Presentation on theme: "The Function of Elected Representatives in Staff Representative Bodies Highlight of Staff Council Engagement For Securing Staff Access To Justice Affaf."— Presentation transcript:
The Function of Elected Representatives in Staff Representative Bodies Highlight of Staff Council Engagement For Securing Staff Access To Justice Affaf Abbass - UNOG-Staff Coordination Council
New UN System of Administration of Justice Opportunities and Challenges Opportunities In accordance with the governing principles set forth in its establishing GA resolutions, the new internal justice system (IJS) is expected to be independent, transparent, professionalized, adequately resourced and decentralized. While enhancing the informal dispute resolution mechanisms, the reform of the IJS established the UN Dispute Tribunals (UNDT) staffed with professional judges. The abolishment of the outdated and dysfunctional peer review system of the Joint Appeals Board and Disciplinary Committees. Challenges Member States expect the new IJS to ensure respect for the rights and obligations of staff members and the accountability of managers and staff members alike. However, the disparity in the means placed at the management disposal and those at the staff disposable to ensure their access to justice could be detrimental to the staff rights and interests. The Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA) established under the new justice system is under tremendous pressure to meet the ever growing staff requests for legal assistance.
PRIOTITY ISSUES ADDRESSED BY THE SCC The UNDT became operational on 1 July 2009. Between 2009 and 2010 the number of cases received by the UN informal justice mechanisms from the UN secretariat staff, including the staff in the field operations has increased by approximately 70 percent Owing to its limited resources, OSLA is compelled to reject an important number of staff requests for assistance Issues considered as a priority by UNOG SCC since March 2011: SECURE management commitment to address staff grievances in a fair, transparent and expeditious manner ( discussions within the SMCC and CISCUA). ADRESS the underlying causes of disputes (poor management, poor interpersonal skills etc..) FACILITATE the staff exercise of its right to equal and continued access to justice to seek redress of grievances, in consistency with the principles of the rule of law and due process.
EFFECTIVE ACCESS TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: A CRITICAL ELEMENT OF FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE In order to FACILITATE the staff exercise of its right to equal and continued access to justice, AVOID lengthy delays in addressing issues raised by the staff. UNOG SCC decided to establish a Standing Committee on Legal Issues to: (1) Provide the staff with guidance and advice on legal issues related to their career, the internal justice system, and venues for seeking legal assistance. (2) Advise the SCC on the cases submitted to the Council for access to the legal aid fund, and prepare narratives on each case for the approval of the SCC. (3) Identify and advise the SCC on issues that need to be addressed in the negotiations with the UN administration and with the SMCC to ensure the defense and protection of the staff members’ rights and preserve their interests.
Action Taken by the SCLI Granting of Financial Legal Aid Since July 2011 the SCLI reviewed 7 cases: – 5 cases were settled through regular advice and negotiation with the management. – 2 cases were in litigation before the UNDT in Geneva and the UNAT in New York. – In the absence of support from OSLA, the SCC has granted both cases a financial aid to ensure the provision of legal advice and representation before the tribunals. Meeting with the Registry of UNDT in Geneva On the proposal of UNOG SCC, the registry of the UNDT in Geneva organised an information session for all the Staff representatives at UNOG and relevant UN agencies to acquaint them with the new formal justice mechanisms and the UNDT procedures. The SCLI is planning to organise a broader meeting with OHRM, MEU and the registry of UNDT to cover all the subject of interest to the staff representatives.
New IJS = A new perspective in the Management/ Staff Relationship ISSUES FOR FUTURE CONSIDERATION-MEDIUM AND LONG TERM OBJECTIVES The new IJS is an evolving system. Staff associations should contribute to its development to consolidate the protection of S/M rights and obligations and ensure that the system is consistent with its governing principles. Channels for intervention ADVOCATE for and support the organization of training for all actors including legal officers in OHRM, the MEU, the registry of the tribunals and OSLA, as well as staff representatives to increase management and staff awareness of the new recourse mechanisms and the requirements of the new IJS. IMPROVE staff legal assistance system: URGE the GA (lobby MS) and the Secretary-General to consider increasing the regular budget allotment to OSLA Noting the staff associations’ objection to the staff funded schemes (discussions within the SMCC and CCISUA ).
ISSUES FOR FUTURE CONSIDERATION- Cont’ed Monitor Managers’ training and understanding of the “Lessons learned Guide for Managers” regularly prepared by the Office of the USG for Management to ensure their compliance with UN rules and regulations (in 2010, the USG/DM circulated 2 volumes of Lessons learnt Guide for Managers on IJ issues). Take an active part in the revision of the UNDT Statutes and UN internal rules to ensure consistency with international law and procedures. Contribute to the revision of internal UN information circulars and administrative instructions to ensure their consistency with the provisions of the UNDT and UNAT’s statutes and rules of procedures. Staff Councils and associations across the UN system, including agencies and programmes, should consider issuing a similar Lessons Learnt Guide for Staff Members, with assistance from OSLA, to provide adequate advice and guidance to those in need for legal assistance. Engage with management in regular and constructive dialogue aiming to prevent disputes and address staff issues in a fair and expeditious manner. Promote a culture of tolerance, transparency, responsibility and accountability.