Dear UN Retirees (who are 1/3 lump recipients)
Probably some of you are aware that a number of retirees submitted a common cause appeal to the Standing Committee of the UNJSPB requesting restoration of full pension once the lump-sum amount + interest get fully recovered by UNJSPF in about 11-13 year period, thus ensuring equity among all pensioners. The Standing Committee turned down the request without even bothering to hear any of the appellants (a requirement under UN Disputes Tribunal) and decreed that the reduced pension shall remain for life.
Disappointed and not convinced of the justifiability of the decision, we have now filed a common cause appeal at the UN Appeals Tribunal as its inaugural case (Case # UNAT 2009-001) of its coming into being with a promise to uphold true justice. Have also appealed for oral hearing when the UNAT is ready to review the case.
Our appeal is based inter alia on the following principles:
1) As UN agency, UNJSPF regulations, rules and procedures/methods should remain consistent with the foundational principles of the UN, viz. UN Charter and UDHR (especially relevant to equity, fairness and Justice).
2) Nowhere in these regulations, forms et al, is there any explicit clause, statement or any mention to indicate life time denial of full pension (for 1/3 lump sum recipients). Is this not a very important element of any rule that should not be left for speculation?
3) Pension commutation being a usual procedure in civil service pension schemes, the provision to "commute" - meaning exchange or substitute for another - cannot remain open-ended for life but specifically quantified and articulated. This is not the case with UNJSPF regulations.
4) Since the lump sum is recovered by way of reduced monthly pension - what should this requirement be called except "indebtedness to the Pension Fund"? Is this indebtedness any different from any money owed to the Pension Fund under Article 43? If this indebtedness is in any manner different , then why is it not finding a separate/special mention in this Article 43?
5) Once the indebtedness to Pension Fund is fully paid, then why should not all pensioners be treated on the basis of equity? Is it something that the lump sum recipients have no business to remain alive beyond the originally estimated actuarial age of life expectancy? Is it not a "remediable injustice" that can be eliminated with reason and good governance?
6) Even the premature death of beneficiaries before they had repaid the lump sum does not drain the fund, since, had they lived their full life, they would have drawn the two-third pension, which is more than the one-third which the Fund doesn't get.
7) Contrary to imagined concerns, by restoring full pension to 1/3 lump sum recipients, no one, i.e., those who did not take the lump sum, will not lose one penny.
8) Under the present procedure, the Fund stands to gain an unconscionable amount of gains -- at the expense of a group of beneficiaries -- against all principles of fairness and morality.
9) Not confusing the above fundamentals with other fiduciary and economic issues, the real "remediable injustice" can always be addressed within the economic and other operational framework, without sacrificing basics - equity, fairness and justice.
Our hope and prayer is that our common cause appeal will be heard expeditiously and real justice is rendered in the not too distant future.
Please do share your comments and views as these could be of help should there be an opportunity (which we have requested) of arguing our common cause appeal.
S.P. Sundaram/V.Muthuswami/G.S.Srinivasan - Chennai, India
Appellants of the Common Cause Appeal and also