Wednesday, November 24, 2004
# Posted 8:46 AM by Patrick Belton
The Times (UK) reports on a vote of no confidence in the United Nation's management taken by the employees of its Secretariat in New York, after the U.N.'s director of oversight was cleared on charges of exchanging promotions for money and sexual favours following an extremely cursory investigation. Staff representatives who had raised complaints were not consulted or interviewed in the course of the investigation, nor were they informed it was taking place until it had exonerated the undersecretary.
Dileep Nair, the official accused of peddling promotions for sex, is incidentally the U.N.'s anti-corruption watchdog.
The present scandal follows close on the heels of Annan's recent admission that civilian and peacekeeping personnel on UN duty in Congo and Sierra Leone have committed what appear to be several hundred separate documented instances of gross misconduct, frequently dispensing food aid to under-age local girls on the condition of having sex with them first, and with instances of rape and paedophilia by peacekeepers documented on videotape as well. (see Scotsman, CNN, BBC, BBC). This continues a pattern of sexual predation perpetrated by the United Nations upon vulnerable host populations occurring in previous years with the presence of UN peacekeepers and officials in East Timor, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
The sad perversions of peacekeepers raping women and children from the very populations they were dispatched to protect, and promotions allegedly being levied for sex by none other than the organisation's principal anti-corruption official, are only indicative of a more systematic culture of corruption, in which the son of Annan's chief of staff Iqbal Riza was hired to work for the United Nations in clear violation of nepotism rules, in an incident for which Riza was never held accountable. The affair of the organisation's corruption czar also represented the second time in two weeks, point out employees, that U.N. management refused to take action against a senior official accused of harassment: U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers being exonerated earlier this month of allegations of sexually harassing an American woman working in his agency. Furthermore, the investigation continues into the Oil-for-Food scandal, in which senior U.N. officials accepted bribes in exchange for diverting funds meant as aid for impoverished Iraqis directly to former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein. In a bureaucracy which has been as isolated as the United Nations from ordinary mechanisms of accountability, one begins to sadly suspect that in the present scandals we might only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.
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