Monday, February 22, 2010

Letter to the Editor published by News Front, 22 Feb 2010

Your front page story in the last issue (#143) underlines a number of issues.

Foremost, if the NA feels that Richard Bennett, OHCHR Chief, committed "an act of deceit and improper conduct", has the NA lodged a complaint to the UN Resident Coordinator here, OHCHR Headquarters or the UN Secretary-General? This could easily be done through the appropriate government channels. UN staff, and especially Heads of Missions, are held to a strict code of conduct and any conduct unbecoming by any of its staff is viewed seriously by the UN.

Secondly, the Government of Nepal is hosting the UN here. It has to realize that it has a say in the conduct of UN staff within Nepal. It is not enough to merely express displeasure at something a UN staff says or does if the government does not have the mettle to follow up on its allegations with action. Otherwise, it becomes mere gossip-mongering or fodder for cocktail-party chats. Memories of UNMIN and its last chief are fresh.

Thirdly, you report that the PM's Office is "apparently not in favour of retaining the OHCHR in Nepal beyond June, its current tenure". OHCHR's performance in Nepal, as well as its incumbent chief's, will not change in the next four months. If the PM and his advisers are still equivocal on the issue of OHCHR extension, it fully reflects the indecisiveness and confusion of this government. Again, will OHCHR extension now be another version of the UNMIN extension saga?

The UN is here to help Nepal. That it does. Only a few of its agencies, especially the more political ones, appear to have a mixed record; and this record is unfortunately derogating the reputation of the UN as a whole. The government dares not call a spade a spade when it comes to the alleged performance of these agencies. But then the government's own performance is extremely "mixed", so maybe it's simply a situation of the pot not having the nerve to call the kettle black.


Birat Simha

1 comment:

Subodh said...

Cacophony:a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds. This is what we are getting now from all the internal and external players of the Naya Nepal.