Zalee Harris Advocate to Make Whole, Dr. Yonas Biru 0

Please Help Me: Make Dr. Yonas Biru Whole

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My name is Zalee Harris. I am a black woman. I am a Democrat and I vote. I am a researcher and blogger on Race Relations in America. I recently came across what I consider to be the worst acts of undercover racism in the workplace to have happened on American soil.

Please sign my petition to stop undercover racism at the World Bank and help make Dr. Yonas Biru whole.

An Overview of his story
Dr. Yonas Biru came to the United States as an UN immigrant refugee in 1979. He worked his behind off seeking the American Dream. In 1993, he received a Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University and was hired by the World Bank located at 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The Right Man For The Job

As noted by an independent review jointly commissioned by the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Comparison Program was at the verge of collapse. In 1999, Dr. Biru was handpicked by the World Bank to oversee and turn around one of the most important international programs in the history of the World Bank; the ICP.

Success Against All Odds
In his 2002 and 2003 performance evaluations, Dr. Yonas Biru was credited for turning around the global programs that served locations in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The program that was at the verge of collapse in 1999, by 2003, had become the largest economic statistical endeavor in the world.

From 2001 to 2009, Dr. Biru managed research in critical areas that stabilized and strengthened the ICP. He also developed and coordinated ICP Regional Partnerships and Programs in Asia, Latin America, and Western Asia.

Stellar Employment Performance
By 2014, Dr. Biru’s HR records describe his performance as one that walked on water and his “management accomplishments” were “hagiographic”!

Wrongfully Terminated for applying for a position he was told not to apply for: Everything changed for Dr. Yonas Biru when he expressed interest in applying for the management position that was being vacated by retirement. He had been doing the job anyway but without the pay and without the title.

His managers instructed him not to apply for the position because as his managers told him, "Europeans are not used to seeing a black man in position of power."

Dr. Yonas Biru ignored the position and applied for a managerial position anyway. Almost immediately, the World Bank contracted a white consultant to perform Dr. Biru’s job. Dr. Biru was instructed to do the managerial job and turn over all reports to the white consultant who was interfacing with upper management. In 2009, Dr. Biru was terminated for insubordination. When he filed a discrimination complaint against the World Bank, he learned that although the World Bank was headquartered on American soil, no court system in America could sue it because it was immune to America’s laws.

The World Banks Commits Acts of Fraud to Cover Evidence They Falsified
Under the leadership of the then President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick (appointed by President George Bush), Dr. Biru’s excellent employment performance record was falsified and fraudulently changed to reflect that of someone who did not have managerial skills and that did not get alone or work well with others. This left Dr. Biru unemployable.

Obama's Administration
Disturbed by the blatant injustice, the Obama Administration took an unprecedented step and requested the World Bank to resolve Dr. Biru’s then-pending unlawful termination claim through external arbitration. Zoellick rejected the request.

The 2012 Appropriations Act gave the U.S. President the power to withhold its financial support to the World Bank until it agreed to grant its employees access to independent adjudicative bodies, including external arbitrator if they felt they had been unfairly treated or discriminated against.

Changing of the guard at the World Bank; but the violations of civil and human rights got worst:
Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, retired in 2012. Of all the candidates that President Obama could have selected, he nominated Hillary Clinton’s friend who was someone that supported the Clinton Foundation, a Korean American that later became his golfing buddy named Jim Yong Kim to be the next President of the World Bank. Yong Kim’s claim of “zero tolerance for racial discrimination” gave hope to a possible equitable resolution of Dr. Yonas Biru’s racial discrimination case. That proved not to be the case. Not only did the new president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim ignore all that had happened up to his becoming president, Jim Yong Kim defied threats made to withhold funding from the World Bank – a rule made enforceable by Congress in its 2012 and 2014 Appropriations Acts.

The Battle to restore his identity: Telling his story to anyone that would listen, soon, every civil and human rights leader investigated the claims Dr. Yonas Biru made about the undercover racism he encountered at the World Bank. He was terminated because he ignored instructions not to apply for a manager’s position he was already doing and more than admirably deserved.

A cadre of who's who supports D. Biru:
Members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Treasury, U. S. Legislative Affairs, National Congress of Black Women, House of Representatives, Congressional Black Caucus, Government Accountability Project got involved, investigated, and found everything that Dr. Yonas Biru had reported was true. Forensic reports were submitted to Congress, Civil Rights leaders, the Southern Christian Coalition, and to the World Bank.

The World Bank President is the perpetrator of racist behaviors? Instead of stepping in as the new president appointed by America’s black president making good on a promise of zero tolerance to racism, Jim Yong Kim used every trick in the book to cover up and protect all of the acts of racial discrimination including the civil and human rights violations he and his organization had done to Dr. Biru and used the strong arm of the Tribunal Court of the World Bank to protect him.

Jim Yong Kim lobbied members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other civil rights leaders begging them to stop pestering the World Bank about Dr. Yonas Biru. In some cases, Jim Yong Kim offered money to local civil rights groups that was working on a shoe-string budget. In other cases, Jim Yong Kim told supporters that resolving Dr. Biru’s racial claims would take away much needed resources allocated funds for poor African and Asian countries.

A New Presidential Administration to focus on; the Democrats look the other way
With help from the Obama Administration, Jim Yong Kim convinced 24 members of the Congressional Black Caucus that had signed a petition on Dr. Biru’s behalf to withdraw their signatures.

In November 2016, Congressman (current U.S. Senator) Chris Van Hollen sent a three-page letter to the Obama administration (the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Treasury), with a request to “ensure that the World Bank remedies Dr. Biru’s situation” through external arbitration, pursuant to the 2014 Appropriations Act.

The Treasury’s response was that since “The Bank has opposed external arbitration….the Treasury will not pursue the matter of external arbitration of [Dr. Biru’s] case with the World Bank.”

Senator Van Hollen learned that the World Bank has two sets of rules; one for dealing with blacks and the other for whites. Senator Van Hollen’s office notified Dr. Biru regretfully that “The Senator alone does not have the ability to compel the Treasury or the World Bank” to redress the injustice. Since the unlawful termination in 2009, Dr. Yonas Biru has been without an employment identity, which has prevented him for securing employment; its June 2017.

What’s Next?

With all that has been done to expose these horrible acts of undercover racism committed against Dr. Yonas Biru, there are three viable righteous options that we are pursuing that would make Dr. Yonas Biru whole. They are:

The first option requires an administrative action to settle the case through mediation or settlement. The buck stops with the President of the World Bank, Jim Young Kim.

The second option is for the Trump administration to enforce the US Appropriation Act. No international organization should be allowed to institutionalize racial discrimination on US soil.

The third is the nuclear option. The World Bank’s immunity is a privilege granted by US national law.

The law vests power in the U.S. President to revoke the World Bank's immunity if it is abused. Dr. Biru’s case provides the quintessential silver bullet evidence of the World Bank’s systemic abuse of its immunity privilege. We pray that President Donald Trump has legal and moral authority to use the nuclear option.

Thank you for signing my petition. Your signature will help put new light on this case. I hope you have learned something here. Follow me on Twitter @wtfh_zalee Like my Facebook page at For more information and to receive updates feel free to visit Bookmark, subscribe to my Blog, and visit often. To Reach me immediately, email me at

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