A u. N. doctor who co-wrote a book, "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth," critical of the United Nations will continue to work for the...
UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. doctor who co-wrote a book, “Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth,” critical of the United Nations will continue to work for the world body instead of having his employment terminated at the end of the year, his lawyer said yesterday.
Tom Devine, legal director of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, a leading advocate for U.S. whistle-blower laws that took up Dr. Andrew Thomson’s case, said his announcement was “based on confirmation from highly reliable sources.”
After a dozen years of contract renewals and good performance evaluations, Thomson says he was informed Nov. 23 that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed. Thomson, a New Zealander, and two people he worked with in the United Nations wrote the book, which chronicles their stints in seven peacekeeping missions, telling of wild parties with alcohol, drugs and sex and recounting their loss of idealism about the United Nations.
One of the other co-authors resigned from the U.N. before the book came out; the other remains employed there.
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Thomson’s observations irritated U.N. officials most.
Thomson, who spent two years pulling bodies out of mass graves in Rwanda and the Bosnian town of Srebrenica — corpses of people who had sought safety with the United Nations — writes in the book: “If blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.”
“We didn’t start out to write a scandalous book about the U.N.,” Thomson told the Los Angeles Times earlier. “But it is a scandal that almost a million civilians, who our peacekeepers had promised to protect, were killed in Rwanda and Srebrenica.
“I find it very difficult that not a single U.N. official in the secretariat was investigated or disciplined for those failures.”
U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard reiterated Wednesday that the authors violated a U.N. staff rule that bars outside publication without permission of the secretary-general.
In a seven-page letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week, Thomson’s lawyers called him a whistle-blower and said his termination was a test case that would demonstrate whether the United Nations will allow its staff to speak out about abuses of power.
Thomson filed a complaint with the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services demanding an internal investigation into who ordered the termination of his annual contract.
But perhaps his biggest boost came from Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar wrote Annan asking him to personally investigate whether there was retaliation against Thomson.