Priyanka has right to speak in own capacity: UN after Pakistan criticism

Actor Priyanka Chopra was under immense criticism from Pakistan for speaking in support of the Indian armed forces in a tweet made in February this year. After Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari wrote to the UNICEF demanding the removal of PC as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a lot was being said and discussed online. Now, putting a rest to all the issues, UNICEF has made its stand clear. In an official statement, a UNICEF spokesperson said that a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador has a right to speak on the issues that concern them and that doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the UNICEF.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at his daily briefing on Thursday that the Goodwill Ambassadors can express their opinions on anything they feel like they want to talk about but when they are speaking on UNICEF’s behalf, they will have to adhere to the ‘UNICEF’s evidence-based impartial positions’.

His statement read, “When UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors speak in their personal capacity, they retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them. Their personal views or actions do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF. When they speak on behalf of the UNICEF, we expect them to adhere to UNICEF’s evidence-based impartial positions.”

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Revealing that UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are the people who have willingly agreed to spend their time for the welfare of children by associating themselves with the organisation, the spokesperson also stressed upon the major roles of the ambassadors. He said, “The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are prominent individuals who have agreed to generously volunteer their time and their public profile to promote children’s rights.”

The matter came into the light when a Pakistani woman asked Priyanka at an event about her tweet made in the support of the Indian armed forces post the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which many CRPF troopers were martyred. The woman alleged that PC has been encouraging the idea of a nuclear war against Pakistan and holds hypocrite views as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

She said, “You are a UNICEF ambassador for peace and you’re encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan. There’s no winner in this… As a Pakistani, millions of people like me have supported you in your business of Bollywood and you wanted nuclear war.”

Priyanka, who was widely praised for gracefully handling the situation, told the woman, “I have many, many friends from Pakistan and I am from India. War is not something I’m really fond of but I am patriotic, so I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments of people who do love me and have loved me. But I think that all of us have a, sort of, middle ground that we all have to walk. Just like you probably do as well. The way that you came at me right now… girl, don’t yell. We’re all here for love.”

Following this, Pakistan wrote to UNICEF and its Human Rights Minister even tweeted to the organisation saying, “@UNICEF needs to remove Priyanka Chopra as its ambassador immediately in the wake of her support for Indian mly (military) and rogue Modi govt. Otherwise it makes a mockery of such appointments. UNICEF should really be more careful on whom it appoints to these honorary positions.” (sic)

It should be noted that Priyanka Chopra never talked about ‘nuclear war’. The 2000 Miss World didn’t say anything beyond the tweet made in the aftermath of the car bomb attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed that killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police personnel and the Indian Air Force counterstrike on the organisation’s base in Pakistan.

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