Thursday, April 2, 2009

HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE AS UN PENSIONER IN INDIA

ATTENTION UN PENSIONERS: THANKS TO APRIL FIRST CELEBRATION, OUR UNPA SECRETARY SHRI BALDEV BAJAI'S EMAIL ...@HOTMAIL.COM WAS HACKED AND HE IS TRYING TO RECREATE HIS ESSENTIAL RECORDS. HIS NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: baldev_bajaj@live.com (that is, baldev (underscore) bajaj@live.com
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Here are a few key emails exchanged with UNJSPF & Pension Board members on the appeal for the restoration of full-pension to the 1/3 lump-sum recipients after the commutation period:
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Subject: Fw: UN PENSION FUND - Letter from the Chief Executive OfficerTo: vmuthuswami@hotmail.comCc: "Hans Narula" , "Bajaj Baldev" , "Sandy Sundaram" , "UN JSPF" , "Ramnath Dore" , "Frank Deturris" , "Sergio Arvizu" Received: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 10:00 AM

Dear Mr. Muthuswami,
Thank you for copying me your below email. I noted your sentence on "theconcerns and genuine grievances from some of the pensioners (of 1/3 lumpsum category)" which were
expressed and apparently went unanswered.May I ask you to please forward to me directly any messages or lettersalready sent to the Fund concerning these issues.
Thank you.Best regards.
Bernard Cochem├ęChief Executive OfficerUNJSPF
cocheme@un.org
Visit our website: www.unjspf.org----- Forwarded by Bernard G Cocheme/UNJSPF/NY/UNO on 03/23/2009 01:37 PM
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Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 04:04:22 -0700
From: spsundaram2003@yahoo.caSubject: Re: Fw: UN PENSION FUND - Letter from the Chief Executive OfficerTo: cocheme@un.orgCC: vmuthuswami@hotmail.com; baldev_bajaj@hotmail.com; ramnath.dore@gmail.com; sarojlingam@gmail.com; mdam@bluewin.ch; art.desmit@sympatico.ca

Dear Mr. Cocheme,
It was nice of you to copy your letter to Mr. Muthuswami. I am pleased to take the opportunity of addressing you about the let-down feeling that some of us feel.You may not remember our meeting at the FAFICS Council meeting in Montreal in 2004, when I was much impressed with your directness in answering questions and projecting yourself as the friend and supporter of the interests of the pensioners. That is why I was surprised that there wasn't even an acknowledgement when I wrote to you last year. Probably, it was lost in the mail.
Actually, I had posted a letter to you only 3 days ago, which you will be receiving in a few days. I am, however, pleased to send you an advance copy as an attachment to this email. I shall, no doubt, appreciate your reactions and comments. I am also taking the liberty of sending you a copy of the presentation I will be making at the forthcoming AGM of our Association, AFUNPI. I will naturally be grateful for your patience in going through the 4-page submission and giving me the benefit of your valued comments.Incidentally, I also wish to recall my brief meeting with your predecessor, Mr. Raymond Gieri, when he was on a 1-day mission to ICAO Montreal (in the late 80's I think) . He kindly gave me a couple of minutes during which I told him, "the lump sum would be cleared sometime in the future and what would the Fund do -- either follow the universal practice and restore full pension or continue the deductions beyond; in the latter case, would it be morally justifiable?" (at that time, the actuaries' determination that in 13 years the recovery would be completed, was not common knowledge). Mr. Giery merely said, "Mr. Sundaram, you have a point". Whether he followed up or not, I don't know. I thought I would share that with you.
Kindest regards,
S. P. Sundaram
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From: vmuthuswami@hotmail.comTo: alakhanpal@unicef.org; oadeniyi@unicef.org; carlos.santos@pnuma.orgCC: bajaj_baldev@hotmail.com; spsundaram2003@yahoo.ca; ramnath.dore@gmail.com; merrillcassell@gmail.com; hansnarula@aol.com; pbala1932@gmail.com; kmckenzie@unicef.org; cocheme@un.orgSubject: UN Pensioners appeals to the CEO/UNJSPFDate: Sun, 29 Mar 2009 08:16:33 +0530
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Dear UNICEF friends and colleagues:
Greetings from UNICEF old-timer from India.
It is great to know that there are two UNICEF members serving the UNJSPF board. A number of UN Pensioners both in India and elsewhere who were 1/3 lump sum recipients and are still alive and kicking have appealed that their full-pension be restored after commutation period, in accordance with the following "enlightened" premises:

1. First there is nothing in the regulation and rules, signed documentation etc. to sanction life-time denial of full pension.In fact close scrutiny of the UNJSPF regulations/rules will reveal many critical self-conflicting methods and practices, totally ultra vires with the UN foundational constitution, viz. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Charter. How can a UN outfit enact and practice such rules and methods that maybe seen in conflict with its own foundational constitutional framework? This mystery needs to be resolved.

2. "Luring" pensioners into 1/3 lump sum and recovering this "loan" by paying only 2/3 reduced pension could probably make good investment sense. See UNJSPF rule 43 regarding recovery of such advance payments or indebtedness (that is what the 1/3 lump sum is in its essential nature).

3. In fact, it makes a lot of sense for "luring" pensioners into lump-sum as "loan-investment" and recovering it safely. Thanks to good life style and reasonable disciplines, UN Pensioners are normally live longer than the usual actuarial age of life-expectancy and continue to pay back the lump-sum loan.Even if the pensioner kicks-the-bucket sooner than the actuarial age, never mind: any way the pension is reduced to one-half if there exist any surviving/recognized spouse to claim anything from UNJSPF. In any case, this loan-investment method is safer than the shark-infested wall-street type or AIC-patented stocks and bonds. It is a win for UNJSPF and loss for pensioners in old age! The correct ethical model should be a win-win solution!

4. Many of civilized countries civil service pension schemes around the world, e.g India, Australia, New Zealand etc. and their court judgments have declared that full pension be restored after a pre-determined commutation period. Pension is seen as "valuable right" by these courts.

5. There seems some kind of totalitarian or unilateral approach being followed in the UNJSPF system: the rule provides for appeal to the UN Admin Justice system which is universally known for its delays and mis-carriages; more over why UN pensioners (who are no longer UN employees, dispersed around the globe, and also drawn from so many institutions within the so-called big UN family) should be subject to a system which is basically meant for in-house disputes and operating probably in a dark basement; so, it is a typical unilateral non-starter approach for the UN Pensioners having any problem with the UNJSPF; why not an internationally accepted arbitration process (e.g. UNCITRAL) provided in the case of problems with the UNJSPF.

6. To be truly transparent and accountable, UNJSPF can easily enter into some kind of MOUs with any inter-governmental organizations or with country governments to emphasize/guarantee its readiness to abide by the decisions of any territorial judicial mechanisms in case of dispute redressal. In today's globalised world, with internet connectivity, it is so simple to be honest, transparent, answerable, accountable, truly compassionate, etc. if UNJSPF is prepared to seek out-of-box creative solutions that are not immediately known to those sitting in their small myopic cubicles in its Manhattan First Avenue office.

7. Until this happens, given the perception that international laws are vanishing point of jurisprudence, and because of mis-understood/often mis-placed immunities enjoyed in the name of UN Geneva Convention, many of the territorial judicial systems normally treat the UN and its outfits like UNJSPF as "untouchables" - international pariah.What this means is that, incase of disputes or grievances, the UN Pensioners are left to the goodwill of those who run the UNJSPF or mend for themselves.These are not the characteristics of a model organization or model of good governance to any one.

8. I must also mention at this time about the various pensioners associations around the world: most are at best social clubs, worried about next picnic place or re-union location! In India we have two associations for one country: none wants to unite or merge with a sensible mission-goal, despite members assurance to the leadership to keep their titles and egos in tact! The European associations, I am afraid, despite their renowned reformist high-growth brain power, most seem to suffer from a bout of adult-autism.

9. Finally, our appeal to you as members of the Pension Board: please help make UNJSPF as a progressive, compassionate and accountable model of good governance. Cheers, Best regards to all.
V. Muthuswami/Chennai, India
(Camp: Yogic Center, Escondido, CA, USA)
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From: vmuthuswami@hotmail.comTo: carlos.santos@pnuma.orgCC: bajaj_baldev@hotmail.com; spsundaram2003@yahoo.ca; tnkutty@hotmail.com; ramnath.dore@gmail.com; pbala1932@gmail.comSubject: FW: UN PENSION FUND - Response to Mr Bernard Cocheme's readiness to review our appeals!Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 00:54:48 +0530
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Respected Sir:
In the understanding that you are currently serving the UN Pension Board and a friend of democractic world order based on UDHR, I, as a world citizen UN Pensioner (born in the largest democracy India) and on behalf of fellow pensioners, would like to share with you the concern expressed in the following email sent to Mr Bernard Cocheme, CEO, UNJSPF. Details of our appeals are available in our website: http://unpensionerindia.blogspot.com/ Our appeal to you is simple: please support and ensure the credibility and integrity of the UN & its entities (UNJSPF) as a true and best model of good governance and accountability for the rest of the world.
Best regards,
V. Muthuswami/Chennai, India
(Camp: Escondido, CA, USA 92025)
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From: vmuthuswami@hotmail.comTo: cocheme@un.orgCC: hansnarula@aol.com; bajaj_baldev@hotmail.com; spsundaram2003@yahoo.ca; unjspf@un.org; ramnath.dore@gmail.com; deturris@un.org; arvizu@un.org; pbala1932@gmail.com; nambiar@un.orgSubject: UN PENSION FUND - Response to Mr Bernard Cocheme's readiness to review our appeals!Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 22:58:38 +0530
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Dear friend Mr Cocheme:
First of all, thank you for your prompt response. In respecting your office and your own time, let me try and summarize our appeals to you submitted earlier thru UN SecGen office and also sent directly to your office during the past many weeks. Also, the appeals made on behalf of many UN Pensioners in India are available in our website: http://unpensionerindia.blogspot.com/ and I can separately forward those email appeals should you desire.

1. Despite the "rights" enshrined in Articles 19 & 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and UN Charter itself, the group of Indian pensioners has not been able to seek any reliable information thru your office on the background philosophy and legal basis of NOT restoring the full pension to the 1/3 Lump-Sum recipients, after the commutation period and after completion of full recovery of the lump sum amount + interest on the lump sum over the years. Not only the l/3 lump-sum recipients did not accept/sign off any life-time denial of that part of the pension, nor was it specifically explained in any of the UNJSPF rules, regulations or documentation. This practice is contrary to many enlightened governments' civil servant pension schemes, incl. India, where both the government and courts had ruled to restore the full-pension after commutation period. Hope, it is not that UNJSPF does not favour pensioners living beyond "actuarial age of life-expectancy" and share their experience with the fellow-beings to make this planet a better place to live! (Incidentally, this situation betrays most unhealthy undemocratic censorship of emails from beneficiaries that exist in your office. Please do something before such practices undermine the credibility and integrity of your esteemed office.)

2. It is our understanding that actuarial committees and other advisory groups had favoured the restoration of full pension for 1/3 lump-sum recipients after the commutation period, basically to ensure equity, fairness, and justice among all pensioners; also it was considered to be affordable to implement "equity and justice" within the well-managed and capitalized UNJSPF. It is not known why this recommendation/decision is not implemented until now. Is it administrative lacuna, lack of administrative action or just psychological blockage by convoluting the interpretation of your rule 12(g)?

3. Though not specifically included in our earlier appeals, the following queries were raised time and again within our pensioners group:
(a) why is it necessary to apply the CPI movements of over 2 % effective only from April on any calendar year. Why not implement the increase right from the beginning of the year (i.e. month of January) ?
(b) in the case of lump-sum recipients, this practice is indeed a double-whacky: these category pensioners are also denied any CPI adjustments on the 1/3 portion of pension because this group received the lump sum earlier.
(c) because of the so called immunity (hopefully not, minus responsibility/accountability) enjoyed by UN and its entities, it seems a pity that all common sense approach and all the natural justice elements enshrined in the UDHR are thrown to the winds; and pensioners are at the receiving end as beneficiaries without any voice.
The reasons are not far from seeking: UN Admin. Tribunal system is not effective (e.g. justice delayed, justice denied), nor any internationally acceptable arbitration mechanism (e.g. UNCITRAL) is provided, nor is it a smooth ride to any seek territorial judicial intervention (thanks to the all-embracing immunity shield that seems to shy away all the otherwise available avenues of justice to UN pensioners dispersed around the world); finally our own two Pensioners Associations in India function more like "social clubs", and do not appear to have the courage of conviction to do anything useful to the beneficiaries.
On behalf of my fellow pensioners, I sincerely believe you understand the purpose and sentiments behind our appeals, and also pray and hope that you will review these concerns in a proper perspective and ensure UNJSPF continue to remain as a model for all others.
May we wait to hear from you before long and regards,
V. Muthuswami/Chennai, India
(Yogic Camp: Escondido, CA, USA)(On his behalf and on behalf of UN pensioner in India)
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From: vmuthuswami@hotmail.comTo: spsundaram2003@yahoo.ca; bajaj_baldev@hotmail.comCC: carlos.santos@pnuma.org; alakhanpal@unicef.org; oadeniyi@unicef.org; castellanosa@un.org; cocheme@un.orgSubject: UNPensionersIndia: appeal for restoration of full-pension for 1/3 lump sum recipients after commutation periodDate: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 09:25:16 +0530
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Dear Sandy Sundaram:
Do you really need a socalled official sponsorship to attend and listen to the deliberations in the forthcoming pensioners assns. meeting in Vienna. From what I understand from the UNJSPF Pension Board group that in this great democractically administered system, you have the right to be heard and that should mean attendance, if desired, at the FAFICS meetings as a UNPensioner.
Maybe, we should ask the Pension Board members to help open the doors for you to participate in those meetings, without voting. I am therefore taking the liberty of copying this email request to three of Pension Board members with the request if they can facilitate your attendance at the forthcoming Vienna meeting. Godspeed for your initiative,
V. Muthuswami/Chennai, India
(Camp: Yogic Center, Escondido, CA, USA 92025)

cc: UNJSPF Pension Board Members:
In the absence of harmony and lack of unity among the two socalled UNPensioners Associations in India (I admit I am also member in both these social clubs), some of the public-spirited UN Pensioners in India and elsewhere, have taken the initiative to make the appeals of which details are available in our website: http://unpensionerindia.blogspot.com/ and in the number of emails marked for your kind attention in the recent past. Driven by our honest concern and commitment to do some good to the fellow-pensioners, especially those in Asia and Africa retired at local levels, our senior statesman Pensioner, Mr Sandy Sundaram (retiree from ICAO, Montreal, in the 1980s, now living in Bangalore, India) would like to have an opportunity to attend the forthcoming FAFICS in Veinna, and also explain how this administrative commission & omission could be easily resolved. His attendance would be at no cost to any of your outfits; this trip will be purely personally-financed and I will be glad to share any cost with Mr Sundaram. My appeal to you esteemed Board members and officials, to allow the attendance of Mr Sandy Sundaram, signifying true democratic spirit of our system.If this is agreeable, you may kindly inform Mr Sandy Sundaram, whose email address and mailing address in Bangalore is available in this email.
Thank you, God Bless.
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Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 18:36:27 -0700From: spsundaram2003@yahoo.caSubject: Re: greetingsTo: bajaj_baldev@hotmail.comCC: vmuthuswami@hotmail.com
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Dear Mr. Bajaj,

Thank you for your e-mail. You are so kind.
Yes, I too feel that with the convincing and persuasive appeal to the CEO (If I am able to attend the FAFICS Council Meeting, where CEO usually is present at one of the sessions to answer questions and clarify things, I hope to have a one-on-one talk with him as well as an exchange at the Meeting. I am sure that with all your contribution and moral support, we would not fail to succeed, perhaps even before the next UN Day. Should the CEO reject our Appeal or shows only a lukewarm interest, he should know that the class action suit is only round the corner and he would have to answer all those intrusive questions from the legally trained minds. I am not doing this for us in particular, but for the likes of Praveen, the office "boy" and Prachob, the driver at the ICAO Regional Office long ago and Moses the driver in Addis Ababa. We are our brothers' keeper as the Prophet said.

Yes, I would like to be on the mailing list of UNPA News. Incidentally, years ago, when I was on the Executive Committee of CAFICS in Montreal, I used to read your Bulletin and enjoyed them so much. That is why I was saddened by the fact that there is no co-ordination between our two organizations. For practical and logistical reasons, it is necessary to have two organizations in a country like the size of India, but it is absolutely criminal that our organizations are not on talking terms to coordinate our views and actions. I have told Mr. Janakiraman many times but his one-track mind would not listen.

I am pleased to give you my mailing address, which is:
S. P. Sundaram, 22 First Cross, Sundar Nagar, Bangalore 560 054. Ph: (080) 2345 6938
Cell: 944 981 8802.

I will also try and send you a copy of AFUNPI Directory (which in the normal course of things our two organizations should be exchanging) so that you can know of the contacts of all our members. AFUNPI may not take the initiative, but maybe UNPA should set the ball rolling by initiating action towards co-ordination between our two organizations whose aim is to serve pensioners of the UN family. (My son is in Delhi. I will ask him to contact you at your mutual convenience)

Kindest regards,

S. P. Sundaram
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From: baldev bajaj To: SP Sundaram Cc: Vemlatram Muthuswami Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:31:13 PMSubject: greetings
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indeed i love to read and re=read your note to the Pen Fund CEO - this is a very well written piece and should bring us some good news I need your postal address so that i may share with you copies of UNPA Bulletin and LINK wherein we have published a writeup on restoration of pension - thanks and regards
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