff affected in 3B, working in 3B at the time (and for 20+ years) none of the reporting by I don't know whom was forwarded to me (surprise!)- once again, no e-mails, no fact finding, no inclusion in the process- this was purposely done, as I am stonewalled at every juncture by the Presidency, the Administration, and staff opposed to my direct, timely, and proper ways.

Ms. Beldo's involvement is post facto (after the storm), and her work has been tremendous and valuable, though it doesn't provide a full scope of what actually happened, and the figures I have seen seem inflated and erroneous (The work Ms. Beldo required the administration to do was done at the lowest levels, by us, completing the vicious circle).

We have an Doctor in the presidency, expert in these matters, on full time release- he could not have possibly chaired this group? What are the professional standards this Presidency adheres to, especially in matters within their purview? I'd like to see this manual! it's very hard to figure out how you come to decisions, and how informed these decisions are, absent any documentary evidence.

Our Medical services are so poor, I question their role in our affairs. You go to Medical, they don't really take care of you. They have provided little in the way of support.

I would like to be deposed and include my findings and work in this narrative. I'm not sure this should be discussed at the SG's meeting, especially not without proper reporting, communication, analysis, and discussions within and by the council, duly recorded, of course.

My humble analysis, based on facts and not hearsay, as follows-

Since only the President, the EB of UNSU, and the recipients of this e-mail were given this communication, it's easy to infer that:

1. You're the leak.

2. A member of the EB is the leak; or

3.One of the recipients of this e-mail is the leak.

I think the council deserves an apology, since you suggested leaks come from council members, yet you would not reveal whom you think it was- no evidence was given by you to support your wild allegations. How rude of you to imply it's a council member, when we aren't privy to these communications, and you KNOW this. Or maybe I'm just rude for pointing it out, as you've suggested to me in your non communications.

The EB is so above reproach, as are you, that I'm certain none of you are culpable (Or am I? Degrees of certainty in this 44th UNSC are hard to predict, just as I posited in March of 2012, on the record).

You have provided no analysis, no opinions, no solutions, yet continue adding wood to the fire. A proposed solution on your part would be very helpful, so no one feels like you're unduly exercising your powers. A lack of proper reporting, relevant documentation and timely work has been a pervasive element of your administration, and you seem to interpret the rules to your own personal whims. (Re: overview of legal service invoices, and your narrow interpretations of the ToR).

Please clarify what exactly is the purpose of this link for the rest of the council, and why you don't feel the need for proper communication is necessary. Unless of course, you consider this link a proper form of communication on your part. And you do, to our detriment.

I find this general lack of professionalism on your part quite detrimental to the UN and the rest of the council, and the staff at large. By all means, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm really good at proving my points. And I'm even better at correcting my mistakes. But, on the record.

Thank God your term limits are up- you've been quite a poor leader, this happening at so many levels it's scary. I'm looking forward to a Presidency and 45th Staff Council that provides outcomes, solutions, forward movement, increased effectiveness, transparency, adherence to professional standards, direction.....let me not go on my list is really long, and your term is almost up. It's time for you and the rest of your excellent, hard working team to be out, since nothing has been accomplished that I can actually go back to my constituents with, that would point to positive outcomes during our "reign". This is the vile I get from my constituents, and I have little to defend. It's embarrassing.

UNSU is becoming more and more the laughing-stock of the world, and our inability to reinforce our image in a positive light will make our work in the future that much harder.

I'm hoping you will do everything in your power to make sure the elections are held ON TIME. Last thing I need right now is for you to stay in power any longer, given our shoddy track record and lack of concrete accomplishments.

I will not bring this to the council floor, to waste time debating inferences and assumptions. We have work to do at our meetings.

Next: advance copy of what Ban Ki-moon will be told on March 19:

Mr. Secretary-General,

Thank you for having us. I have the honor to introduce to you the new Chairperson of the Council, Mr. William Bly. Mr. Bly will say a few words.

Sir, it is very unfortunate that we are here today not long after the Emergency General Meeting passed a vote of no confidence on you and your Administration. In this regard, we would like to reiterate what we told the Chef de Cabinet: the vote of no confidence is directly related to comments you made during a press briefing regarding staff members in New York and the Union that represents them. To be more precise, the vote of no confidence happened the day after those comments were made. The “selfish” comments, as we call them, were very badly received by staff; as far as the Union goes, we consider those comments very offensive but an expected consequence of the lack of respect and consideration staff members and staff related issues are being dealt with by the Administration. We are here today hoping that we can turn this unfortunate page and start anew.

There are many issues we would like to address with you but, due to time limitations, we will focus on just a few. The first is staff-management relations.

There seems to be resistance from the Administration in holding full consultations with staff representatives. At first, we were told that Town Halls were a form of consultation; then it was established this was not the case, but still Executive Offices were instructed by the Chief of Staff of the USG/DM that the consultations should be limited to forwarding a sheet of paper with a few questions and answers; recently we discovered that, even though an e-mail was sent by us to all Heads of Departments and Offices providing ways and means of holding consultations even in the absence of elected staff representatives, at least one administrative unit did not share any proposal with the Union and considered the Town Hall held with staff as consultation.

Our question is: how can we have full, good faith staff-management relations if the Administration keeps on avoiding implementing or creating hurdles to implement the basic legislation of this Organization, i.e., Secretary-General’s Bulletins, Administrative Instructions, Information Circulars? The respect for the rule of law starts of home, Sir.

The other issue we would like to bring to your attention is the budget cuts that the Administration has been volunteering to Member States for a while and that may have resulted in Member States recent directive to cut additionally USD 100,000,000.00 from the biennium 2014-2015 budget. We anticipate dire consequences from all the cuts, those proposed by the Administration and the one imposed by Member States, not only in terms of loss of posts and non posts resources but also in our conditions of service.

In this regard, in view of the violence being suffered by staff members all over the world, we would like to ask you the following: how does your Administration propose to ensure the safety and security of staff members given all those budget cuts, including those proposed by your Administration?

Finally, we would like to raise the issue of the UN internal justice system. Recent judgments have been very harsh with the Administration and its lawyers. Moreover, they call for accountabilit of actions taken by high Administration officials. However, we do not see this accountability to happen, on the contrary; it seems to us that processes are delayed and appealed until the manager in question leaves the organization.

On this issue, we would like to know how our organization can realistically expect to spread the word of justice around the world while internally the Administration seems to ignore and disregard decisions at UN courts when those find against managers.

Mr. Secretary-General, one more time we are here to stand our hand to you, to your Administration. We want to be part of the solution. But for this to work, we cannot meet once every 18 months, our contact has to be constant. Therefore we ask you that this is one of many frequent meetings we will have with you, ideally every three months. Finally, we are aware that the Administration is holding important internal discussions on issues such as downsizing, but we are not invited to those meetings. For our relationship to reach the good levels we wish, we have to be present on all discussions that have bearing to staff members’ conditions of service. Thank you.

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