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United Nations bans its staff from using words such as ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ regarding Ukrainian crisis.

Image Credit: UN Photo/John Isaac

According to Irish Times, United Nations (UN) has instructed its staff through an email sent on Monday not to use words such as ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ when discussing the Ukrainian war. This move intends to balance the political sensitivities as Russia is considered to be a powerful member state. It holds one of the five permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

In the email, the UN communications department instructed its staff to instead use the words ‘military offensive’ or ‘conflict’ to describe the situation in Ukraine. UN staff have also been instructed not to add Ukrainian flags to their personal or official social media accounts.

Do NOT add the Ukrainian flag to personal or official social media accounts or websites.

Part of the email sent to UN staff last Monday.

The email explains that the reason behind these steps was to avoid ‘reputational risk’.

This is an important reminder that we, as international civil servants, have a responsibility to be impartial. There is a serious possibility of reputational risk that has been flagged by senior officials recently.

Part of the email sent to UN staff last Monday.

The UN did not respond to requests for comments about this email. More details to follow.

Update: On Tuesday morning UN sent another email to all their staff where they disregarded their initial guidance and now allows their staff to use words such as ‘war’ and ‘invasion’ regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war.

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