update desk

State Department watchdog alleges bias by senior political appointees over UN Human Rights Council, UNRWA

Members of Congress and the State Department have been calling for Kevin Moley’s resignation.

U.S. State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
U.S. State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. State Department’s watchdog, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), released a 34-page report on Thursday accusing two senior political appointees of mistreatment and bias towards career officials, including interfering in the hiring process related to the position that works with United Nations bodies, including the ones full of anti-Israel bias.

Kevin Moley, assistant secretary for international affairs, declined to fill the position of deputy director for the Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, which works with U.N. bodies like the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), citing that the United States was about to withdraw from the UNHRC.

The United States ended up doing so in June 2018 with then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley citing the world body’s “chronic” bias against Israel as one of the primary factors for the withdrawal.

However, the IG “found evidence that the decision to withdraw was still being debated on the date that Assistant Secretary Moley instructed the [deputy assistant secretary] not to fill the position and that the decision was not formally reached until June. More significantly, though, in August 2018, after the U.S. had withdrawn from the HRC, the position was re-advertised without any substantive change to the position description or vacancy announcement.”

The deputy assistant secretary is not named in the report. The State Department referred JNS to the OIG, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moley’s then-senior adviser, Mari Stull, “raised objection” to the leading candidate for deputy director because she didn’t like “his work on UNRWA issues.”

Another employee told the IG that Moley told him that Stull, according to the report, “did not want the foreign affairs officer to work on human-rights issues because he was not ‘trustworthy’ because of his work on UNRWA and because of his relationship with the gay and lesbian community. Assistant Secretary Moley confirmed to OIG that Ms. Stull had been critical of the foreign affairs officer’s work on UNRWA issues because she believed UNRWA was anti-Semitic, but he denied that he had ever heard Ms. Stull criticize the officer’s connections to the gay and lesbian community.”

The United States defunded UNRWA in September 2018.

Members of Congress and the State Department have been calling for Moley’s resignation.

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