Nationality-based discrimination in the inter/national legal framework: findings from a case study on UNDP and MSF in Kyrgyzstan

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Asanbaeva, Meerim
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The dissertation addresses the issue of nationality-based discrimination in the Human Resources (HR) policies and practices of International Organisations (IOs) and Inter-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) in developing countries, in view of the inter/national legal framework, namely international human rights and labour law. Using the case study of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kyrgyzstan, it finds evidence that both organisations discriminate against their national staff and in favour of their international staff in terms of differences in wages, as well as unequal opportunities in training, networking and career progression (promotion and expatriation). In other words, local/national staff are paid less than their international/expatriate staff for the same work; they have fewer opportunities to receive training and promotion; and they are almost entirely excluded from the possibility of networking in view of achieving expatriation, that is, joining their organisation’s international staff roster. The study finds that this is in violation of UNDP’s and MSF’s own HR rules and regulations, as well as the international (UNDP, MSF) and national (MSF) legal framework within which they operate in Kyrgyzstan. Positive gender-based discrimination is instead evidenced in both organisations’ work in the country. Finally, the dissertation specifies that, given the scope of the study, these findings have to be considered as preliminary, as well as bound to UNDP and MSF in Kyrgyzstan. More research is needed in this little-explored debate, to which the present dissertation hopes to contribute.
Second semester University: University of Nottingham
discrimination in employment, labour law, human rights, international organisation, NGOs, developing countries, Kyrgyzstan