Postered tree during Wimal led UN protest
Ban Ki-moon has appointed a personal panel to investigate Sri Lanka that answers to him, circumventing the UN Security Council. This rather cynically exploits the shallowness of the media to make it look like the UN is investigating Sri Lanka when in fact it’s just Ban Ki-moon. Sri Lankan nationalists have blown this up by calling him a ‘farcical idiot’, among other things, but beneath the rudeness, they may have a point. Recently, the Under-Secretary General for Oversight issued a damning report saying that Ban Ki-moon has been undermined his own anti-corruption body by trying to set up his own competing unit and controlling appointments. In short, meddling.
Ms. Inga-Britt Ahlenius’s cover letter says “Rather than supporting OIOS [the internal corruption watchdog]… you have strived to control it which is to undermine its position.”
Only the cover letter is available online (PDF) but the Washington Post has the whole document and writes:
Ahlenius says that, rather than being an advocate for accountability, Ban, along with his top advisers, has systematically sought to undercut the independence of her office, initially by trying to set up a competing investigations unit under his control and then by thwarting her efforts to hire her own staff…
The departure of Ahlenius, 72, coincides with a period of crisis in the United Nations’ internal investigations division. During the past two years, the world body has shed some of its top investigators. It has also failed to fill dozens of vacancies, including that of the chief of the investigations division in the Office of Internal Oversight Services. That post has been vacant since 2006, leaving a void in the United Nations’ ability to police itself, diplomats say. (WP)
The UN is an arrogant bureaucratic mess which still serves a higher purpose. It does, however, need strategic change to be both respected and useful in the world. I’d always thought that Ban Ki-moon was a vanilla bookend between more dynamic Secretary Generals, but Ms. Ahlenius seems to think he’s actively worse.
Personally, I think that his interference in Sri Lanka violates the UN Charter and causes more problems than it resolves. The diplomatic mess has happened because Ban Ki-moon has personally and rather dictatorially gone around the UN Security Council. This latest missive from inside the UN shows that he may be taking end runs around other institutions as well.