Update from the president on the work of UN Globe
Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,
Now that summer is past us, and September is in full swing, I wanted to briefly update you on the work UN-GLOBE has done.
More and more organizations are revising their policies in order to recognize all legal same-sex union. You can see the list of organizations that have done so at the bottom*. (You can also see them in our Resources page.)
ILO, WHO, and WIPO are very close to doing so, and we are ensuring that these organizations do not get cold feet.
Letters to Resident Coordinators
Following requests from you, we have sent individual UN-GLOBE letters to all Resident Coordinators around the world. [SEE sample letter to Resident Coordinators - Zimbabwe]. 133 letters total. This is what we have asked of them:
- That they release a statement making it clear that homophobia and transphobia have no place in the workplace
- That they ensure that all legal same-sex partners are able to secure residency visas so that legal couples can move together to the duty station
- That they ensure the safety and security of LGBTI staff and their families in countries with high levels of homophobia and transphobia
- That in countries with anti-gay laws, they have a plan to secure the release of any LGBTI staff member prosecuted under said laws.
We hope these letters will make a difference. Already, we have received responses from 14 Resident Coordinators willing to look into these issues.
We have also reached out to Helen Clark as head of the United Nations Resident Coordinator System. We have asked her to send her own message to Resident Coordinators.
Making sure that the UNJSPF changes its rules is one my top priorities.
An increasing number of UN organizations are adopting a Jurisdiction-based approach to recognition of personal status. So should the UNJSPF. It is the legality of your same-sex union that should be relevant, not your country of nationality.
What the UNJSPF should be mindful of is this: we live in a world where there is still great amounts of homophobia and transphobia, where same-sex couples who want to legalize their unions have very limited options to do so. Equality demands that LGBTI staff members be given a fair shot to secure a future for their spouses should he or she die.
We have sent you a form letter to fill out if you are in a legal union recognized by your employer but not recognized by the UNJSPF. Please send this form letter to the CEO of the UNJSPF, and please let us know that you have done so.
We will be actively monitoring UNJSPF’s response while discussing other options beyond the form letter.
I’ll continue to keep you informed.
Immediate priorities are:
- To draft UN-GLOBE position papers on three issues: a) inclusive adoption/ surrogacy policies; b) inclusive policies towards staff members with HIV/AIDS; and c) inclusive policies towards transgender and intersex staff members.
- We will also institutionalize the work of UN-GLOBE so that UN-GLOBE is more accountable. We are also exploring aligning ourselves closely, or officially with the staff associations of the UN such as FICSA, CCISUA, and UNISERV. More details on this will follow.
Finally, the commitments I wrote to you about in July are commitments we still have. We will come up with effective ways for you to pay your UN-GLOBE member ship fees; we will come up with a way for UN-GLOBE members to volunteer and give back to their communities; we will work on a survey for all staff of the UN system; and we will continue to ask for sensitivemobility policies that take into account the needs of LGBTI Staff.
Our work for full equality and non-discrimination continues.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
* FAO, ICAO, IFAD, PAHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFCCC, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNMICT, UNODC, UN Secretariat, UN Women, WFP (Go to our Resourcespage in order to see the actual policies)