Whistle-blowers, VIII
2014 (continued)
―The campaign by UN unions to restore the recognition rights of UN staff has secured a
successful outcome. …
I would like to thank you, LabourStart and your 14,000 members who sent emails to UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for their fantastic support during the campaign. Your efforts helped
persuade the Secretary-General and his team that the UN should live up to its principles on human rights
and labour representation.
We know that management only came back to the table because unions, organizations and
working people around the world were united in their anger at the way the Secretary-General
withdrew trade union recognition last June.
The Secretary-General has agreed a new negotiating system that significantly improves on
the UN Staff Management Committee (SMC) rules that applied previously. Most importantly, the right
of unions to represent UN staff has been restored, bringing to an end the crisis in staff-management
relations caused when the Secretary-General‘s representatives walked out of SMC.
The agreement represents a major success. It would not have been achieved without your
support to our ‗UN UNION RIGHTS‘ campaign, the personal testimonies of staff, and media coverage in
the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and other newspapers internationally.‖
Ian Richards, “Victory for workers’ rights at the United Nations,” June 5, 2014.
Note: Bravo! The article also presents highlights of the new negotiating system.]
―While assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, Government Accountability
Project (GAP) client James Wasserstrom blew the whistle on what he alleged was a conspiracy to
pay a $500 million kickback to senior U.N. and Kosovo officials. …
After the Ethics Office – [a unit] to protect U.N. whistleblowers – failed to protect him from
serious and protracted retaliation, he filed a case with the U.N.'s … Dispute Tribunal (UNDT), which
found in his favor, concluding that the institution's treatment of him was "appalling." …
The case has been pending in the U.N. court system since 2008. A hearing and its outcome will
be closely watched as a result of a 2014 U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act … [which requires]
providing whistleblowers with „results that eliminate the effects of proven retaliation‟ as a
condition of a full U.S. contribution to the organization. Wasserstrom was awarded only 2% of his
estimated damages and costs.
Whistleblowers around the world will be watching this appeal to see if, finally, there is justice
for him. The UNAT is … the final court in the U.N. internal justice system. … Its decisions are final and
binding. The hearing … will take place in Vienna on June 19.
Dylan Blaylock, “UN Tribunal to hear final appeals in whistleblower case”, June 11,
Page 1 of 5
―After whistleblower Aicha Elbasri further exposed UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous
as covering up attacks in Darfur, on June 17 several Security Council members joined International
Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in calling for an investigation. …
Then again, what did France say when Ladsous met with Sudan's Omar al Bashir, indicted
for genocide by the International Criminal court, the subject of the June 17 session of the Council?
On April 24, … three major Darfur rebel groups asked the Security Council to investigate „all
reports of the Peace Keeping Mission, including reports presented to the UNSC by [Under] Secretary
General for Peace Keeping Mr. Ladous and the reliability of the sources he had relied on.‘
A long time scribe followed up to say that it is not all Ladsous' fault, and to cast blame on the
government. … This reflexive shifting of blame from the UN to the government, … [is] particularly
absurd: how can the government be responsible for the UN's own reports being inaccurate? …
{Why did Ladsous meet with International Criminal Court indictee Omar al Bashir in July
2013? – and rapes in the DR Congo by UN Peacekeeping's partners in the Congolese Army. Watch this
Matthew Russell Lee, “ICC joins Darfur rebels' call for probe of Ladsous & reports, UN
Spins”, June 17, 2014.
―The United Nations is far from perfect. The U.N. and its affiliated funds, programs, and
specialized agencies are often opaque and resist efforts to increase transparency. …
Most U.N. budgets are dedicated to salaries and administrative expenses, leaving relatively little
for on the ground activities. Even then, many activities are of questionable merit or are duplicative,
but seldom face rigorous evaluation or termination even decades after being approved.
Both elements of the employee-employer relationship in the U.N. system are problematic:
the U.N. can be capricious and vindictive to whistleblowers but ineffective at holding employees
who perform poorly to account.
U.N. budgets are broadly misaligned with current priorities and efforts to calibrate them face
political impediments from the bureaucracy and the member states. … The U.S. has tried repeatedly to
address these and other problems. But as only one of 193 member states, most of whom do not
regard reform as a priority, U.S. efforts often stall.
What strategies and circumstances increase the prospects for reform? What pressures, levers
and tactics have proven successful and should be employed in the future? Join us as former U.S. and
U.N. officials offer their thoughts and advice based on their experiences.‖
“Lessons on how the U.S. can reform the U.N. – webcast”, The Heritage Foundation,
Washington DC, June 30, 2014.
―On Friday, June 27, the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) in Vienna
announced oral verdicts in two whistleblower cases, but delayed the release of their judgment in the
appeal of Government Accountability Project (GAP) client James Wasserstrom, a former senior staff
member at the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). …
The cases in which rulings were announced were those of Caroline Hunt-Matthes, a former
senior investigation officer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) and Khalilur Rahman, a former U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
employee. …
In the Hunt-Matthes case, UNAT ruled that the complaint was not receivable. … on a
technicality of timing and penalized Hunt-Matthes. The judgment essentially rewarded the U.N. for
its lack of commitment to protecting whistleblowers from retaliation."
Rahman appealed to UNAT the failure of the institution to restore him to the professional and
financial standing he had prior to making protected disclosures. UNAT dismissed both appeals and
affirmed UNDT‟s judgment.
The UNAT is the court of last resort in the U.N. internal justice system, and its decisions are
final and binding. … . Full, written judgments are expected to be available in approximately a month.‖
Page 2 of 5
UN Tribunal Announces Judgments in Two Key Whistleblower Cases, Defers on a
Third,” Government Accountability Project, Dylan Blaylock, June 30, 2014.
what a shabby start these shameful “decisions” provide toward supposed UN
whistleblower protection.]
―In an institution dominated by dictators and notorious for corruption and scandals, it
takes a lot to stand out or attract worldwide condemnation and scrutiny from across the political
spectrum. Director General Francis Gurry with the United Nations World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), though, has managed to accomplish precisely that — secretly sending
technology to dictators, stonewalling investigations, allegedly retaliating against whistleblowers, engaging
in alleged corruption and cronyism, and much more
Now he is even threatening journalists with criminal prosecutions for reporting on
official documents outlining the alleged abuses. … However, despite the lawless intimidation, critics
are still speaking out as official calls for an independent investigation grow too loud to ignore.
Gurry remains defiant. .. but a widely respected deputy director with the outfit, James
Pooley, the senior American WIPO official, responsible for innovation and technology at the agency,
filed an official complaint accusing Gurry of “serious misconduct.”
The report, which followed another formal complaint against Gurry by a separate senior WIPO
employee, also called for an independent investigation.‖
Alex Newman, “Embroiled in scandal, UN agency boss attacks free press,”
thenewamerican.com, 02 July 2014. [Mr. Gurry’s arrogant battles with the world have
gone on and on for years now, as reflected in a search for many IO Watch items for
Francis Gurry and WIPO on the IO Watch home page at “Search.”]
―Ban Ki-moon has flown to Haiti on a „necessary pilgrimage‟ to support the fight against
cholera, a disease that many Haitians blame UN peacekeepers for introducing. He is seeking support for
a $2.2bn, 10-year cholera elimination campaign that he launched in December 2012 with the
presidents of Haiti and the neighbouring Dominican Republic.
The UN has not accepted responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed 8,500
people and infected more than 700,000 since October 2010, despite evidence that suggests it was
brought to Haiti by Nepalese peacekeepers stationed near a major river.
Ban's visit was criticised by some in Haiti who said the UN must accept responsibility for
introducing the disease and provide compensation to families. ‗It is an insult to all Haitians for the
secretary general to come to Haiti for a photo opportunity,‘ said Mario Joseph, a Haitian human
rights lawyer.
Lawyers have filed three lawsuits against the UN seeking compensation for Haitian victims of
the epidemic. … Ban launched a sanitation campaign, noting that one in two Haitians lack access to
adequate sanitation systems. The UN and the World Bank are targeting 55 communities worst
affected, covering 3.8 million people within the next five years.‖
“UN chief steps up fight against Haiti cholera epidemic. Ban Ki-moon calls for $2.2bn to
help eradicate epidemic as row over UN's role in introducing cholera to Haiti rumbles
on,” theguardian.com, 16 July 2014. [Note: four years have passed since the Haiti
disaster with little progress or money for Haiti, and Ban may never “step up” to provide
Haitian recovery in the years to come. For the real and excellent story of Haiti’s early
and continuing troubles see UN Performance Problems: Updates; then
Accountability and Transparency in the UN; and then Part XIV, pages 6 bottom
through 10 top and then 11 top and 11 bottom.
Page 3 of 5
―A public relations company led by the former foreign minister Mark Malloch-Brown was
involved in a state-sponsored „cover-up‟, to hide massive corruption in the Somali President‟s
office, according to a leaked investigation by the United Nations.
The report, seen by The Times, accused FTI Consulting of working with President Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud to cover-up, rebut and discredit allegations of ‗corruption and mismanagement of Central Bank
Funds‘. The allegations had threatened to derail international support for President Mohamud and
his embattled, aid-dependent government.
Lord Malloch Brown, who served as Minister for Africa in Gordon Brown‘s government, is the
Chairman of FTI Consulting for Europe, Middle East and Africa.‖
Jerome Starkey, Tristan McConnell, “Peer denies covering up Somali corruption”,
thetimes.co.uk, AP, July 24, 2014. [Note: Sir Mark was the right-hand man for Kofi
Annan in attempting to fight off responsibility for the UN Oil for Food debacle in 2005
and 2006, see in the IO Watch section on The UN (System) Hall of Shame List, Sir Mark
Malloch Brown, former UN Deputy Secretary-General, 2006.
―Today, GAP released a report detailing ten representative whistleblower cases from the
United Nations and its funds, programs and agencies. The report examines the institution's failure to
implement best practices for the protection of whistleblowers, in violation of the 2014 U.S.
Consolidated Appropriations Act. According to that law, 15 percent of the U.S. contribution to the United
Nations or any of its agencies shall not be obligated until the State Department reports to Congress that
the respective institution is implementing best practices for whistleblower protection. …
Until the United Nations acts on the disclosures made by these whistleblowers and provides
them with comprehensive relief that eliminates the effects of proven retaliation, the State Department
cannot, in good faith, certify that the United Nations is implementing best practices in
whistleblower protection.
GAP urges the Secretary-General and U.N. agency heads to take action to help these
whistleblowers. The full report can be read here.
Shelley Walden, “GAP releases report on UN whistleblower cases”, August 22, 2014.
―Over Labor Day weekend, the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) issued a decision in
the whistleblower protection appeal of Government Accountability Project (GAP) client James
Wasserstrom, a former senior staff member at the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK). In overturning the strongly worded decision of the U.N. Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) in Mr.
Wasserstrom's favor, the UNAT has eviscerated UNDT‟s precedent protecting whistleblowers and
has significantly weakened their rights within the U.N.'s internal justice system.
In its decision, the UNAT applied its previous restrictive rulings that only certain „administrative
decisions‟ by specific U.N. entities confer jurisdiction on the UNDT to entertain staff complaints. In
Wasserstrom‘s case, UNAT determined ‗recommendations‘ made by the U.N. Ethics Office – the unit
established to protect U.N. whistleblowers – are not administrative decisions subject to judicial review by
the UNDT.
As a result of this precedent, U.N. whistleblowers will no longer be able to challenge the
decisions of the Ethics Office, an admittedly dubious channel for redress, which has historically failed
to protect 99 percent of the whistleblowers who have sought its support, including Wasserstrom. Without
a clear and effective procedure for protecting whistleblowers, the United Nations fails to meet
international best practices.‖
“UN tribunal weakens whistleblowers' rights, disregards U.S. Appropriations law”,
September 3, 2014. [Note: for more on this shabby and shameful process, evading UN
staff whistle-blower rights and due process for almost two decades, see also
Page 4 of 5
―The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) staff union has released a statement protesting
the lack of effective whistleblower protections at the United Nations. The statement comes in the wake of
a United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) verdict in the case of GAP advocacy client James
Wasserstrom. The judgment overturned a verdict by a lower tribunal, which found that the U.N. Ethics
Office – the unit established to protect U.N. whistleblowers – erred when it failed to substantiate the
retaliation that Wasserstrom was subjected to for having blown the whistle on an alleged kickback
The UNAT found that Ethics Office recommendations are not subject to judicial review, even
though the office has historically failed to protect 99 percent of whistleblowers who have sought its
support. The full press release from the UNOG Staff Coordinating Council is below.‖
“Staff Union issues statement protesting lack of whistleblower protection at the United
Nations”, The full press release from the UNOG Staff Coordinating Council is below.
To be continued
Page 5 of 5

Whistle-blowers, VIII 2014 (continued)