Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ban Ki-moon's Firing Of Union Leader Slammed, Inner City Press Asks If Ban Will Appeal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, October 11 -- As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has engaged in nepotism, broken the UN Staff Union while now attempting to hijack "Staff Day" - and recently lost an internal UN justice system case, Emad Hassinin v. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, see below.
In that case, UN Dispute Tribunal Judge Ebrahim-Carstens found among other things that 
"in addition to the Organization’s failure to fully apply staff rule 13.1 to the Applicant as a permanent staff member, the Organization also failed to give proper consideration to his status as a newly elected Vice President of the Staff Union. Had that factor been properly considered, in all likelihood the Organization would have reached the conclusion that the Applicant’s appointment could not be terminated as a result of his staff representative status under the relevant legal instruments."
 In most places, this is called retaliation - like when Ban Ki-moon and his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press ousted then evicted from the UN as it covered the ongoing corruption scandals.
On October 11, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the decision. UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about a decision of the UN Dispute Tribunal.  It came out on Friday.  It’s Hassanin vs. Secretary-General, and it involves a… I guess a form… what I’m asking about is many cases, but this is a case in which the judge… the UN judge found that the Organization should have considered that the person that they fired and took the job from was a, quote, newly elected vice-president of the staff union.  Had that factor been properly considered, in all likelihood, the organization would have reached the conclusion that the applicant’s appointment could not be terminated as a result of his staff representative status.  So it’s being seen by people as… as confirming that basically there was retaliation against the staff union, which is now, obviously, in disarray.  So I wanted to know, does the Secretary-General intend to appeal this case?  And what’s your response to this finding by a long-time Dispute Tribunal judge that basically there was retaliation for labour organizing?

Spokesman:  I don’t know whether the case will be appealed.  It’s not something I’m briefed on.  And, obviously, there’s a judicial process.  It will be followed.  People have a dispute.  They go to the Tribunal.  The Tribunal issues its ruling.  I have no comment to make on the Tribunal’s decision.
  The goal of this retaliation and censorship appears to be to promote Ban Ki-moon himself, as he prepares to run for President of South Korea. Ban's vanity press book, which was taken offline after Inner City Press reviewed just how self-serving it was, will be "released" on October 25: "Staff Day."
Here is the UN's pitch, followed by a staff review-in-advance:
"United Nations Staff Day is less than three weeks away! The Secretary-General has dedicated 25 October 2016 as UN Staff Day at all duty stations and field missions.  Calling all Staff at Headquarters! Do you have a talent like singing, dancing, performing?! UN Staff Day Event, Remarks from the SG"
Staff review: No Secretary General has ever hosted Staff Day: it's a Union function. This is total co-opting for the purpose of propaganda; it has to do with the SG's post-UN plans. At any rate, in addition to his tally of active, intentional staff-adverse decisions, this is the height of hypocrisy against the backdrop of his "selfish" staff comment a few years ago -- which he never took back or massaged, even when given opportunities to do so. 
Inner City Press covered Ban's "selfish-gate" -- and then got eviction, and is now restricted to Ban's minders.
 In late August Ban awarded the top UN job in Kenya to his own son in law, Siddharth Chatterjee, and did not even recuse himself.
  On September 27, Inner City Press directly asked Chatterjee about it, on Periscope. here. Vine here. Chatterjee hardly answered the long-standing questions; nor did Ban's spokesman. Neither set up the requested interview.
 Inner City Press was informed by whistleblowing UN staff that Ban is now attempting, contrary even to a new feather-bedding rule his issued to place his staff wherever they want in the UN system, to place his longtime personal / appointments secretary Eun Ha (Isabelle) Kim as a P-3 Professional in the UN Office of Protocol. 
  Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 29 said he has "no idea" about such a position, while accusing Inner City Press of dragging people -- Kim? Or Mr Ban?" - through the mud.  Perhaps having tried to control he'd like to write the questions.
On September 28, the UN staff union wrote to Ban:
"Thursday 28 September 2016

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

When you established the revised framework for the Staff-Management Committee, you agreed to share your draft reports with staff unions for consultation before finalizing them to send to the General Assembly for its approval. This is stated in the administrative instruction signed by the Under Secretary-General of Management, Yukio Takasu. It was designed to enable staff unions to ensure that the reports faithfully reflect agreements reached at the Staff-Management Committee.

We reminded the Department of Management of this agreement this summer. Since then, we have been waiting for your draft report. To our dismay, we note that the final report on human resources has been published and circulated without consultation with the staff unions.

Upon a careful review of the report, (A/71/323 and Add.1), we came across and noted recommendations to the General Assembly that were never discussed with staff. These will create significant and unexamined consequences for human resources management at the UN.

They include the upward revision of permitted earnings by rehired retirees from $22,000 to 125 days of last salary per year; measures that will increase the number of temporary staff in the organization; and far-reaching changes to the mobility policy that will reduce the number of posts made available for staff and external candidates to apply to.

We note with further dismay that the situation described above is a repetition of what took place last year, when changes were proposed regarding the commutation of annual leave.

We see the breaching of the terms of agreement between staff unions and your administration as a matter of grave concern to our constituents and ourselves. For the second year in a row, your administration is proposing changes to the General Assembly without maintaining your commitment to consult with the elected representatives of staff. This constitutes a deliberate attempt at concealing from those same representatives your intention to propose such changes. It also underlines a recent trend we have seen of forcing through major changes in the final months of your administration and in advance of your successor."
On September 28 Inner City Press published more, from even more complaining staff. They tell Inner City Press that Ban ALREADY broke the rules, promoting Isabelle Kim from General Service to a P-2 professional position, and now ordering the Office of Protocol to create a P-3 post for Ms. Kim. Staff are angry that the rules Ban applies to them do not apply to Ban's friends and family.
And it is family, they say, stating that Eun Ha (Isabelle) Kim is Mrs. Ban's nieces: "it's all in the family," they say. 
  On September 28, Dujarric told Inner City Press vaguely that there are many many to move from G to P, General to Professional. (Inner City Press previously asked Ban's deputy about UN Staff Rule 4.16 (ii) which states the following:

"Recruitment to the Professional category of staff from the General Service and related categories in the United Nations Secretariat: recruitment to the Professional category at the United Nations Secretariat of staff from the General Service and related categories having successfully passed the appropriate competitive examinations shall be made within the limits established by the General Assembly. Such recruitment shall be made exclusively through competitive examination."
  So did Ms. Kim take and pass this required competitive exam? Dujarric didn't answer, in fact ran off the podium to avoid Inner City Press' follow up question, to confirm or deny Ms. Kim is Mrs Ban's niece.Dujarric leaves no other way to ask this: he leaves entirely unanswered written questions he doesn't like.
 In Ban's world, the family ties of those promoted are not to be asked about or even mentioned. Ban's son in law did a Facebook Live and referred to "the Secretary General" without saying, or being asked, that it's his father in law.
  Tellingly, Dujarric once again tried to vilify questions about Ban's promotions, or favors to Han Senug-soo, or financial irregularities, by saying this is "dragging through the mud." This is what all dictators say to investigative journalism. Ban Ki-moon, his spokesman and Team, have hit a new low.
These complaints, which Inner City Press first exclusively reported, spread on September 28 to the UN GA lobby and even to a reception where Ban shook hands, including of the Press, while his director of communications (and designated evicterCristina Gallach, who like Ban and his Dujarric cites and uses rules that are nowhere available, posed for selfies with compliant scribes Ban doles quotes to, and a wannabe UN Director General in Europe where Ban is headed October 1-9. Watch this site.
On September 26, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I'll try to do this delicately.  I wanted to know, is it your understanding that, for a General Service staff of the UN to become a, quote, Professional staff, the only way through is this G… is G to P test for a successor?  And the reason I ask is that received a number of complaints that a member of the team of Ban Ki-moon upstairs that's a G level staff is being attempted to be put into a P level position in protocol.  And I just wanted… maybe I'm missing something.  Is there some… is there… does there remain this kind of firewall between the two?  Not that it's a right wall, but if it applies to others…

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I don't think there's a firewall.  I've seen other G staff become Professional staff, including in our very own office.  So there are different ways…

ICP Question:  Sure.  You take a test.  Right?

Deputy Spokesman:  There's a G to P test.  That's one avenue.  I believe there are other avenues besides that.  There's… it's a complicated system, but I'm well aware even from my own office, I've seen several different Gs… G staff become Professional staff over the years.

ICP:  I may have something more on this
   Ms. Kim, we note, was with Ban (and Han Seung-soo and others) up to fifteen years ago, when Han was President of the General Assembly and Ban, his chief of staff. 
Also on that dream team: current South Korean ambassador to the UN and Ban promoted Oh Joon, former Ban promotee Yoon Yeocheol, Kim Bong-hyun who previously told Inner City Press to cover Ban more positively, and others - click here for the list, still online for now.
 Inner City Press also asked Ban Ki-moon's in law if he had been present at and played a role in the Jaffna Hospital massacre in Sri Lanka. He did not deny this -- rather, he said it was not "pertinent." He said he would answer at an "opportune time."
On September 28, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, Beyond the Vine video here, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press:  the Secretary-General's son-in-law, Siddharth Chatterjee.  I know I'd asked you in writing, maybe ten days ago to be able to ask him the questions that your office hadn't answered.  And I did find him in the lobby yesterday, and he said to me, "Oh, we'll find an opportune time."  So it wasn't clear to me… and he also said, as to some of the questions, "They're not pertinent."  I don't know if that referred to whether who the selection panel was or who the other candidates were.  But it led me to want to ask you, did your office, in fact, ask him ten days when I asked you whether he would answer the questions?  Because it seemed like he was unaware of the request.  That's how he came off.

Spokesman:  I think everyone is aware of your interest in speaking to Mr. Chatterjee, and it's not… you're welcome to contact whomever you want and request an interview.  Whether or not they grant you one is really up to them.

ICP Question:relatedly, because there's now… I've seen this controversy around the resident coordinator for Syria.  And some people are saying it's Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari to replace Mr. [TYacoub El] Hillo.  And I just wanted to know, was the same process used?  Can you say a little bit more about the inter-agency panel, DOCO…?

Spokesman:  The inter-agency panel… every resident coordinator goes through the same process with the inter-agency panel.  A recommendation is then sent to the Secretary-General, whether it's Mr. Za’tari or any of the other ones.  I told you many-a-times on his… on Mr. Chatterjee that the Secretary-General stayed away from that process.  We do expect the new humanitarian coordinator, resident coordinator, to arrive in Damascus very early next month and to take up his position.  There is an acting… somebody acting in that stead until his arrival.

ICP Question:  But in the same way that I asked you whether UNDPA (Department of Political Affairs) and the Secretariat was… played a role in the Kenya resident coordinator, because it seems that it's clear that they did in Syria… so did they in Kenya?

Spokesman:  I will not go into any further detail than I already have.
Further? Ban's spokesman  Dujarric has refused to provide basic information about the promotion, and about Chatterjee's military activities in Sri Lanka. Nor has he responded to Inner City Press' written request for information or to interview Chatterjee, a UN official who blocks Inner City Press on Twitter.
But Ban Ki-moon's son in law has hung around New York for more than a week, meeting with bankers and set on September 27 to meet Ban's deputy Eliasson. Ban didn't recuse himself from promoting his son in law, but does this side-step. Inner City Press at noon on September 27 asked Ban's deputy spokesman if Chatterjee, as resident coordinator, will answer questions on the way up or down. “We'll certainly convey your request.” Vine here.
   While less than an hour before Chatterjee's visit to his father in law's 38th floor there was no answer, Chatterjee appeared in a staged Facebook Live, where he said “the Secretary General” without disclosing that Ban is his father in law. Vine here. 
So Inner City Press went to ask Chatterjee about it. First, it told the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU), to avoid any pretextual action as in February of this year by Ban's head of communications Cristina Gallach. Then it set up in the lobby. After getting other quotes or responses from Ambassadors and a foreign minister, Chatterjee and other man came down.
  Inner City Press asked, Who were the other candidates? Who was on the panel? No answer. Inner City Press asked about the Jaffna Hospital. Chatterjee turned back and said he would set up a time to talk - strange, Inner City Press has been requesting that for some time - but to “turn that off,” meaning the authorized PeriscopeVine here.

   Inner City Press remained to ask more questions. At a certain point the minder(s), officers and elevator man left - and then the cars left. It was over.
  But Ban's increasing lawlessness is not limited to his son in law, nor to his mentor Han Seung-soo, who despite MOONlighting as a UN official and board member of Standard Chartered Bank and Doosan, this week dodged Inner City Press' questions unlike Jacob Zuma and Sheikh Hasina, here.
  Exposing or even inquiring into the ever increase irregularities in the Ban Ki-moon administration give rise, as Inner City Press found earlier this year and during this General Assembly debate week, to retaliation. 
Inner City Press was ordered to leave the UN on February 19 on two hours notice by Ban's chief of "public information," Cristina Gallach - for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room which was nowhere listed as Closed.
Ban and Gallach are giving Inner City Press' long time work space to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar Al Yom, whose representative Sanaa Youssef rarely comes to the UN -- contrary to the stated requirement for resident correspondent accreditation, which has been stripped from Inner City Press -- and never asks any questions.