NEW YORK: The United Nations has said that goodwill ambassadors “in their personal capacity […] retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them”.
The statement came from Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in light of allegedly pro-war comments made by United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Goodwill Ambassador and India actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas in February and highlighted recently by an activist.
Answering a reporter’s question regarding the UN’s stance on Chopra’s statements in briefing, Dujarric said: “Well I mean I can tell you that for any goodwill ambassador whether it’s Miss Chopra or anyone else, we expect them to adhere to impartial positions when they speak on behalf of Unicef or any other organisation.”
However, he added that when these ambassadors speak in “their personal capacity they retain the right to speak about issues of interest or concern to them.”
“Their personal views however do not reflect the views of the agency with which they may be affiliated with,” Dujarric clarified.
It was learnt on August 21 that Pakistan Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari had formally written to the head of Unicef, asking her to remove the Indian actress as a global Unicef Goodwill Ambassador over her comments.