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UN Internal Justice System

Why Do We Need An Internal Justice System

As the United Nations has immunity from local jurisdiction and cannot be sued in a national court, the Organization has set up an internal justice system to resolve staff-management disputes, including those that involve disciplinary action.

Securing a harmonious working environment

In any large organization, a harmonious working environment is essential in order to be productive. To this end, there is a need for systems, rules, and procedures that set a common standard for behaviour and actions, and that ensure that the work conducted by each and every employee contributes to the common objectives or goals. For the United Nations, these goals are global and lofty: peace and security, development, and human rights. Still, the work-related disputes that arise are not that different to what might occur in any workplace, relating to issues such as contract renewals, equity of treatment, promotion, discrimination, harassment, or the imposition of disciplinary measures. But in the UN, there is the added dimension of cultural diversity and geographical dispersion.

Acting in accordance with the rules

In the United Nations, there are rules that govern both behaviour and actions of employees, and that also set out basic rights of staff. The UN Charter itself sets out fundamental principles. There are Staff Regulations and Rules, and Financial Regulations and Rules. Other rules governing ethics, gender equality, work-place harassment, human resources-related policies and other numerous topics are contained in Secretary-General's Bulletins and other administrative issuances. Taken together, the purpose is to ensure integrity, fairness, and equality, while providing for efficient ways for the Organization to conduct its day-to-day work. The internal justice system exists to address situations where staff members feel that their rights have been violated and the rules of the Organization have not been respected. It is a fundamental right of staff at all levels to have recourse to an internal justice system. The internal justice system is also a pillar in the overall effort to strengthen accountability and ensure responsible decision-making.

HR Handbook
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