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UN Public Service Awards 2013 For The Office Of
The Kerala Chief Minister Misused For Political Gains

By S. Faizi

12 August, 2013

To: bkm@un.org
Mr Ban Ki-moon
United Nations

Subject: UN Public Service Awards 2013 for the Office of the Kerala Chief Minister

Your Excellency,

I have long time association with the United Nations system, as a multilateral negotiator, consultant to various UN agencies, UNESCO Youth Leader Fellow, and as member of expert committees. Besides I often write on UN issues defending the democratic multilateral UN system against Western criticism.

I have also been recipient of a UN award (UNEP Global 500 Honour, 1988), and I’m writing this to bring to your attention of the need for ensuring the respect for the United Nations awards. The office of the Chief Minister of my state, Kerala, India has been a recipient of category one of the United Nations Public Service Awards 2013, along with two other organisations from India- in the same category. The award for the office of the Kerala Chief Minister has been for his mass contact programme where he used to settle long pending petitions of the public.

This well-meaning gesture of the United Nations has, however, been misused by the Chief Minister Mr Oommen Chandy to serve domestic political ends. And for that reason the award has been a subject of ridicule by the Opposition and a large section of the public here. The Chief Minister himself went to Bahrain to receive the award at a time when he was entangled in a damaging scandal and sought to use the award as a shield to protect himself in the scandal. That was not all. As I write you these lines 100,000 people are getting ready for a sit-in in front of his office demanding his resignation as more and more evidence against him is unearthed. And he has resorted to unheard-of measures to wither the protest, glaringly violating universal human rights and the rights enshrined in the Constitution of India:

- - he has imported from outside the state a huge posse of heavily armed force to handle the protesters

- -he has caused the police to instruct hotels, halls and even private citizens not to host people coming from outside the capital city to participate in the protest

- -the police have asked bus companies not to carry protesters to the capital

- -the police has even closed public toilets in the capital city

- -educational institutions in the city have been closed down and converted into camps for armed forces

It is indeed unfortunate that the UN has chosen for its award a person of such lethal capabilities. I would therefore call upon you to have due diligence while evaluating candidates for the various UN awards in future. The purpose of the award is to recognise outstanding cases of democratic governance and highlight them in order to serve as models for others to follow, but the UN needs to ensure that the recipients have this statesmanly understanding and do not misuse the award for domestic partisan political purposes. While it is the glaring violation of human rights that prompted me to write this letter, I would also like to point out that whole mass contact programme of Mr Oommen Chandy, in fact reflects an inherent problem of governance in nearly all former colonies. While colonies got rid of the yoke of imperialism the colonial governance system was and still is continued. This governance system was designed and perpetuated to serve the imperial interests and therefore naturally against the interests of the public, the reason why files pile up. In this case the files that the Chief Minister were handling were to have been settled at the lower level of bureaucracy long time ago, and the fact that the minister had to involve personality to settle these only shows how anti-people the governance system is; decades of political freedom has not changed the colonial anti-people bureaucracy in Asia and Africa. I wish the UN learns this lesson and its agencies like UNDP seek to focus on addressing this in their future work.

Assuring you of my highest consideration,


S. Faizi
Thiruvananthapuram, India


Here is the reply from the UN





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