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UN does not support racism

REFERENCE is made to a letter from “Rovambira” published in your November 18 issue. I must categorically state that the United Nations condemns racism and any other forms of discrimination.

ial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Article 1.3 of the United Nations (UN) Charter clearly stipulates that one of the purposes of the UN is to promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

We take seriously any allegations of racism and other forms of discrimination within the UN, investigate them and take appropriate measures if the allegations are found to be true. I welcome any UN staff members who feel discriminated to come forward. We will deal with the cases without jeopardising the interests of staff members concerned.

As for the distinction between “international” and “local” staff in the system of personnel management within the UN, this applies globally to all offices in the organisation and its specialised agencies and programmes. We need both to function.

Article 101 of the UN Charter stipulates: “In the performance of their duties, the secretary-general and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organisation.

They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the organisation.”

Furthermore, Article 101.3 states that the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, while paying due regard to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.

UN staff members – both international and local – are recruited through competitive and rigorous selection procedures. International staff members do tend to occupy the managerial positions, but this does not mean that the nationals of the host country cannot serve in such positions. It is a matter of competence. Local staff members have a chance to move up the professional career path through internal or external competitive examinations.

International staff members are all required to respect the laws and customs of the host country and treat local staff with utmost respect.

Agostinho Zacarias,

UN resident coordinator.

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