Friday, October 20, 2017

As UN Covers Up Genocides in Cameroon As Before, Here's DPI Nasser Audio, UN Kafka


By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 – The UN is a lawless and wasteful organization which often covers up for genocides like in Rwanda, Srebrenica, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and now Cameroon. On the small but related scale its Department of Public Information has engaged in censorship of the Press raising these abuses, under Cristina Gallach then three time loser Maher Nasser and at least until now Alison Smale. Gallach, who did no due diligence of convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng's illegal events in the UN, evicted Inner City Press after it asked her about her links to Ng. Her interim replacement Maher Nasser, who applied to replace her but lost out again, never even replied to Inner City Press' written request to reverse the restrictions in April 2017. He claims it was responded to orally. So here is audio of his Kafka-esque "response" in August 2017, saying that because Inner City Press once offered to mop the floors of the UN in order to continue having access to puruse the Cameroon or other stories. He said the offer was an admission justifying 18 now 20 months of restrictions. He false claimed he would look into the no-show status of the Egyptian state media his DPI is trying to give Inner City Press' office to. He did nothing in two months. Why? He has taken, with typical UN impunity, to publicly deriding Inner City Press for not being “positive” enough, not only amid the genocide the UN allows and covers up for, but also his DPI's restrictions which hinder Inner City Press from covering it. He lost out to Alison Smale, but apparently has passed along his dubious “wisdom” and prejudice, along with others to be named, to Smale. Smale has not responded in six weeks to Inner City Press' two petitions. On October 18, when Inner City Press politely asked her if she had received the petitions, said yes and she acknowledged the need to show the “courtesy” of a response from her Department. Meaning Nasser, noted troller? More than twenty four hours later, still no response of any kind, even as the Egyptian state media to which Gallach and Nasser purported to give Inner City Press' office, Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, didn't even come into the building, where Akhbar al Yom has asked not a single question for the entire time, more than a year. This is what Nasser means by positive: silent or bought. The irony is, if the UN weren't so lawlessly vindictive Inner City Press wouldn't even know the names of most of these people. So are they serving Antonio Guterres? We'll have more on this. Senior UN officials claim they care about and want coverage of crisis like those in Cameroon, then block Press coverage while taking public money while indulging their prejudices. More than a month ago Inner City Press wrote to UN Department of Public Information chief Alison Smale explaining how the eviction and restrictions imposed by her predecessor Cristina Gallach would result in censorship and a reduction in coverage during the General Assembly Week. There was no response - and has been none since, such that Inner City Press was hindered on October 17 as it covered (Southern) Cameroonians raising questions bout Secretary General Antonio Guterres' praise of Paul Biya, UN cover up of his abuses prospectively during the Central Africa trip Smale wants to spin. And Guterres and his team know, his office has confirmed receipt of this, the Inner City Press has asked the UN "Spokesman, as is relevant here, about the UN Department of Public Information, about human rights violations in Cameroon unacted on by the UN, and about the UN's lack of transparency as identified not only by the Press but also the UN's own Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. The answers were UNsatisfactory, and UN DPI has been entirely unresponsive... Other correspondents could walk around freely; I had to get an escort and minder. Meanwhile my long-time work space sat, for yet another day, unused by the Egyptian state media DPI has tried to assign it to, which rarely comes in and never asks questions. I have repeatedly written to the new head of DPI, without any response at all. I was told that since the former USG evicted Inner City Press, reversal would have to await the new USG. I waited, I wrote, I waited - nothing. Nothing at all. Nor now have there been answers about DPI's planned hiring of outside consultants, and if these would be used in the planned “good-news” coverage of the upcoming trip to the Central African Republic. These are all questions that should be answered, and the Press asking about this, and about Cameroon, Yemen, Myanmar, Western Sahara, Kenya and the UN “irregularities” exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe case should not be targeted and treated differently than other correspondents here. It is a conflict of interest for DPI, admittedly under Smale promoting your image, to control and limit the access of the critical independent press. There should have been rules - the meeting I covered 20 months ago was nowhere listed as closed, I got no hearing or appeal - and it should all now be belatedly reversed, Inner City Press restored to its work space in S-303 and resident correspondent returned." 24 hours, the clock continues to tick. From the very first day of the GA week, an event about migration no less, Inner City Press was arbitrarily banned. And on the Friday of the Week, Smale's DPI minderstold Inner City Press it could not, as other less active correspondents could, speak to participants in the UN's (politicized) meeting about the humanitarian situation, just as it was also restricted in its coverage of Cameroon and other issues. This was raised to Smale the next day, when UN officials and diplomats were working (although many of Smale's "resident correspondents" like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom, Pakistan's Daily Dawn and others didn't even come in). But again from Smale, no reforms, no response. Perhaps this was due to the elections in her former beat, Germany. But these issues are her responsibility; she is being paid for this. Here's our September 23 Smale-mail: "Dear Under Secretary General Smale: This follows up on the request / petition I sent you earlier this month, before the now-concluding UN General Assembly High Level Week. My unjustifiable lack of resident correspondent status, which I had asked be restored before the High Level Week, has resulted for example in me being barred from speaking with attendees outside yesterday's Yemen humanitarian meeting. Resident Correspondents, including those who rarely come in and never ask questions, like Akhbar al Yom, were given access to passes to the 1B level, without escorts. For me, whose resident correspondent accreditation was taken without a hearing or appeal for pursuing the UN bribery story by covering a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room, two separate escorts or minders were required to access the Yemen meeting. While inside the meeting I was told I could stakeout / wait outside the meeting and speak to participants as they left, my DPI minders told me I could not speak with anyone, even diplomats who wanted to speak. I reiterate my formal request to be restored to my longtime shared office S303 (I am willing to help rarely present Akhbar al Yom to relocate to the bullpen or wherever else), and to have my resident correspondent accreditation restored, early this coming week. I can provide any further information, by email, phone or in person. (By contrast, the only event Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom “covered” was the SG - Sisi bilateral, as UNCA “pool;” when I asked DPI's MALU for basic information such as who attended or was observed at the bilat, none was provided.) For your information during this High Level Week I put questions to the foreign minister of Libya, the UN's Libya envoy, the UK minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt (on Yemen), the head of UNRWA, the head of UNHCR (on Burundi), SRSG Louise Arbour (on Libya) and, as you saw, the EC minister and Deputy Secretary General. More could be said, but this should be enough. To continue to restrict my movements in the UN more than other journalist, to keep me out of my long time office such that I can barely and sometimes not download and edit video of these Q&A, in favor of a no-show, no-question state media is UNjustifiable. It should be reversed today, or early next week. Today Saturday I am writing this while covering the Secretary General's bilateral meetings on the 27th floor, if you are in the UN and need any further information. If you don't mind, please confirm receipt of this email." Not even that. Now the UN Security Council won't even hold a single Yemen meeting in September, despite its members' professions of concern. When a Yemen meeting during the UN General Assembly week was held at 8 am on September 22, new UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock introduced as speakers the foreign ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands, representatives of Japan and the UAE, and the UN's dubious envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed. While billed as a humanitarian meeting, the UAE spoke without irony about outside interference. (Yemen's representative spoke in Arabic; Inner City Press streamed Periscope video). To get to the meeting, held in UN Conference Room 5, Inner City Press unlike other no-show reporters like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom was required to get a UN escort or minder, who told Inner City Press it could not ask questions or speak with anyone. This despite UN OCHA telling Inner City Press it could wait outside and speak to people as they left. So the UN's retaliatory eviction of Inner City Press for covering UN corruption now results in it, unlike the Saudi and pro-Saudi media in the meeting, being unable to speak to the participants. This is today's UN - it has been directly raised to the new head of DPI, Alison Smale, without response as she focuses on the election on her previous beat, Germany. Now this, from the UNSC: "The briefing and consultation on Yemen is postponed for next month and we'll have no meeting scheduled tomorrow afternoon." Pathetic. As it this: while Canada joins The Netherlands at the UN in Geneva in calling for an investigation of possible war crimes in Yemen including the Saudi-led coalition's killing of civilians, Canada has continued a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference at the UN on September 21, Inner City Press went early, intending to ask him to explain this incongruity or seeming hypocrisy. Trudeau's spokesman announced that the questioners had been “pre-determined,” but did not explain how. So in a lull after what the spokesman called the last question - would Trudeau be a mediator on Venezuela - Inner City Press asked about Canadian arms sales to Saudi while calling for a probe. At first Trudeau said he was happy to answer the question. Then he said no, he would not reward “bad behavior,” and instead reached out for question in French about day care. (Inner City Press notes that pre-determining questioners is bad behavior. Apparently the CBC journalist who was given the first question agreed to it; the organization only the day before sent an Egyptian state media correspondent as the lone “pooler” in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' meeting with General Sisi.) Eearlier on September 21 when UK minister Alistair Burt came in front of the UN Security Council to speak about accountability for Daesh in Iraq, Inner City Press deferred to a timely question about the referendum in Kurdistan. Then during  lull - identical to that in which it put its question to Trudeau - Inner City Press asked Burt about his quote, about accountability for the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition with UK bombs, that "Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations.” Inner City Press asked how he can say this, given that the Saudis have investigated less than five percent of the killings. Video here. Burt's answer focused on the peace process - what peace process? At least Burt answered, and did not like Trudeau try to call merely asking the question in a lull "bad behavior" - we'll have more on this.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

As UN Covers Up Genocides in Cameroon As Before, Its DPI Hinders Press As Not "Positive"


By Matthew Russell Lee, PeriscopeVideo

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 – The UN is a lawless and wasteful organization which often covers up for genocides like in Rwanda, Srebrenica, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and now Cameroon. On the small but related scale its Department of Public Information has engaged in censorship of the Press raising these abuses, under Cristina Gallach then three time loser Maher Nasser and at least until now Alison Smale. Gallach, who did no due diligence of convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng's illegal events in the UN, evicted Inner City Press after it asked her about her links to Ng. Her interim replacement Maher Nasser, who applied to replace her but lost out again, never even replied to Inner City Press' written request to reverse the restrictions in April 2017. 

He has taken, with typical UN impunity, to publicly deriding Inner City Press for not being “positive” enough, not only amid the genocide the UN allows and covers up for, but also his DPI's restrictions which hinder Inner City Press from covering it. He lost out to Alison Smale, but apparently has passed along his dubious “wisdom” and prejudice, along with others to be named, to Smale. Smale has not responded in six weeks to Inner City Press' two petitions. On October 18, when Inner City Press politely asked her if she had received the petitions, said yes and she acknowledged the need to show the “courtesy” of a response from her Department. Meaning Nasser, noted troller? More than twenty four hours later, still no response of any kind, even as the Egyptian state media to which Gallach and Nasser purported to give Inner City Press' office, Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef, didn't even come into the building, where Akhbar al Yom has asked not a single question for the entire time, more than a year. This is what Nasser means by positive: silent or bought. The irony is, if the UN weren't so lawlessly vindictive Inner City Press wouldn't even know the names of most of these people. So are they serving Antonio Guterres? We'll have more on this. Senior UN officials claim they care about and want coverage of crisis like those in Cameroon, then block Press coverage while taking public money while indulging their prejudices. More than a month ago Inner City Press wrote to UN Department of Public Information chief Alison Smale explaining how the eviction and restrictions imposed by her predecessor Cristina Gallach would result in censorship and a reduction in coverage during the General Assembly Week. There was no response - and has been none since, such that Inner City Press was hindered on October 17 as it covered (Southern) Cameroonians raising questions bout Secretary General Antonio Guterres' praise of Paul Biya, UN cover up of his abuses prospectively during the Central Africa trip Smale wants to spin. And Guterres and his team know, his office has confirmed receipt of this, the Inner City Press has asked the UN "Spokesman, as is relevant here, about the UN Department of Public Information, about human rights violations in Cameroon unacted on by the UN, and about the UN's lack of transparency as identified not only by the Press but also the UN's own Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. The answers were UNsatisfactory, and UN DPI has been entirely unresponsive... Other correspondents could walk around freely; I had to get an escort and minder. Meanwhile my long-time work space sat, for yet another day, unused by the Egyptian state media DPI has tried to assign it to, which rarely comes in and never asks questions. I have repeatedly written to the new head of DPI, without any response at all. I was told that since the former USG evicted Inner City Press, reversal would have to await the new USG. I waited, I wrote, I waited - nothing. Nothing at all. Nor now have there been answers about DPI's planned hiring of outside consultants, and if these would be used in the planned “good-news” coverage of the upcoming trip to the Central African Republic. These are all questions that should be answered, and the Press asking about this, and about Cameroon, Yemen, Myanmar, Western Sahara, Kenya and the UN “irregularities” exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe case should not be targeted and treated differently than other correspondents here. It is a conflict of interest for DPI, admittedly under Smale promoting your image, to control and limit the access of the critical independent press. There should have been rules - the meeting I covered 20 months ago was nowhere listed as closed, I got no hearing or appeal - and it should all now be belatedly reversed, Inner City Press restored to its work space in S-303 and resident correspondent returned." 24 hours, the clock continues to tick. From the very first day of the GA week, an event about migration no less, Inner City Press was arbitrarily banned. And on the Friday of the Week, Smale's DPI minderstold Inner City Press it could not, as other less active correspondents could, speak to participants in the UN's (politicized) meeting about the humanitarian situation, just as it was also restricted in its coverage of Cameroon and other issues. This was raised to Smale the next day, when UN officials and diplomats were working (although many of Smale's "resident correspondents" like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom, Pakistan's Daily Dawn and others didn't even come in). But again from Smale, no reforms, no response. Perhaps this was due to the elections in her former beat, Germany. But these issues are her responsibility; she is being paid for this. Here's our September 23 Smale-mail: "Dear Under Secretary General Smale: This follows up on the request / petition I sent you earlier this month, before the now-concluding UN General Assembly High Level Week. My unjustifiable lack of resident correspondent status, which I had asked be restored before the High Level Week, has resulted for example in me being barred from speaking with attendees outside yesterday's Yemen humanitarian meeting. Resident Correspondents, including those who rarely come in and never ask questions, like Akhbar al Yom, were given access to passes to the 1B level, without escorts. For me, whose resident correspondent accreditation was taken without a hearing or appeal for pursuing the UN bribery story by covering a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room, two separate escorts or minders were required to access the Yemen meeting. While inside the meeting I was told I could stakeout / wait outside the meeting and speak to participants as they left, my DPI minders told me I could not speak with anyone, even diplomats who wanted to speak. I reiterate my formal request to be restored to my longtime shared office S303 (I am willing to help rarely present Akhbar al Yom to relocate to the bullpen or wherever else), and to have my resident correspondent accreditation restored, early this coming week. I can provide any further information, by email, phone or in person. (By contrast, the only event Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom “covered” was the SG - Sisi bilateral, as UNCA “pool;” when I asked DPI's MALU for basic information such as who attended or was observed at the bilat, none was provided.) For your information during this High Level Week I put questions to the foreign minister of Libya, the UN's Libya envoy, the UK minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt (on Yemen), the head of UNRWA, the head of UNHCR (on Burundi), SRSG Louise Arbour (on Libya) and, as you saw, the EC minister and Deputy Secretary General. More could be said, but this should be enough. To continue to restrict my movements in the UN more than other journalist, to keep me out of my long time office such that I can barely and sometimes not download and edit video of these Q&A, in favor of a no-show, no-question state media is UNjustifiable. It should be reversed today, or early next week. Today Saturday I am writing this while covering the Secretary General's bilateral meetings on the 27th floor, if you are in the UN and need any further information. If you don't mind, please confirm receipt of this email." Not even that. Now the UN Security Council won't even hold a single Yemen meeting in September, despite its members' professions of concern. When a Yemen meeting during the UN General Assembly week was held at 8 am on September 22, new UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock introduced as speakers the foreign ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands, representatives of Japan and the UAE, and the UN's dubious envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed. While billed as a humanitarian meeting, the UAE spoke without irony about outside interference. (Yemen's representative spoke in Arabic; Inner City Press streamed Periscope video). To get to the meeting, held in UN Conference Room 5, Inner City Press unlike other no-show reporters like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom was required to get a UN escort or minder, who told Inner City Press it could not ask questions or speak with anyone. This despite UN OCHA telling Inner City Press it could wait outside and speak to people as they left. So the UN's retaliatory eviction of Inner City Press for covering UN corruption now results in it, unlike the Saudi and pro-Saudi media in the meeting, being unable to speak to the participants. This is today's UN - it has been directly raised to the new head of DPI, Alison Smale, without response as she focuses on the election on her previous beat, Germany. Now this, from the UNSC: "The briefing and consultation on Yemen is postponed for next month and we'll have no meeting scheduled tomorrow afternoon." Pathetic. As it this: while Canada joins The Netherlands at the UN in Geneva in calling for an investigation of possible war crimes in Yemen including the Saudi-led coalition's killing of civilians, Canada has continued a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference at the UN on September 21, Inner City Press went early, intending to ask him to explain this incongruity or seeming hypocrisy. Trudeau's spokesman announced that the questioners had been “pre-determined,” but did not explain how. So in a lull after what the spokesman called the last question - would Trudeau be a mediator on Venezuela - Inner City Press asked about Canadian arms sales to Saudi while calling for a probe. At first Trudeau said he was happy to answer the question. Then he said no, he would not reward “bad behavior,” and instead reached out for question in French about day care. (Inner City Press notes that pre-determining questioners is bad behavior. Apparently the CBC journalist who was given the first question agreed to it; the organization only the day before sent an Egyptian state media correspondent as the lone “pooler” in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' meeting with General Sisi.) Eearlier on September 21 when UK minister Alistair Burt came in front of the UN Security Council to speak about accountability for Daesh in Iraq, Inner City Press deferred to a timely question about the referendum in Kurdistan. Then during  lull - identical to that in which it put its question to Trudeau - Inner City Press asked Burt about his quote, about accountability for the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition with UK bombs, that "Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations.” Inner City Press asked how he can say this, given that the Saudis have investigated less than five percent of the killings. Video here. Burt's answer focused on the peace process - what peace process? At least Burt answered, and did not like Trudeau try to call merely asking the question in a lull "bad behavior" - we'll have more on this.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On UN Reform, Inner City Press Asks SG Guterres of Sexual Abuse in CAR, Cameroon


By Matthew Russell Lee, PhotosVideo


UNITED NATIONS, October 18 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced his Central African Republic trip on October 18, Inner City Press asked him about the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation - and about Cameroon. He answered on the former. Video here

From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on sexual abuse and exploitation, even in the last month, there have been at least four separate reports of alleged abuse by peacekeepers from Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan. So, I'm wondering, do you think your new approach is yet having an impact? What...would you repatriate some, some battalions if they don't punish them? And, since everyone else is [asking a non-CAR question], I need to ask you about Cameroon. I'm sorry to ask you, but since October 1, there have been hundreds of people killed there. Your envoy, François [Louncény] Fall, has said he was going to go but hasn't gone. People are extremely concerned. And I'm just wondering, are we missing something? Are you preventing conflict in this instance or, or what is the UN doing? Thank you. 

Secretary-General:  First of all, we have already repatriated one of the forces that was present in the Central African Republic, so these are things that we are taking very seriously. And this visit with our Victims' Rights Advocate is exactly to demonstrate, and to demonstrate to the countries, our total commitment. And I have to say that I am having a very positive response. We have presented to Member States, namely troop-contributing countries, a compact with a number of very important things to ensure prevention and also to ensure training and to make sure that there is no impunity. I can announce that 72 countries have already signed our compacts and 19 are seriously considering it, in the process of preparing the signature, and that 57 Heads of State have joined the Circle of Leadership to commit themselves to fight sexual exploitation and abuse.So, we are building an alliance with Member States in order to make sure that we all work together for the zero tolerance policy to become a reality. This, of course, will take time to produce results on the ground. There is a lot to be done, but we are totally committed to this policy and to achieve results in it. Spokesman:  [France 24]. France 24:  "Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General." A month earlier on September 13 when Guterres held his pre-General Assembly week press conference, the majority of questions were about Myanmar. Inner City Press asked about reform, in light of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdictsand new reports of peacekeepers' sexual abuse. Guterres responded on the latter. From the UN's transcript: Inner City Press: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for readouts of your diplomatic merry-go-round upstairs during the GA week.  I want... you speak the lot about reforms. It's something I tried to ask at the stakeout but thanks for giving me the question. This case of John Ashe, who I know has deceased~-- may he rest in peace, but there was a court decision this summer in which basically it painted a picture of the UN as being quite susceptible to bribery. There was a Chin... a Macau-based businessman, Ng Lap Seng, was found guilty. So, I won't go through it all except to say, I wanted to know what your view of whether the UN... beyond just some reforms to the PGA's (President of the General Assembly) office, whether it has instituted enough reforms. Your... your... the former PGA yesterday sitting here said that there are crows picking around the side of the UN. There are a lot of business interests... basically, they try to buy their way into the UN by hooking up with a small state.  So, I wanted to know whether your reforms will address that. And there's also a Code Blue report out today about sexual abuse where they say that, of cases they've uncovered, many of them are not disclosed in the conduct and discipline website. What's your plan during this GA week to try to address the sexual abuse issue of peacekeeping? Secretary-General:  Well, in addition to the sexual abuse, as you know, we have taken already a number of measures. A global victims advocate was appointed, and four victims advocates were appointed in the four situations that are more dramatic in several African contexts.  We are preparing a compact to be signed with Member States in order to make sure that there is effective commitment in relation to this. I'm creating a circle of leadership with Heads of Government and State to assume engagement of states in making sure that everything is investigated properly. And so, we are really committed to make the best we can in this area, knowing the difficulties and the problems and sometimes even the... especially, my main concern is with the victims that sometimes have an enormous problem in coming with their cases because of the risks that they might face in different conditions with the community or even with the country or even if the UN Mission is not properly organised. So, we are deeply committed to that.  But the best protection in relation to abuses is the whistleblower policy protection. We have introduced a first group of measures to enhance the whistleblower protection when I assumed functions immediately in January. So, it's probably my first measure.  And after that, we have introduced a number of other reforms, which I believe are bringing our whistleblower protection policy to the state of the art. And if that's not the case, if there are other things to be suggested, we are ready to introduce them, because that is the best guarantee that people can detect and denounce things that happen and that they will be protected if they do so. This is, for me, an absolute must and the best possible guarantee an organisation can have in relation to the risks of abuse of power or abuses of any other kind or of corruption or whatever.  So this is a big concern for me, and I think we are acting as we can but with total determination to address the problem." We'll have more on this.

As ICP Tries to Cover DSG's Speech on Africa Week, UN Does Not Provide Minder It Requires


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, October 6– Twenty months ago, acting against Press coverage of Ban Ki-moon's links to UN corruption cases, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) had Inner City Press physically ousted from the UN.  Audio here. 
 Since then an UNrelenting campaign of harassment by UN Security (DSS) and the requirement that Inner City Press unlike other media have minders to stake-out public events in the UN has continued.  

On October 17 to cover an Africa Week speech by Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed at 3 pm, Inner City Press showed up well before at the DPI Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit to get the still required minder. But the office was empty, and remained so well after 3 pm despite multiple messages. Six weeks of petitions to the new head of DPI have still not been responded to. This is censorship. On October 6 to cover Mohammed's speech about changes to the development system, UNlike other journalists Inner City Press had to go get a Department of Public Information minder. Then as it covered or tried to cover the meeting, UN Security demanded to see its badge, wrote down information and conferred with others while correspondents who rarely come in and never ask questions breezed and in one case rolled by. Under these conditions, of censorship targeted for covering UN corruption, Inner City Press nevertheless was approached by a number of Permanent Representatives and other sources with concerns. Inside the meeting, the US spoke against duplication and waste; Russia demanded to know what the authority is, to shift the resident coordinators away from UNDP, citing GA document A/51/950 and GA resolution A/52/12. It's a question Inner City Press first covered, here - but is now constrained from covering. No response from the new head of DPI, Alison Smale. Another report is due in December. Rwanda as the last speaker noted Mohammed going all over to consult on these changes; good. But what about the UN's absurd and unseemly censorship? She heard, for the African Group, from Egypt to whose state media Akhbar al Yom, which rarely comes in and never asks questions, the UN is trying to give Inner City Press' long time office, and continue to restrict it. We'll have more on this.  On September 12 as Inner City Press went to cover Secretary General Antonio Guterres' speech on Dag Hammarskjold's death in the General Assembly lobby, a UN Security officer stopped it from entering, immediately after another correspondent had answered. The officer's supervisor said that "Protocol" told Security to specifically stop Inner City Press. But an official from Protocol on the scene denied it was them. So who was it? The day before, Inner City Press exclusively covered a "split" between Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, in the murky process of picking a new leader of UNFPA; also, Inner City Press formally petitioned Guterres' new head of Global Communication (f/k/a DPI), Alison Smale, who has not responded. Or has she? This must be fixed. On August 29 as Inner City Press covered the UN Security Council debate in the run-up to an emergency meeting on North Korea, an Ambassador walked down the second floor. A slew of correspondents took off in pursuit, including "non resident correspondents" who only come in for North Korea meetings. While awaiting the end of the double standard between it and other UN-favored correspondents, it seemed obvious to Inner City Press it must be treated like other non-resident correspondents. But no - a UN Security officer in front of the ECOSOC chamber, after letting other non-resident correspondents by, stepped out and stopped Inner City Press. This is pur censorship, for covering the UN's (expanding) corruption. On August 28, as Inner City Press with its still required DPI minder / escort covering the UN General Assembly meeting on South South Cooperation, a UN Security supervisor had the DPI minder order Inner City Press to stop filming and covering - from a roped-in stakeout. When Inner City Press asked the UN Security officer for his name, he refused (so, this Vine video), finally saying "You talking to me?" then walking off. Further requests for the UN officer's / censor's name were not responded to when raised to DPI, including Darrin Farrant who's been at the right hand of three DPI Under Secretaries General in a row. Incoming USG Alison Smale is going to have to deal with this censorship, these double standards. This as UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to answer how events held in the UN by groups show to be connected to now conficted Ng Lap Seng are vetted and paid for. The UN is corrupt. "New" UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on May 25, told Inner City Press that his reform proposals are public. But Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to give Inner City Press even a copy of Guterres' budget speech, much less a chart of who he has hired on the 38th floor. Later on May 25 an NGO representative - who wrote to Dujarric to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN - was allowed through the turnstile onto the UN's second floor, where Inner City Press cannot go without one of Guterres' minders. This is a new low, after Guterres put out a statement that "on World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all." What about the UN's crackdown on the Press, without hearing or appeal, and the crackdowns of WIPO and FAO Inner City Press has asked the UN about, on before of the Free UN Coalition for Access whose sign DPI threatened to tear down, before evicting Inner City Press without a hearing or appeal? We'll have more on this. For now, 7-minute video here.

  Petition here. On the afternoon of April 26 to cover a UN Security Council meeting about peacekeeping in Africa, Inner City Press unlike other media was required to get a minder, which was not immediately available. After several Ambassadors spoke to Inner City Press, about that meeting, Western Sahara, Syria, North Korea, the UN's lack of reform and other issues, the DPI minder or escort told Inner City Press it had to leave. This as Morocco state media, that used to work for the UN, walked up and down the second floor freely, along with other correspondents. This came after Inner City Press was banned in the morning from an "open" meeting of the Burundi Peacekeeping Commission, which it covers; it asked holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric without response. While DPI "Officer in Charge" Maher Nasser's lone response has been "Matthew U have same access as 3000 other journalists," that is false. As simply one example, on April 25 when the UN Security Council met on Western Sahara, Morocco state journalists were allowed free access up and down the second floor of the UN, and Inner City Press was not. On April 26, despite claims by DPI that DSS "gives priority" at the metal detectors, there was a single long line and Inner City Press despite arriving early was late to cover the UN Security Council. It appears that the DPI executive who use accreditation as their personal or national way to settle scores don't even watch the UN noon briefing, where Inner City Press asks the most questions. Or maybe that's the reason for these ongoing restrictions and threats or worse. We'll have more on this. Another new low: after a few days of Inner City Press using a table left by the UN in the UN lobby to work, including editing videos of Antonio Guterres' spokesman's non-answered about censorship in Cameroon, on April 18 the UN Department of Public Information which evicted Inner City Press for reporting on corruption told it "multiple people" want it to stop using the table. On what basis? If UN staff and others use it? Apparently the goal is to, post-eviction, make Inner City Press disappear, or to stop it from being contacted by sources about UN corruption. A diplomat, told of DPI's "disgusting" statement Requests have been made to the top floor of the UN. Watch this site. Also, unlike other media, now Inner City Press has a "witching hour" of 7 pm, after which its pass does not work. This meant, for example, that the "Peace Is" event in the General Assembly lobby, ironically overseen by the Department of Public Information and its Officer in Charge Maher Nasser, Inner City Press could only cover until 6:56 pm, in the middle of a performance of flutes and dancers. Periscope video here. The Officer in Charge has still not substantively responded to the straight forward requests submitted to him in writing 11 days ago. We'll have more on this.

On Myanmar, ICP Asks UK If UN Is Doing Enough, DPR Allen Eager To Hear Feltman


By Matthew Russell Lee, photosvideo

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- The UN's failure and duplicity in Myanmar is now fully on display. Just after Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the second time defended long discredited UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien, who is accused on the record of retaliating against UN staff for raising the plight of the Rohingya, the UN with less fanfare has said she will belatedly leave the country by the end of October. Inner City Press addressed this on Canadian TV on October 12, here, then asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here and below. 

On October 18, Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen about Myanmar, Periscope here, from the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Is the Council going to get a briefing by Mr. Feltman after his trip, and how do you assess the Note to Correspondents that he put out? Do they have a new resident correspondent? Did he get enough access? Is there progress being made on Myanmar by the UN? Amb Allen: I’ve read the same things that you’ve read from Jeff Feltman. I haven’t spoken to him personally yet; I look forward to an opportunity to do so. The Council’s discussed Myanmar regularly. By regularly, I mean over the past weeks – not least at UK instigation - and most recently, on Friday. So, I’m sure the pace of conversations will carry on. I don’t have a specific date for you on when that will be, but these conversations need to continue because the situation remains appalling. You know, I think there are now over about 585,000 refugees in Bangladesh, so we continue to call for an end to the violence there. We continue to say it’s vital those refugees are able to return, and we need full humanitarian access, particularly in Rakhine state, and particularly by those agencies able to meet those very pressing needs, which is essentially the UN family." On October 17, Inner City Press asked the lead UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about any progress in replacing Lok Dessallien, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'm reading the note to correspondents.  Did you address this idea of the replacement, either Resident Coordinator or an Assistant Secretary-General?  And, on that, I wanted to ask whether you would confirm or deny that the UN proposed Mr. Magdy Martínez-Soliman of UNDP [United Nations Development Program] as Assistant Secretary-General, Myanmar and, if so, what the Government's response was. Spokesman:  No.  As you know, we will… we announce replacements when they're official, whether it's senior appointments, RCs [Resident Coordinators], whatever.  There are always rumours and things flying around, so I'm not going to start commenting on names that may or may not have been floated.  As we mentioned, Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien will be leaving at the end of the month.  When we have a replacement to announce, we shall do so. Inner City Press: But in… I mean, in this long note to correspondents, is it fair to say that this was one of the topics?  And, if so, what was… where does it stand?  It's a question. Spokesman:  As I said, we will announce a replacement when we're ready to announce.  As with every Resident Coordinator, not just in Myanmar, in every country there's a Resident Coordinator, there needs to be an agreement, an agreement, with the Government for that person.  So when we're ready to announce, we will do so." On October 13, penned in staking out the UN Security Council's closed Arria formula meeting on Myanmar, Inner City Press asked one of the origins of the problem, Ban Ki-moon, if there should be a UN Assistant Secretary General in Myanmar, replacing Ban's Vijay Nambiar (who covered up killings there as he did in Sri Lanka). Ban just waved, video here. Ban's brother Ban Ki Ho has done business in Myanmar. After the meeting, which despite being closed at least one hand-picked "super NGO" attended and tweets photos from, Kofi Annan appeared for a stakeout (photos here) - accompanied by former (and disgraced) UN official Alan Doss, still famous for the nepotism Inner City Press exposed, before being evicted and now restricted. He's with the Kofi Annan Foundation which, like The Elders with Ban Ki-moon, has been silent on the killings in Cameroon. We'll write the Doss story separately. Here's Annan's statement at the stakeout, before his and Ban's and now Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric hand-picked questions (Annan did not answer Inner City Press' quite audible question about the UN's own performance) - "I’ve had a very good discussion with the Council on the situation in Rakhine, and I focused mainly on the report of the Rakhine Commission, which I had the privilege of chairing. There were 9 of us: six from Myanmar, and three internationals. But we managed to produce the report. We think it’s a strong report, constructive and honest. At the meeting this afternoon, it’s clear that everybody agrees on what needs to be done in the short term: stopping the violence; getting humanitarian assistance to those in need; and eventually for the dignified and voluntary return of those who have left and are in Bangladesh. This is not going to be easy. They will only go back if they have a sense of security and confidence that their lives will be better. We, in the recommendation indicated that they should not be put in camps, they should be allowed to go back to their villages, and they should be helped to rebuild and reconstruct. The report covers a wide range of activities, as I’m sure you’ve seen, from economic and social development to inter-communal dialogue, to education, health, freedom of movement and above all, on the key question of citizenship and verification which has been a real problem for the Muslim community. As you know the State Councilor accepted the report and indicated they will implement it. She set up an inter-ministerial committee to work on the implementation. Just before I left Geneva I met with the minister chairing the inter-ministerial group leading the implementation of the report. She also intends to set up an expert group to help advise the implementation of the recommendations and this would also include international experts and hopefully that would also give the possibility for dialogue between the international community and Myanmar." From the October 12 transcript: Inner City Press: now it's said that… that Renata Lok-Dessallien is leaving by the end of October.  Having… since the Secretary-General so recently said he fully supports her, what's the connection between that and what seemed to be a… has a replacement been named?  What explains her leaving at this time?  Is it Mr. Feltman's mandate to… to get the Government to… to accept a particular replacement, to accept an Assistant Secretary-General?  And… and what changed between the… the announcement by the Secretary-General that he fully supported her and her decision now to leave by the end of the month? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, first of all, we had announced, even as early as the spring at this very briefing, that we expected to rotate Ms. Lok-Dessallien over the course of this year, and we've been trying to make the appropriate arrangements.  We are now closer to that stage.  She has been there for 3 years and 10 months, which is actually a fairly long time for her to be in one position. And the Secretary-General, of course, continues to support her fully while she goes about her job.  But, at some point, she will be back at a different posting, and so her time is ending. And the regular rotation of that position will go on. Inner City Press: But when you… when you say… when you say you're closer to it, has… has… does the UN have a candidate that… that Mr. Feltman will be arguing for?  And also, I guess it just seems like, if the reason to not have moved her out in June was that there was no replacement in place, there's still not a replacement in place.  So, what changed? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, there are times when we announce our replacements.  We'll… you'll know it when we announce it, and we should announce it at some point." Then Inner City Press:  I understand you don't have a name yet on that, but does the Secretary-General believe that it should be at the Assistant Secretary-General level… General level as proposed?  And does he have any view whether, in retrospect, the ending of the mandate of… was… was then Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar… was well timed in terms of the UN system?  I understand that was a Member State decision, but given what's happened since, what is… what has he learned in terms of UN reform about that decision? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding that, as you yourself pointed out, this was a decision taken by Member States.  We respect that decision.  We're going to continue to do our work on Myanmar.  And, as you see, we raised it up at high levels regardless.  The Secretary-General himself, as you know, has taken this up, including directly with the Security Council.  So, we're continuing to express what our concerns are, even without that position in place.  And of course, regarding Ms. Lok-Dessallien, this is, like I said, an effort that's been under way for some time now." Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre if France things there should be a UN ASG in Myanmar, without answer, video here. The UK hasn't addressed the questions. We'll have more on this. As if to cover up this failure, Guterres' spokesman in New York Stephane Dujarric late on October 11 announced that lame duck Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman will visit Myanmar for five days starting October 13. The goal it seems is to get Myanmar's government to agree to an Assistant Secretary General replacing Lok-Dessalien, or at least to agree to a new Resident Coordinator. Inner City Press opines, maybe Myanmar can get Sid Chatterjee from Kenya, where Sid was given the Resident Coordinator job by his own father in law Ban Ki-moon and has supported the government even as it stole an election, and interfered in South Sudanese politics. We'll have more on this. The UN's failure amid Myanmar's murder and displacement of the Rohingya, on display today, was also pronounced under 2007-2016 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his “Special Advisor” on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar. (Guterres' holdover spokesman Dujarric, we note, defended all of this failure.) Once Ban Ki-moon, whose brother Ban Ki-Ho's mining in Myanmar Inner City Press exposed while getting evicted from the UN under Ban, gave the Myanmar post to Nambiar, Ban refused to listen to anyone else on the issue. And Nambiar, in turn, allowed his eyes and ears on the ground to be one Marianne Hagen. She failed totally on the Rohingya issue, obsessed for example with the Kachin Independence Army. But there has been no accountability. [Inside UN headquarters, this is similar in structure to the lack of accountability of Ban Ki-moon for corruption, and smaller scale but related his head of DPI Cristina Gallach for censorship, and DPI long termers like Darren Farrant, Hua Jiang and Maher Nasser - except that they're still here, controlling access.] We'll have more on this.When belatedly the UN Security Council heard of Myanmar and the Rohingya, before the meeting Inner City Press asked the representatives of the UK, Sweden and France about the UN Country Team's performance, or under-performance, under Renata Lok-Dessalien. Video here. On October 5, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric more about Dessalien. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: again about Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien, in this case, saying that she suppressed a report about the UN's role in Rakhine State.  And it has, again, quotes from people that work for the UN, saying that…  that the…  the Human Rights Up Front, which was announced with some fanfare by your previous Secretary-General you spoke for, has not been implemented.  So I wanted to ask, just factually, does the report exist?  Did she suppress it?  and his statement that he, the SG, stood behind her, while…  while, obviously, a good thing to stand behind your officials, seems to have sent a message to staff that, even if you speak up and say my supervisor retaliated against me for raising human rights in an internal UN meeting, that the Secretary-General will, out of hand, reject your claims and side with your boss.  How would you respond to that? Spokesman:  Okay.  So, let's take the granular first.  I don't agree at all with your analysis.  If people have grievances, there are all sorts of internal systems they can go through.  They can also…  there's a very strong whistleblower protection that's available to every staff member of this organisation.  The Secretary-General does stand by Renata Lok-Dessallien, the Resident Coordinator and the team that she leads in Myanmar.  There was a report.  It was not spiked in any way.  It was presented to the UN country team in April, and I think, far from suppressing information or censoring ourselves, I think, in our dialogues with the Myanmar authorities, the UN system has consistently urged the leaders of Myanmar, whether the military or civilian leadership, to uphold their responsibilities.  I think, if you look at the public statements from the Secretary-General, if you look at the public statements earlier this year from the Resident Coordinator, and from the team, I think they have been clear and to the point.  We engage with the authorities of Myanmar as we engage with the authorities in any country.  We engage constructively with them.  Engagement does not mean that we lose our principles.  On the contrary, I think we stand strong on our principles.  I think the Secretary-General, in his statement to the Security Council, whether by letter or in present to the security…  excuse me, in his statement that he did in person to the Security Council, was extremely clear about his message to the Myanmar authorities.  And we will continue to be clear both in our public statements and in our private conversations with the authorities. Inner City Press:  So just…  thanks.  The Guardian quotes a UN official in Yangon, quote, “Human Rights Up Front isn't being implemented.  It just isn't.  They can say that they are ticking some boxes, but, in terms of actions that lead to results, we're seeing nothing.”  And the other…  I just wanted to…  because there is a perception.  You're saying that, if staff go internally, then the Secretary-General won't automatically side with their supervisor.  But, if they go public…? Spokesman:  This is not…  this is…  the statements that I'm making I've…  have to do with the attacks that the Resident Coordinator has been subject to, the attacks that the UN team in Myanmar has been subject to.  Let's not forget where responsibility lies in terms of protecting people.  It lies with the Government. That's where the responsibility lies.  Any assessment of our public statements in the last year, in the last few months, have been clear in us raising our concern about the situation, the human rights situation, in Rakhine State, about the lack of humanitarian access.  I think we have been very clear.  Now, current, past staff members, people talk to the press.  That's their business.  I think we've said what we have to say." On September 29, after a BBC report which featured Lok-Dessalien's former chief of staff saying staff were retaliated against for raising human rights, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman if these allegations of retaliation will be investigated. Apparently not - the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, insisted that Guterres stands behind Lok-Dessalien. This is NOT whistleblower protection, and discourages people from coming forward. (As does the UN Security surveillance camera above the UN media bullpen area, which Inner City Press asked about and Dujarric reformed to answer on, video here). After the briefing, Dujarric's office mailed out: "The United Nations strongly disagrees with allegations against the UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien. The Secretary-General has full confidence in the Resident Coordinator and her Team. The UN has consistently and strongly focused on protection of human rights and inclusive development on behalf of all the people of Myanmar, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or citizenship status. The Resident Coordinator has been a tireless advocate for human rights, conflict prevention, and humanitarian and development assistance in Rakhine State. She has drawn attention to rights abuses and called for credible investigations; advocated against incitement to violence; and supported efforts to promote inter-communal harmony. The UN in Myanmar, led by the Resident Coordinator, works with a wide array of government and non-government partners to help enhance Myanmar’s capacities to tackle root causes of conflict, to strengthen democratic institutions, to expand access to justice and to reduce poverty. Human rights stand at the center of everything the UN does, and this includes the rollout of the Human Right Up Front by her team." Right.  Senior UN officials exclusively tell Inner City Press that in the prior months, Guterres repeatedly rejected detailed recommendations made directly to him by some of his officials to become more active on the crisis. The officials tell Inner City Press that Guterres responded that for the UN to become more active might create problems for "The Lady," Aung San Suu Kyi, and the military. So the UN stood by, as it did in Sri Lanka in 2008-2009 and in Rwanda before that, always with an excuse. There was even a ten point plan presented early on to Guterres, on which he never acted. On September 25, UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen in the Council said, "Burma needs to allow in humanitarian aid from the UN... The humanitarian needs inside Rakhine vastly exceed the Red Cross’s activities. Only the UN and its partners can provide life-saving aid.... There needs to be a process so that those who fled can register as refugees and return home safely, even if they don’t have documents. Burmese authorities should participate with the UN fact-finding mission. The situation in Burma strikes many of us around the table with particular poignancy… We want to see further progress to democracy, and we want Burma to thrive…this crisis now casts a deep shadow over Burma and its international reputation…Should they fail to do so, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history, and this Council will be ready to take further action." After Allen, Nikki Haley said: "We have seen images of acts no person should ever have to endure. We have seen women and children fleeing their homes with only the clothes on their backs…we’ve heard reports of men, women and children rounded up, detained, and some brutally killed…a baby who died fleeing violence in Rakhine States. I’ve also met with Burma’s national security advisor. We’ve supported regional efforts to de-escalate the violence….and still, the exodus out of Burma continues while the government refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. I condemn violence against other minority communities in Rakhine. We cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese authority what they appear to be: a campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority. The Burmese government claims it is battling terrorists. If this is true, let them allow media and humanitarian aid in to back up their claims.... The government has a responsibility to restore the rule of law and prevent attacks by citizens in its name. An already dire situation has been made even worse by some rhetoric coming from official channels. The time for diplomatic words has passed. We must now consider action against Burmese military figures. The Burmese military must respect human rights. Those accused should be removed from command and prosecuted. I’d like to appeal to the goodness and hope for the future that exists in the hearts of the majority of you. I know you’re sickened by the images of violence. The goal of an open, democratic Burma is still possible. Hold fast to that vision. Don’t give up on it. Every Burmese man, woman and child is a child of God." On September 18, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: In Myanmar, I heard from some people that work in the Department of Political Affairs [DPA], and I wanted to get you to respond to this, the idea being that the Secretary-General has been urged for some time, in fact months, to be more vocal or be more active on the issue of the plight of the Rohingya and that, at least at an earlier stage, his analysis was that this might put Aung San Suu Kyi in a difficult decision with the military.  Is that an accurate depiction?  And, if so, has the plight changed so much, or does he think he might have gotten involved earlier? Spokesman:  I would say it's an accurate description.  I think anyone who would have read or seen the Secretary-General's statements on the situation in Myanmar over the last two weeks could only say that he's being vocal and being extremely vocal on the situation.  There is a time for diplomatic engagement. There's a time for speaking out more loudly.  There's a time for speaking out loudly and remaining engaged diplomatically.  The Secretary-General has a number of tools in his kit, and he uses them as he sees fit. Inner City Press:  And has he spoken to Aung San Suu Kyi since…Spokesman:  Not since about ten days ago.  We, obviously, very much are looking forward to hearing what she will have to say in the speech she's scheduled to deliver, I think it's about Tuesday in Myanmar, and I think late tonight here in New York." On September 15 Guterres spokesman arranged a background briefing for his favored correspondents, with senior UN officials we will leave UNnamed - but did not inform or invite Inner City Press, who asks him many questions, including about Myanmar. To this has the UN descended. The UN Security Council's September 13 meeting on Myanmar was a closed affair, after which the President of the Council, Ethiopia, read a statement that "acknowledg[ed] the attack on the Myanmar security forces on August 25," as if the problem began then. It goes back decades. And even in April of this year, this memo was sent to Secretary General Guterres: "The United Nations in-country presence in Myanmar continues to be glaringly dysfunctional. Strong tensions exist within the UN country team, the humanitarian parts of the UN system find itself having to confront the hostility of the development arm, while the human rights pillar is seen as complicating both. The impact of this dysfunctionality is a growing irrelevance of the UN in guiding and defining the international community’s efforts to address the challenges confronting Myanmar." After that, the UN in June 2017 said that Resident Coordinator Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised. But this week Inner City Press asked and found that she is still there; on September 14 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why didn't happen and he said she it does, he'll say. The UN's hands are not clean, either, some say. To the Ethiopian ambassador on September 13, Inner City Press asked if there was talk of UN envoy, without answer. Periscope video here. In terms of the UN Secretariat, while it said in June that dubious UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised, when Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 12 who the Resident Coordinator in Myanmar is, he first said he didn't know, then after the briefing his Office e-mailed this: "Regarding your question on Myanmar at today's noon briefing, the Resident Coordinator is Renata Lok-Dessalien." So despite saying she was being rotated out and the post advertised, and despite Guterres saying how concerned he is about Myanmar and the Rohingya, three months and thousands of dead later, she's still in. And the Spokesman, Dujarric, didn't even insert this answer into "his" transcript. On September 13 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about criticism of Lok-Dessallein and the country team. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: There is talk of the country team at the UN being too close to the Government over time. There was criticism of the resident co-ordinator. Does the UK feel comfortable that the country team has been on top of this issue, even prior to this August “terrorist attack” that was referenced in press elements? Amb Rycroft: Well one of the points I made was that several of us around the table, including the UN, have very good and close relationships with various parts of the establishment in Myanmar. Some of us with Aung San Suu Kyi, others with the military, and my point is that it’s time now to be using those relationships to get action and to get an end to this deterioration, rather than allowing those relationships to become an end in themselves and to prevent us from taking action. Periscope video here. We'll have more on this. Rycroft on September 11 said, on Myanmar "we have asked for a formal discussion in the Security Council on Wednesday and that is a next step, which I hope will lead to a public outcome in some way. And I think it’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh. It’s up to the Presidency to work out if it’s an AOB or a consultations. I think it will be a private meeting but with a public outcome of some form." On September 7 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who has refused to answer on Coomaraswamy, this about his new boss and Myanmar, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar.  I know that the Secretary-General made the statement that he made, but since then, there are reports of villages that people have been chased out of being burned to the ground, and there are also some reports of landmines placed by the Myanmar military on the border with Bangladesh.  So, I wanted to know if the UN is aware of these reports and also has the Secretary-General actually placed any phone call to Aung San Suu Kyi?  And if he has… Spokesman:  As I said yesterday, he has been, over the last few months, in touch with Aung San Suu Kyi, both by phone and through correspondence.  We've seen the reports.  We're obviously extremely concerned about the reports of continuing violence, especially violence that targets civilians.  The reports of land mines is not one we can confirm, but, obviously, if they were to be true, those would be extremely troubling if they were to be confirmed. Inner City Press:  If you don't… when… when's the last time, since this is kind of a… it's a fast deteriorating situation.  When's the last time that he spoke to her? Spokesman:  "I have no… at this point, I have no further details to share with you." On September 4 before a UN Security Council meeting about North Korea, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about the recent upsurge of killings and ethnic "cleansing" of the Rohingya in Myanmar. Video here; from the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Will there be another meeting on Myanmar? Given what’s happening? Amb Rycroft: "We are following the situation in Burma very closely as well. If it continues to deteriorate then one of the things that we can do is to hold further meetings to shine a spotlight on the situation there. We call on Aung San Suu Kyi to use all of her many qualities to unite the country, to stop the violence, and to bring everyone together in a way that respects the right of all people in Burma." On August 30, after a closed door  Security Council "any other business" meeting about Myanmar, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, video here, UK transcript here: Inner City Press: Is there any discussion of the people caught in this no man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh? Is there any message to Bangladesh in terms of opening the border? Amb Rycroft: "Yes, several of us raised that issue, a lot of us talked about the responsibilities of Bangladesh as a good neighbour and indeed praised them for what they have been doing so far and encouraged them to continue to do so." Before the meeting, Inner City Press asked Rycroft, video here(with Sweden's deputy Skau's answer too), UK transcript below. On August 31, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said, "“The United States supports democracy for the Burmese people, and we condemn attacks by militant groups in Rakhine State. However, as Burmese security forces act to prevent further violence, they have a responsibility to adhere to international humanitarian law, which includes refraining from attacking innocent civilians and humanitarian workers and ensuring assistance reaches those in need. We call on all members of the Security Council to support the Burmese government in ensuring the rights and dignity of all communities in Rakhine State and throughout Burma." From the UK's August 30 transcript: Inner City Press: Aung San Suu Kyi has said that international aid groups are somehow assisting terrorists. Do you think those comments are helpful? What do you think? Amb Rycroft: "Well as I said I think it’s important that all of the parties de-escalate now to reduce tensions and look to the long-term, including through Kofi Annan’s recommendations." On August 28, Inner City Press asked the top three UN spokespeople - they had canceled the noon briefing - the following: "In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has said that international aid NGOs are somehow helping “terrorists.” What is the Secretary General's statement and action on this?"  Lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who ignored Inner City Press' other questions after evicting and still restricting it, replied, "We expect a statement shortly." An hour later, this - which does not address ASSK's comments: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the reports of civilians being killed during security operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. This latest round of violence comes after the attacks on Myanmar security forces on 25 August. The Secretary-General, who condemned those attacks, reiterates the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and the responsibility of the Government of Myanmar to provide security and assistance to those in need. The Secretary-General fully supports the recommendations of the report by Kofi Annan and urges the Government to effectively implement them. Recognizing that Bangladesh has hosted generously refugees from Myanmar for decades, the Secretary-General appeals for the authorities to continue to allow the Rohingya fleeing violence to seek safety in Bangladesh. Many of those fleeing are women and children, some of whom are wounded. He calls for humanitarian agencies to be granted unfettered and free access to affected communities in need of assistance and protection.  The United Nations stands ready to provide all necessary support to both Myanmar and Bangladesh in that regard." On August 14, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: India had announced that it intends to deport Rohingyas from Myanmar regardless of whether they're registered as UN refugees or not.  It's a pretty high-profile announcement, and I'm wondering, given António Guterres's interest in this issue, what's his statement on it? Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, we have our concerns about the treatment of refugees.  Once refugees are registered, they are not to be returned back to countries where they fear persecution.  You're aware of our principles of non-refoulement, and that's what applies in this case. Inner City Press: And who will convey that to India given that they've said at the level of a minister that this is exactly what they intend to do? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, I believe the first point of contact will be through UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees].  Have a good afternoon, everyone." On August 10, Inner City Press asked the UN's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: over the weekend, the Government's own investigative commission on Rakhine State said that there's no evidence of war crimes and was very dismissive of reports, including UN reports, saying there are problems there.  But then there's also some, there's a report of a UN precautionary security notification to its own staff in western Myanmar saying that there's a possibility of, I guess, Buddhist extremists.  And so I just, can you confirm that the UN views this as a danger?  How serious a danger is it? Spokesman:  Well, I think that, our colleagues said they're aware of planned protests in Rakhine State, and, obviously, for us, it's important that we call for peaceful and respectful demonstrations.  We routinely issue precautionary safety and security notifications from the perspective of staff safety and security of our assets and field activities.  The UN underscores that all the people of Myanmar, regardless of ethnicity or background, should be able to live in equality and harmony.  As far as the, as the human rights report, our, the Government report, and situation in Rakhine State, we understand from our human rights colleagues that the full report has not yet been made public.  They look forward to seeing it and studying it.  On the executive summary that was released, the High Commissioner's office said that, noted that many, the commission recommended many allegations of human rights violations must be further investigated.  And I think, given the scale and nature of the human rights violations documented by the UN's own office for human rights earlier this year, it continues to urge the Government of Myanmar to fully cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, including giving it full access.
  In its typically murky fashion and without explanation, the UN has said "The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli (El Salvador), has decided to establish a new composition of the Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar and appoint Mr. Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia) to serve as a member and its Chair." Indira Jaising is gone, replaced by Darusman who, as Inner City Press has reported, previously went soft on Buddhist extremism in Sri Lanka, against the Tamils. See previous report here. We'll have more on this. On July 21 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about Department of Political Affairs official Miroslav Jenca being snubbed while in the country. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: when Mr. Jenca, Miroslav Jenca, went to Myanmar he was, quote, snubbed, unable to meet with any high officials.  Do you deny that?  Who did he meet with there? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, Mr. Jenca, actually the report was inaccurate in a number of ways — Mr. Jenca told us, in fact, he was there as you know for the Panglong conference and as part of that, in the evening at the dinner to the Panglong conference, he did, in fact, meet with Aung San Suu Kyi somewhat briefly, but he also had longer meetings with several other minister-level officials, so the idea they didn't meet with him is simply not true.

  We'll see. 

On Cameroon, ICP Asks Nikki Haley of US Reps Urging a UNSC Meeting, She's "Open To It"


By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoExclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 – Amid the killings by Cameroon's Paul Biya government, Inner City Press on October 18 asked US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about a letter to her from 24 Congressmembers asking that she get a UN Security Council meeting on the crisis. Ambassador Haley said she hadn't yet seen the letter - it was finished late on October 17 - but said, "I'm open to it." Video here.

The UN's approach to date, as the Internet was cut off in Southern Cameroons, has been anything but open. Inner City Press on October 17 put Cameroon question to Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman and interviewed Southern Cameroonians in front of the UN. It also exclusively obtained and published a letter from 24 US Congressmembers including Republican Daniel Donovan (R-NY) to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, to convene a Security Council meeting. Letter here, on Patreon. Also signing the letter were Representatives Peter T. King, Grace Meng, John Katko, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Jose E. Serrano, Gregory Meeks, Carolyn Maloney, Thomas Suazzi, Joseph Crowley, Kathleen Rice, Sean Patrick Maloney, Hakeem, Jeffrey, Elise Stefanic, Yvette Clark, Lee Zeldin, Nita Lowey, Nydia Velazquez, Paul Tonko, Jerrold Nadler, Brian Higgins, Claudia Tenney and Louise Slaughter. (List type in the park across from the UN, to which the UN once before confined Inner City Press. Just after the interview, Abu Fri made a similar but shorter pitch to Haley's deputy Michele Sison, on First Avenue; to get back into the UN and file this story, Inner City Press due to UN targeting and censorship had a long wait with toursts at the metal detectors). But here is the letter - via Cameroon American Council, here. Watch this site. Inner City Press on October 11 interviewed the government's ambassador to the UN, Tommo Monthe. He contradicted what UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, that "Mr. [Francois] Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.  The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him.  It's now a matter of finding the dates." Inner City Press two days after Dujarric's quote - which Dujarric has twice refused to expand upon - asked Cameroon's Ambassador Monthe who replied of Fall,"Why he should visit Cameroon?” Audio here. While there is still no date for Fall to visit Cameroon, people are being summoned in to see the police, in a campaign of intimidation. There are new mass graves. On October 16 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon, since we’ve heard now for this Fall visit for almost two weeks since the mass killings of 1 October, I wanted to ask you, over the weekend, a mass grave was found near Buea, and documents have emerged of people being summoned into the police.  And what’s reported is that people are being told what to say and not to say if and when… which I guess it’s now when… UN investigators arrive.  So, I just wonder, is the UN aware of this? How do you explain that if… if Mr. Fall was going to go, like, it’s extremely serious situation.  Is there some… the ambassador here said that there’s no reason for him to go.  You’re saying he’s totally welcome; it’s just a matter of dates.  Who… is the problem with Mr. Fall’s schedule or the Cameroonian schedule?  Because people are very upset… [Inaudible] Spokesman:  I think, as with any visit from a UN senior official or anyone from the UN, it needs to be done in agreement with the Government. Inner City Press: So his team that went there before — I’d asked you this before — is it possible to know the level that they were and if, in fact, they went to Buea, the city in which bodies are being found… [Inaudible] Spokesman:  "I’ll see what I can get.  Okay?" No, not OK. Six hours later, nothing, while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid was being praised by Cameroon, and saying nothingabout the country.  Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to inquire into torture in Southern Cameroons, video here, and then submitted to his office a formal request for action. (He said he can act on requests by journalists). Meanwhile Inner City Press' journalism on Cameroon is being hindered in the UN by restrictions continued by the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Small, see here and here and watch this site. Several but not all of the human rights violations by Cameroon authorities on which Inner City Press has asked and reported are confirmed by Amnesty International. So Inner City Press on October 13 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I have a number of other ones, but I wanted to ask you about Cameroon.  Some of the things that, I guess, I have asked you about, there's now… now, I would assume that you've seen the Amnesty International study, which says that… that hundreds of people are detained without charge, packed like sardines, paying bails, people shot in the legs so they can't protest, people fleeing the hospital to avoid the authorities.  So they obviously got in, were able to gather this evidence and they've called for other international organisations to send people.  Has the UN sent anyone, and if not, why not? Spokesman:  We have… as you know, we have a presence in Cameroon.  We've seen the Amnesty report, which raises a lot of issues of great concern to us, and I should have… hopefully have a bit more for you later. Inner City Press:  Including on the [François Louncény] Fall visit? Spokesman:  Yes.  Well, when I have something on the Fall visit, I will share it with you." Eight hours later, nothing. AI confirmed for example: At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest... In Bamenda, the capital of the North-West Region, at least 200 people were arrested and the majority transferred to the prison in Bafoussam. In Buea, the capital of the South-West region, at least 300 people have been arrested since the 1st October protests, including a series of mass arbitrary arrests between 6 and 8 October. On Sunday 8 October, for example, police arrested up to 100 people walking to church in the Mile 16 area of Buea, and entered the building to arrest church staff. In one incident on 3 October in Buea, a police officer threw a teargas canister into a vehicle containing a dozen protestors, who had to smash the window to let in air. In one facility run by a mobile police unit, the Groupement Mobile d’Intervention (GMI), in Buea, detainees were described as being 'packed like sardines.' A young man who was left with multiple fractures after being shot in both legs by member of the armed forces was taken home by his family before he could be stabilised. According to a doctor treating the patient “he had lost more than a litre of blood. I do not know whether he is still alive, he may likely die.' On October 12, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman, now Deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Cameroon.  Stéphane has said a couple times that Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall is… he's definitely going.  The Government has welcomed it.  It's just a matter of days.  Yesterday, I spoke to the Permanent Representative of Cameroon, Tommo Monthe, and he said:  “Why should he visit Cameroon?”  So, I'm just wondering, have you gotten… has… has… one, has the UN spoken with the Cameroonian mission here in New York?  Because they don't, at least according to that, seem to be on board with the visit.  And two, when will the visit take place?  And will it include the Anglophone areas? Deputy Spokesman:  We are in touch with the Cameroonian authorities about a visit.  They have agreed in principle to that, and we're working out the dates and arrangements. Inner City Press:  Do you think, because there… there… there are commemorations of the 1 October killings scheduled for this Sunday, 14 October… is… does he intend to go before then?  Does he… is he aware of the potential for a repeat of what took place on 1 October?  Because the… what's alleged now is that people were thrown out of helicopters, that live individuals picked up in the Anglophone areas were flown in helicopters and dropped to their death. Deputy Spokesman:  "We want to make sure that all parties respect the rights to freedom of assembly, the rights to freedom of expression and, at the same time, of course, want to make sure that all protest is carried out peacefully.  Regarding Mr. Fall's travels, we'll provide further details once we have an announcement to make." Eight hours later, nothing. 

On October 11 Monthe, his usual talkative self, told Inner City Press of the Anglophone zones, "There are three groups: the corporate interest... that's good, that's legitimate... The second group is hooligan, that's casseur, the people who burn the flag... the third group, they are entering political campaign.” Of the recently announced Anglophone candidate to replace Biya, Monthe said, "He will have problem with the secession people.... traitor. People say that his father was a traitor." Inner City Press asked him about documentary evidence of money paid to pro-Biya associations for support during the General Assembly week: 'That guy is now with the tribunal, he said, 'I'm guilty.' He went to PNC Bank, we are no longer with that bank, we sued the bank..." On Inner City Press' questions during GA week to Nigeria's foreign minister, Monthe said: "Nigeria helps us, they do not want Biafra..." We'll have more on this. When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres on September 22, before he went back to the Hotel Inter-Continental in Geneva, he was accompanied by his state media and... Inner City Press. Biya, still in Geneva, directed his forces to use water cannons and more in Buea, as they shoot to kill from helicopters in North-West and South-West Cameroon and once again cut off the Internet and social networks, see below. On October 9 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about raids on churches, gunfire from helicopters, and corporate complicity in censorship.