FAX SENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FIELD SUPPORT TO THE PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS ON HOMOPHOBIA AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THOSE ENGAGING IN HOMOPHOBIA
Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,
I wanted to share with you two important documents that we have received recently.
One of them is a fax sent by the Department of Field Support to all peacekeeping missions for distribution to all staff [Awareness raising to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) staff].
It states in strong language that discrimination against LGBTI individuals will not be tolerated “under any circumstances” in the UN office, and makes clear that a manager has the responsibility to act when he or she becomes aware of any incident.
This is a great step in the right direction, and I’m personally glad to see that the points UN-GLOBE has raised have made it into the fax.
I hope this fax will contribute to making the office environment in peacekeeping missions more inclusive, and more tolerable, particularly in countries where it is difficult to serve as an openly gay, or openly trans staff member.
Also, this fax can now be used as a model for other non-peacekeeping UN offices around the world so I would encourage you to forward this in whatever ways you think would be helpful.
Furthermore, let me use this opportunity to say that if you need any assistance from UN-GLOBE, please let us know.
On another news, pension continues to be an issue.
Please find attached the latest circular from the UNJSPF clarifying which same-sex unions they will recognize, and from which countries.
The good news is that they are starting to be more transparent about which unions they would recognize.
The bad news is that they continue to not recognize some legal unions, without caring whether the employer of the staff member does recognize such a union. This can lead to the untenable situation where a staff member is in a legal union recognized by her employer, but the same legal union is not recognized by the UNJSPF. From being considered Married (or equivalent) on the last day of employment, to being considered Single by the UNJSPF on the first day of retirement.
In addition, they will stop recognizing French PACS, and are asking that some of you already in French PACS get married instead in order to continue receiving recognition for your partner. This sets a dangerous precedent: all of us in legal unions other than marriages that are currently recognized by the UNJSPF can find ourselves no longer recognized by the UNJSPF two years from now.
UN-GLOBE continues to address this issue.
We are making sure that staff unions of the UN system are aware of this issue, and supportive of change; we will continue pushing this issue as an agenda item whenever the UN system gets together to discuss human resources matters; and we will continue to push for our people to get elected to any position that could play a relevant role— such as staff representatives to any pension committee, as one UN-GLOBE colleague already is.
If any of you can help in this regards, please do. And please let us know.
Pension might sound like an issue that won’t affect you until decades from now. But this is not so. If you are to die while serving in duty today, your partner could not be entitled to any survivor’s benefit.
Please take a look at the pension circular to see if your legal union is affected.
Those of you in French PACS are particularly affected, so please read the document very carefully. Get in touch with the UNJSPF to address your particular situation, and keep us at UN-GLOBE on the loop.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)