United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General stands up for the Staff

On Tuesday 3 November 2009, during the tribute ceremony the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, dedicated to the UNESCO Staff (see Flash Info N°225-2009*), he shared his concern about a series of anonymous and defamatory documents that circulated in the Organization over the past year.

The Director-General stated:

“In expressing my appreciation to all of you, the staff, I need to acknowledge that many of you, even if you were not personally targeted, have been very offended by a series of anonymous and defamatory documents that circulated over the past year. While I long ago made it a practice never to read anything that is unsigned, I am aware that they raised totally unfounded criticism of many of my senior managers. They even attacked my successor, and this during the election thus trying to influence it. The authors tried to bring the Organization into disrepute, which in turn has the effect of bringing everyone who makes up UNESCO – the staff – into disrepute.

I could not let such insult go unremarked. It was in order to stand up for the staff that I asked the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) to investigate the content and dissemination of these cowardly documents and a case was also filed with the French police.

I believe that you will be relieved to know that the investigation has identified the main author of the report attacking Ms Bokova as being a former international civil servant, a Director, who some years ago retired from the Organization. The same person has also been linked to the other anonymous reports. I can only assume that he does not realize how profoundly he has offended his former colleagues.

Equally regrettable, we believe he did not act alone. His small group of collaborators appears to include other former staff members, and, I am very sorry to say, some who are part of the Secretariat. Their actions are a clear betrayal of the ethical values underpinning the international civil service and have damaged the image of the Organization. I deeply regret that the majority of staff have had to suffer as a result of the irresponsible acts of a small minority.

I truly hope this sad episode may now be consigned to the past. In touching on this incident, I stress the importance of keeping a sense of perspective, as my experience over the ten years has been of the profound professionalism and dedication of the UNESCO staff.”

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Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 226-2009 -  Publication Date: 09-11-2009

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