A senior Jamaican diplomat has been appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as United Nations Ombudsman, a newly created position designed to help UN staff to raise matters of concern.Ambassador Patricia Durrant, who has been the Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN since 1995, will serve at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. Ambassador Durant, who has spent over three decades in diplomatic service, also served as Director-General in the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. In establishing the post, the UN General Assembly decided that the Ombudsman would serve for a non-renewable five-year term, and would be ineligible for any other UN appointment after that. The Ombudsman will work independently of any UN organ or official and maintaining strict confidentiality concerning matters in her purview. As Ombudsman, Ambassador Durrant will have direct access to the Secretary-General and records concerning staff, except for records of an ongoing investigation and medical records that are not available without the express request of an individual. She may consider a conflict of any nature related to employment by the UN, including matters pertaining to the administration of benefits, conditions of employment, managerial practices, as well as professional and staff relations. She will facilitate conflict resolution, using conciliation, informal mediation and other means to settle conflicts.