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UN Geneva taking action against racism in the workplace

“There’s racism at the UN and we want it gone” 

A new UN Geneva Working Group on Addressing Racism in the Workplace has been established by the Director-General, and a focal point for diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism has been appointed. Together with staff, the group is now working to locally implement the Secretary-General’s strategic action plan to prevent and address racism in the workplace.


Addressing Racism at UN Geneva

Fight racism



Director-General Tatiana Valovaya said the Organization’s focus had primarily been on states and their human rights obligations towards their citizens and residents. She said it was essential the UN ensured its own “house was in order”.

“Unfortunately, racial discrimination is alive and well at the United Nations,” said Ms. Valovaya. “As surveys have indicated, a great number of staff have experienced various forms of racial discrimination at the workplace. This is unacceptable and is why I have committed to address the issue of racism at UN Geneva.”


Marie Diur, chair of the Working Group and the UN Geneva’s focal point for diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism, explained they were continuing to solicit staff feedback and working on recommendations for Director-General Tatiana Valovaya to prevent and address racism by changing the workplace culture. 

“My one message for everybody is that we are all in this together. Racism is not about black versus white. Our work is about collaborating with respect for one another. Each of us has a role to play in achieving this level of cooperation between colleagues,” said Ms. Diur.

”There is no diversity at all in some services at the United Nations - obviously there is a problem. One of my goals will be to make sure this problem is acknowledged and solved.”

Ideas and recommendations on how the Organization can address racism in the workplace can be submitted per mail.

Fighting racism working group photo