(CNSNews.com) – United Nations staffers have held an unusual protest in Geneva, calling for the resignation of the head of a small but influential U.N. agency dogged by controversy for years. Among other things, he was accused of transferring sensitive U.S.-made computer equipment to North Korea and Iran.
More than 100 staffers from various U.N. organizations braved near freezing temperatures Wednesday to demand the ousting of Francis Gurry, the Australian director-general of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and in a show of solidarity with WIPO employees.
Their main focus was Gurry’s alleged attempt to replace an elected WIPO staff council with a new one beholden to him.
But the allegations of misconduct run deeper and go back years, and the Federation of International Civil Servants Association, which organized the lunchtime demonstration, compared Gurry’s leadership of WIPO to “totalitarian rule.”
Gurry has been accused of transferring high-end computer equipment to North Korea and Iran, regimes subject to U.S. and U.N. Security Council sanctions related to their nuclear activities.
A former senior WIPO staffer who reported the matter to U.S. authorities took part in Wednesday’s protest rally.