Jun 11, 2008

Concern Over Transparency Of Appointment Of UN Human Rights Commissioner

We laughed when opening the Economist on Monday wondering whether someone on the 9th floor would have stuck in an application for what was a bogus advertisement funded by Avaaz.org for an important position at the UN.

We were therefore interested to read in this morning's New York Times some of the reasons for this NGO's protest action over this appointment.

The online advertisement that appeared Monday on The Economist magazine’s Web site seemed straightforward enough, seeking candidates for the position of United Nations high commissioner for human rights.
The advertisement, however, was a fake, a protest paid for by
Avaaz.org, an online advocacy group. The organization is among a number of human rights organizations, United Nations diplomats and other watchdog groups critical of what they call the lack of transparency in selecting the next commissioner, one of the highest-profile and most delicate jobs in the United Nations hierarchy.
“It is a general problem that top appointments in the United Nations system are often made in back rooms behind closed doors where candidates who meet the lowest common denominator win,” said Ricken Patel, a Canadian who is the executive director of Avaaz.org. “A more open process requires bad candidates to face the test of public scrutiny.” The advertisement, which cost about $10,000, also ran in this week’s print edition of the magazine and carried a disclaimer identifying it as having been written and paid for by the group.

Here is the rest of the article