The United Nations in Cairo has called out a local organisation that has pretended to be an official body of the international organisation, awarding titles in the UN’s name.
The ‘International Goodwill Club’ claims to belong to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and was reported by numerous Arab media outlets to have awarded an array of Goodwill Ambassador titles to eight figures from across the region, including Egyptian artist and head of Musicians Syndicate Hany Shaker.
However, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Egypt rejected the claims in a statement on Monday. “The organisation called the ‘International Goodwill Club’ does not enjoy consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations nor has any relation to the UN.”
“The organisation collects large sums of money from people and claims to give them many privileges, including the title of Goodwill Ambassador and diplomatic passports, including to famous artist Hany Shaker,” the statement read.
The UNIC said it previously issued a statement demanding that the ‘Club’ stop using the UN tag and warned against anyone engaging with it. The UN said it has now informed the responsible authorities in Egypt to take measures against the organisation.
According to Shaker’s public Facebook profile, the artist appears not to know that the ‘International Goodwill Club’ bears no relation to the UN. Shaker gives thanks for his title, announcing: “Valuing a long period of artistic and humanitarian giving, the International Goodwill Club at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has selected Shaker.”
According to Shaker’s statement, president of the organisation Tariq Hamdan said that Shaker was “the first in the world to get this title in an unprecedented, one of a kind move”.
This is not the first time a body claiming to represent the UN has purported to award titles to Egyptian figures. Earlier this year, it was reported that a body called the United Nations Organisation for Arts (UNARTS) had selected President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as its nominee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, “for his efforts in spreading peace, saving from Egyptians from imminent danger on 30 June”.
However, it later transpired that the body bears no relation to the UN and is headed by an Egyptian citizen.