Friday, July 15, 2016

In Ban Ki-moon's Musical Chairs, His UNwanted Staff Can Take Any Job, Anywhere Without Any Public Process

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 -- Entering the last six months of Ban Ki-moon's second term as UN Secretary General, not only Ban has his eye on future jobs (South Korea presidency) and paydays.

Beyond the Andrew Gilmour move on June 24, in the July 15 UN Journal Ban quietly gave himself "the authority to laterally transfer staff members of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations, including to any vacant position in any organizational unit or duty station with or without advertisement of the job opening or further review by a central review body."

This is lawless, anologized by one wag to a refugee resettlement program for Ban's staff who would otherwise become homeless once a new SG clears house and handpicks new staff. But Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric might, it seems, call reporting on it "stalking."Video here. Where might Dujarric show up, without competition?

On June 24 when Ban's office announced a promotion for Andrew Gilmour of the United Kingdom to Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York, there were near-immediate grumbling from the developing countries int the Group of 77.

  Several who contacted Inner City Press asked, Why was there no open recruitment process? Why did Ban, having “already picked an Australian in Geneva [Kate Gilmore] now choose a Brit in New York?”

   Others said there is an attempt to move people to new jobs so that when the next Secretary General comes in, the argument can be made that they haven't enough time, leave them in place. On June 27, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN Transcript: 

Inner City Press: And you'd mentioned this, that Mr. [Ivan] Šimonovic will be replaced by Andrew Gilmour.  Since then, I've heard from a number… I guess I want to just to ask factually, what was the recruitment pol… pr … was a call put out for an ASG (Assistant Secretary-General) post?  Because people in G-77 (Group of 77) are saying there was no call, and there's… there's some… some pushback to it.  And also some people that work in the human rights at D2 and other levels are saying they couldn't apply.  Isn't it the norm for an ASG post to write a letter to Member States and saying send in names or do interviews?  Was that done or not done?

Deputy Spokesman:  As far as I'm aware, the standard process for filling that post was followed as with all senior posts.

Inner City Press:  Can… I mean, I guess… can you check on that?  Because maybe these people are ill-informed, but they seem to think that didn't take place.

Deputy Spokesman:  As… like I said, I mean, as far as I'm apprised of the process, it was filled in the standard way of previous posts, with a short list of candidates and interviews and so forth.

Inner City Press:  But is it the norm to inform Member States that an ASG post is becoming empty and for them to write in if they have a candidate?

Deputy Spokesman:  Ultimately, things depend on the level, but I believe that all the appropriate policies for that post were filled.

  Countries, too, have their strategy. Several sources tell Inner City Press that Herve Ladsous might have to leave before the end of Ban's term -- good -- but not as accountability for peacekeeper rapes and justifying them, nor more recently for the failures at Malakal in South Sudan.

  No, the idea is that if France wants to hold on to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, it will be better with a recently appointed USG in place than Ladsous and his stench. There was talk of the Obama administration wanting Peacekeeping, now the talk has turned to the Department of Management. We'll have more on this.

As to Ban himself, when he wrapped up his five day campaign trip in South Korea with a three-question "press conference" at the UN's DPI-NGO conference, he criticized "coverage of what was supposed to be off-the-record meeting with the Kwanhoon Club" of political correspondents.

Even during Ban's long visit to South Korea, Inner City Press in New York where it has been evicted from its long time shared UN office and confined to minders, told not to question diplomats asked the UN why no transcript was provided of Ban's session with the Kwanhoon Club. It asked again on June 10, the day after Ban himself called such questions "undue."

On June 16, as Inner City Press continued to ask Ban's spokesman Dujarric about Ban's role in retaliation - and Dujarric refused to answer - it was told by other sources that the South Korean mission has come out defending its role in promoting meetings for Ban with South Korea political figures, defending its travel with Ban and specifically denying the Mission wrote speeches for Ban.