UNITED NATIONS, Aug 23 (APP):UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are expected to remain impartial when they speak on behalf of the United Nations agency, a UN spokesman said Thursday, when asked about Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra’s pro-war statements while serving as a peace envoy that led Pakistan to seek her removal.
Responding to questions about Ms. Chopra’s open support to the Indian army during the recent conflict with Pakistan, Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said such envoys are prominent individuals who have agreed to volunteer their time and their public profile to promote children’s rights.
“When they speak on behalf of UNICEF, we expect them to adhere to UNICEF’s evidence-based impartial positions,” he told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
“When they speak in their personal capacity, they retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them,” the spokesman said. “Their personal views or actions do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF.”
In a letter written to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari pointed out that Ms. Chopra, who was announced as a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2016, had publicly endorsed the Indian government actions against Pakistan.
“All this goes completely against the principles of peace and goodwill that Ms Chopra is supposed to uphold as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace,” Ms. Mazari said, adding that the actor’s alleged jingoism and support for war undermine the credibility of her position as a UN representative.
“Unless she is removed immediately, the very idea of a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace becomes a mockery globally,” she said, urging the UNICEF chief to immediately de-notify Ms. Chopra as their ambassador.