Here is another disturbing case of the United Nations lack of Accountability and Transparency.
We received this article from a current staff member of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who requested to publish this article without revealing the identity of the staff member, to avoid reprisal.
It is hoped that Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, will respond to these serious allegations, which if true, the United Nations top management will have a lot to explain.
The article is published below:
Whether you are a skeptic or a believer in the United Nations, the information you are about to learn leaves no doubt in any-one’s mind that “accountability and transparency” are “deceptive buzz words” designed to create illusions to mislead and deceive the public and flatter the leadership ears that articulate them.
For instance, take the UN Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW and the public stand of the UN which condemns polygamy and considers it an attack on the dignity and human rights of women, as well as a harmful practice in UN human rights standards; where millions of dollars have been spent by the UN and its specialized agencies on programmes and campaigns to alleviate and stop this practice, yet UN senior staff at the highest levels practice polygamy, and the organization pays benefits for polygamist staff families and awards these staff. Worst of all is the conflict between the organization declarations and statements and its own practices.
For example, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has been led by Ms. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, its Executive Director, for a decade. Ms. Obaid is a practicing polygamist since mid 1990s, when she was, married during her employment with the UN, to a man who was still married to his first wife when Ms. Obaid knowingly married him. Bearing in mind that Ms. Obaid’s religion, Islam, legitimizes such practice under specific conditions.
However, Ms. Obaid concealed her polygamous marriage, a material fact, from her employers and the world to acquire greater positions in the UN system, to become an Under Secretary General (USG) and UNFPA’s Executive Director in the year 2001 until 2010. During this period she audaciously claimed to champion women’s issues, demanding gender equality and equity of governments and women themselves, while living her secret polygamous life.
Furthermore, in 2005 when at the launch of the “Culture Matters to Development” initiative, she publicly admitted to high government officials and the world during her Traverse lecture, that polygamy is a “harmful practice” according to UNFPA global survey and should be eliminated, when in reality, she has been practicing it for a decade and by her conduct contributing to undermining all human and women’s rights. So, where is the accountability and transparency Ms. Obaid prides herself to implement as UNFPA leader, and to have instilled in the core rules and regulations of the organization?!
To UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, how can people like Ms. Obaid be allowed to lead by deception a UN agency mandated to uphold and protect women’s equal rights? Where do “accountability and transparency” apply? or they’re just “deceptive buzz words” that some UN leaders uses to embellish their public persona; And who is a better master in that than Ms. UNFPA Executive Director, who has successfully built her public image with well thought-out and crafted rhetoric of make believe and false reality?
So, when will Mr. Ban Ki Moon stand and answer?
Unlike Ms. Obaid’s publicly stated legacy, the untold version is quite disturbing. From her masterful conduct of deception “talking the talk but not walking the walk”, to leaving behind a UNFPA drowning with a record number of court cases in the history of the organization, to making UNFPA the only UN agency “Audit Qualified” (meaning with serious audit issues- where hundreds of thousands of dollars go unaccounted for, yet those responsible get rewarded and promoted, to record number of mismanagement cases, and last but not least an agency festering with incompetence, low implementation rates, cliques at all levels, etc…
These are some of Ms. Obaid’s accomplishments that the exigency of “accountability and transparency” compels to be stated, addressed and hopefully rectified under the new leadership.
“Accountability and Transparency” also applies to those that have awarded Mr. Obaid some of the most prestigious Human Rights awards, like the Louis B Sohn Award. Did UNACNA and Congresswoman Maloney of New York know of Ms. Obaid’s practices when they so proudly recognized her and presented her with the Sohn’s Human Rights Award in August of 2009? Did Jill Sheffield of the Women Deliver NGO, also know when she presented Ms. Obaid with the award in June of 2010? and so on…
Ensuring that “accountability and transparency” are carried out is a collective responsibility. The results of any actions lie on the shoulders of the decision makers as well as the implementers.
To that extent, what did UNACNA and Congresswoman Maloney of New York know about Ms. Obaid? Were they a victim of deception, or have they failed to do their homework and conduct a thorough background check before making their award selection? How much Ms. Obaid’s actions and information contributed to their selection decision?
In the face of such serious situation, what would the public expect of Congresswoman Maloney of New York, who is sworn to uphold the US Constitution and New York laws, under which Obaid’s practices of polygamy, corruption, abuse of authority, harassment, etc… are considered to be a crimes punishable by law, and not rewardable with a Sohn’s Award?
What is expected of UNACNA and the UN Secretary General to do to enforce “Accountability and Transparency”?
Yet, the big question remains to be answered, will the UN seriously comply with its own rules and regulations or will the implementation continues to be selective and many, like Ms. Obaid, will get away with fraud and deception, and walk away with “fabricated” legacies?
This article is written for history to record, and for the honor and intelligence of all women around the world that have been insulted and wounded by such “unethical and fraudulent” practices, even if some benefited from such actions, but the “ends” do not justify the “means” under the UN “Accountability and Transparency” rules and regulations.
FYI: Under the UN, US and international laws and rules, Fraud is defined as:
“The use of deception by an individual with the intention of obtaining an advantage for himself or herself or for a third party or parties, avoiding an obligation, or causing loss to another party. Fraud includes offences such as, but not limited to, deception, bribery, forgery, extortion, corruption, theft, conspiracy, embezzlement, misappropriation, false representation, concealment of material facts, and collusion. A misleading, deliberate action carried out to obtain dishonest or unethical gain.”
UN Post Editor
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