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No pattern of discrimination in UN employment practices, report finds

No pattern of discrimination in UN employment practices, report finds

A United Nations investigative office has found no regular pattern of prejudice in the world body’s employment practices, but said steps are needed to improve the UN’s performance in promoting gender and regional equality.

The report, which was compiled by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and released today, covers possible discrimination within the United Nations due to nationality, race, sex, religion or language.

It concludes that there does not seem be any "systematic and consistent preference or exclusion" that impaired equal opportunity for any given region, whether in appointments, promotions or reappointments, during the past six years. However, there have been instances where, at certain levels, regional differences do exist.

The report also notes that while some strides have been made in achieving gender parity, process has been slow; men have been more likely to be hired, promoted and reappointed, particularly at the higher grades. "More attention needs to be given to recruiting and promoting women at the higher levels and to counteract the rising separation rate of women from the Organization," the report says.

Among its recommendations, OIOS says that the complaint mechanisms for dealing with discrimination within the UN need to be strengthened, in part by making the Panel on Discrimination and other Grievances more effective.

The Office also suggests that Secretary-General Kofi Annan issue a bulletin in which he articulates a policy on discrimination for the UN.

In a note accompanying the report, the Secretary-General reaffirms his commitment to ensuring that discrimination is not tolerated at the UN and that any allegations of discrimination will be promptly addressed.

Concurring with the report's recommendations, Mr. Annan notes that he recently appointed an Ombudsman, Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, to help resolve conflicts, including allegations of discrimination.