Subvertisement of the week

If you pick up this week’s Economist and leaf through the classified ads, you’ll find this one: a job advert for the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  But just a second… surely the UN’s jobs website is here – rather than here, as linked to in the advert?

Ah, those cheeky scoundrels at Avaaz.  The New York Times picks up the story:

The online advertisement that appeared Monday on The Economist magazine’s Web site seemed straightforward enough, seeking candidates for the position of United Nations high commissioner for human rights.

The advertisement, however, was a fake, a protest paid for by Avaaz.org, an online advocacy group. The organization is among a number of human rights organizations, United Nations diplomats and other watchdog groups critical of what they call the lack of transparency in selecting the next commissioner, one of the highest-profile and most delicate jobs in the United Nations hierarchy.

“It is a general problem that top appointments in the United Nations system are often made in back rooms behind closed doors where candidates who meet the lowest common denominator win,” said Ricken Patel, a Canadian who is the executive director of Avaaz.org. “A more open process requires bad candidates to face the test of public scrutiny.” The advertisement, which cost about $10,000, also ran in this week’s print edition of the magazine and carried a disclaimer identifying it as having been written and paid for by the group.

The UN isn’t happy:

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations rejected on Tuesday as “absurd” and “offensive” allegations that it was being secretive in selecting a successor to its outspoken human rights chief, Louise Arbour.