UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra, who has been under fire for a tweet cheering the Indian armed forces during the event following Pulwama, retains the right to speak in her personal capacity on issues concerning her, according to a UN spokesperson.
When UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors “speak in their personal capacity, they retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them,” said the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric during a daily briefing on Thursday in answer to a question about Chopra.
“Their personal views or actions do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF,” added Dujarric. “When they speak on behalf of the UNICEF, we expect them to adhere to UNICEF’s evidence-based impartial positions.”
He remarked that UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are prominent individuals who have agreed to generously volunteer their time and their public profile to promote children’s rights.
Chopra, who was appointed a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 2010 and 2016 and recently came under fire over a tweet she posted in February amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.
Chopra had posted that tweet soon after Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting air raids that resulted in an escalation in hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces 🇮🇳 🙏🏽
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 26, 2019
Online petitions calling for her ouster from the ambassadorship were launched soon after and have gathered thousands of signatures.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari lodged an official complaint with the United Nations, demanding Chopra’s removal over her “support for war”.
In a letter to the UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore, Mazari accused Chopra of publicly endorsing the position of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in Indian-administered Kashmir.
HR Minister Dr @ShireenMazari1 today wrote a letter to UNICEF chief to remove Priyanka Chopra as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace over her pro-war comments and support to BJP Govt policy of ethnic cleansing/racism/fascism/genocide@UNICEF @UNHumanRights @pid_gov @appcsocialmedia pic.twitter.com/owtnbjSfEX
— Ministry of Human Rights Government of Pakistan (@mohrpakistan) August 21, 2019
At a BeatyCon in the US city of Los Angeles earlier this month, Chopra was confronted by a US citizen of Pakistani origin in the audience, who called her a “hypocrite” for “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan”.
In the video of the confrontation that was posted on Twitter and widely shared, Ayesha Malik is heard saying: “It was kind of hard hearing you talk about humanity, because as your neighbour, a Pakistani, I know you are a bit of a hypocrite, because you tweeted on February 26, ‘Jai Hind [Hail India] #IndianArmedForces””.
Priyanka Chopra tweeted during a time when we were this 👌🏽 close to sending nukes to one another. Instead of advocating for peace she tweeted in support of the Indian army pic.twitter.com/LhbMkOW59v
— Ayesha Malik (@Spishaa) August 11, 2019
India’s recent decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, which gave special rights to the Muslim-majority state, has worsened India’s already fraught relations with Pakistan.