Friday, April 28, 2017

On W Sahara, After Delay UN Mission Extended 15-0, Guterres' Dujarric Issues Statement


By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 28 – After several delays, the UN Security Council renewed for one year the mandate of its Western Sahara mission MINURSO at 6 pm on April 28. Final resolution put on Scribed by Inner City Press here. At the same time, not Secretary General Antonio Guterres but his holdover spokesman Monsieur Stephane Dujarric issued this: "Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General on Western Sahara: We welcome the withdrawal of all Frente Polisario elements from the Guerguerat area, between the berm and the border with Mauritania, as confirmed by MINURSO observers on 27-28 April. Together with the earlier withdrawal of Moroccan elements from the area, in response to the urging of the Secretary-General, this action should improve the prospects of creating an environment that will facilitate early implementation of the Secretary-General’s determination to relaunch the  negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit that reflect the Security Council’s guidance and resolutions, with the aim of reaching a “mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”. We continue to call on the parties to adhere to their obligations under the ceasefire agreement and to respect both its letter and spirit, and to cooperate fully with MINURSO. The need to ensure that tensions do not erupt anew in the Guerguerat area remains vital. To this end, MINURSO intends to maintain the position it has held in the Buffer Strip since August 2016 and further discuss the Mission’s future monitoring of the area and the full range of issues related to the Buffer Strip with the parties. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General "
  In front of the UN Security Council's Western Sahara closed door consultations on April 25, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre why there is no human rights monitoring in the mandate of the MINURSO mission, as urged by for example Amnesty International. Delattre said human rights "is in our DNA," but said there are many ways to work for human rights. Video here.  Now the vote on the resolution, one draft of which is below, has been pushed back from 5 to 5:30 to 6 pm on April 28. Verification of Guerguerat, inclusion or deletion or modification of language in the resolution, below. Up on the UN's 38th floor after a photo op of UK Boris Johnson and Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Inner City Press spotted Uruguay's ambassador. He has been pushing for human rights monitoring, DNA or no DNA. But down at the stakeout of the Security Council, the questions to him concerned mostly a reported missile firing by North Korea. Watch this site. Inner City Press asked about Horst Kohler as Antonio Guterres' nominee as Personal Envoy on Western Sahara. Delattre smiled and answered in German. Then and the next day, as Inner City Press got versions of the draft, Morocco diplomats and state journalists walked freely up and down the UN's 2d floor, while Inner City Press was confined to Department of Public Information minders. After the meeting, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Petr Ilyichev said the real work on the MINURSO resolution, which he still expects to be put to a vote on April 27, was at the level of experts, not in the April 25 meeting. Periscope video here. And here now, the draft resolution:
The Security Council, Recalling and reaffirming all its previous resolutions on Western Sahara,
Reaffirming its strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to implement resolutions 1754 (2007), 1783 (2007), 1813 (2008), 1871 (2009), 1920 (2010), 1979 (2011), 2044 (2012), 2099 (2013), 2152 (2014), 2218 (2015), and 2285 (2016),
?Reaffirming its commitment to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect, 
Reiterating its call upon the parties and the neighboring states to cooperate more fully with the United Nations and with each other and to strengthen their involvement to end the current impasse and to achieve progress towards a political solution, 
Recognizing that achieving a political solution to this long-standing dispute and enhanced cooperation between the Member States of the Maghreb Arab Union would contribute to stability and security in the Sahel region, 
Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), under close review and reiterating the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments, and effective management of resources,
Emphasizing the need to regularly evaluate MINURSO’s performance such that the mission retains the skills and flexibility needed to effectively carry out its mandate, 
Further emphasizing that hiring, retention and assignment processes of the United Nations for MINURSO should allow for mission structures to quickly and easily adapt to changing operational environments, and noting the Secretary-General’s intention to reform  these processes to make the Organization more nimble, 
Recognizing the important role played by MINURSO on the ground and the need for it to fully implement its mandate, including its role in supporting the Personal Envoy to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution,  
Expressing concern about the violations of existing agreements, and calling on the parties to respect their relevant obligations, 
Welcoming Morocco’s positive response on 26 February 2017 to the Secretary General’s call for both parties to withdraw from the buffer strip in Guerguerat,
Expressing deep concern that elements of the Polisario Front remain in the buffer strip in Guerguerat, including its obstruction of regular commercial traffic,    
Taking note of the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General and welcoming serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution; also taking note of the Polisario Front proposal presented 10 April 2007 to the Secretary-General,
Encouraging in this context, the parties to demonstrate further political will towards a solution including by expanding upon their discussion of each other’s proposals and further encouraging the neighboring countries to make contributions to the political process, 
Taking note of the four rounds of negotiations held under the auspices of the Secretary-General and recognizing the importance of the parties committing to continue the negotiations process, 
Encouraging the parties to resume cooperation with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in implementing the January 2012 updated Plan of Action on Confidence-Building Measures, including programmes focused on linking people who have been divided for more than 40 years due to the conflict and further encouraging the parties to consider additional appropriate confidence-building measures,
Stressing the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps, and encouraging the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights, bearing in mind their relevant obligations under international law, 
Encouraging the parties to continue in their respective efforts to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps, including the freedoms of expression and association,
?Welcoming in this regard, the recent steps and initiatives taken by Morocco, and the role played by the National Council on Human Rights Commissions operating in Dakhla and Laayoune, and Morocco’s interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, 
Commending the technical visit of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Western Sahara in April 2015, and to the Tindouf refugee camps in July-August 2015, and strongly encouraging enhancing cooperation with OHCHR, including through facilitating further visits to the region, 
Noting with deep concern the continued hardships faced by Sahrawi refugees and their dependency on external humanitarian assistance,and further noting insufficient funding for those living in Tindouf refugee camps and the risk of potential reductions in food assistance,
?Reiterating its request for consideration of a refugee registration in the Tindouf refugee camps and emphasizing efforts be made in this regard, 
Stressing the importance of a commitment by the parties to continue the process of negotiations through the United Nations-sponsored talks and encouraging the meaningful participation of women in these,
?Recognizing that the consolidation of the status quo is not acceptable, and noting further that progress in the negotiations is essential in order to improve the quality of life of the people of Western Sahara in all its aspects,
? Expressing gratitude for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Ambassador Christopher Ross, throughout his tenure, and affirming its continued full support for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara in facilitating negotiations between the parties, and calling on the parties and neighbouring states to cooperate fully with the Personal Envoy,
?Affirming full support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc, 
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 April 2017 (S/2017/307), 
1.?Decides to extend the mandate of MINURSO until 30 April 2018;
 2.?Reaffirms the need for full respect of the military agreements reached with MINURSO with regard to the ceasefire and calls on the parties to adhere fully to those agreements;
3. ?Expresses deep concern with the continued presence of elements of the Polisario Front in the buffer strip in Guerguerat and strongly urges the Polisario Front to fully and unconditionally withdraw from the buffer strip in Guerguerat immediately;
 4.?Requests the Secretary-General to brief the Council within 30 days on whether elements of the Polisario have withdrawn from the buffer strip in Guerguerat and expresses its intention, if there is no full and unconditional withdrawal, to consider how best to facilitate achievement of this goal;
 5.?Recognizes that the crisis in Guerguerat raises fundamental questions related to the ceasefire and related agreements and encourages the Secretary-General to explore ways that such questions can be resolved; 
 6.?Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the operations of MINURSO, including its free interaction with all interlocutors, and to take the necessary steps to ensure the security of as well as unhindered movement and immediate access for the United Nations and associated personnel in carrying out their mandate, in conformity with existing agreements;
7.?Emphasizes the importance of the parties’ commitment to continue the process of preparation for a fifth round of negotiations, and recalls its endorsement of the recommendation in the report of 14 April 2008 (S/2008/251) that realism and a spirit of compromise by the parties are essential to achieve progress in negotiations, and encourages the neighbouring countries to make important contributions to this process;
8.?Calls upon the parties to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to resume negotiations, thus ensuring implementation of resolutions 1754 (2007), 1783 (2007), 1813 (2008), 1871 (2009), 1920 (2010), 1979 (2011), 2044 (2012), 2099 (2013), 2152 (2014), and 2218 (2015) and the success of negotiations;
9.?Affirms its full support for the commitment of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy towards a solution to the question of Western Sahara in this context to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of a political process with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations;
10.?Calls upon the parties to resumenegotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and subsequent developments, with a view to achieving a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect;
11.?Invites Member States to lend appropriate assistance to these talks;
12.?Requests the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council on a regular basis, and at least twice a year, on the status and progress of these negotiations under his auspices, on the implementation of this resolution, challenges to MINURSO’s operations and steps taken to address them, expresses its intention to meet to receive and discuss his briefings and in this regard, and further requests the Secretary-General to provide a report on the situation in Western Sahara well before the end of the mandate period;
13. Further requests the Secretary-General to update the Security Council within six months of the appointment of the new Personal Envoy on (i) ways in which the Personal Envoy, working with the parties, is progressing towards a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and present a clear path forward;  (ii) how MINURSO’s performance measures are being developed and implemented(iii) how structures and staffing can be reorganized to achieve mission goals efficiently, and (iv) how new technologies are being considered to reduce risk, improve force protection, and better implement the mandate of MINURSO;
14. Encourages the parties to resume cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to review and, where possible, expand confidence-building measures; 
15.Urges Member States to provide new and additional voluntary contributions to fund food programmes to ensure that the humanitarian needs of refugees are adequately addressed and avoid reductions in food rations;
16.?Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance in MINURSO with the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including pre-deployment awareness training, and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel; 
17.Supports an increase in the ratio of medical personnel within the current uniformed authorization as requested in the most recent report of the Secretary-General to address the severely overstretched medical capacity of MINURSO. 
18.Decides to remain seized of the matter.
Outside the Council, a half dozen Moroccan diplomats milled around, the same crowd from within which a frivolous complaint to the Department of Public Information was made, to stop taking photos or video from the UNSC stakeout (which is in fact permitted). The same DPI allows Morocco state media to chase Christopher Ross into the elevator - but censured Inner City Press for the same thing. This is today's UN. Numerous diplomats have asked Inner City Press why Secretary General Antonio Guterres is "so pro Moroccan," as one of them put it. The perception is become widespread. The answers proffered include Guterres' time as Prime Minister of Portugal, with references to prior Moroccan King Hassan II and Abdellatif Youssoufi. On April 20, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Amnesty International urging the inclusion of human rights monitoring in the mandate of the MINURSO mission, and why Guterres ignored it as he apparently ignores several other human rights issues. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: Amnesty International, you may have heard of, has issued a de… a call saying that the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, should have a human rights monitoring function.  And I… I've seen a copy.  I'm not sure if you can say what the status of the Secretary-General's report is.  Is it now officially…?

Spokesman:  Yeah, the report…  I would refer you…
Inner City Press: I want to make sure…

Spokesman:  I would refer you to the report.
Inner City Press:  Since it… is it fair to say that he's not recommending a human rights monitoring function? If so, how… how… why not?

Spokesman:  I think it's fair to say that the report speaks for itself.

Inner City Press:  Right.  So he's not recommending it?

Spokesman:  You do the analysis...
 OK. And then there's this: Moroccan trolls, using Dujarric's (and the now-gone Gallach's) eviction of Inner City Press for covering corruption like this, that Inner City Press "was sacked out from the #UN because he was caught filming a closed meeting." No, Inner City Press said openly it would film, and did, a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room by a group that took dues money from now indicted Ng Lap Seng's bribery conduit. The Moroccan state "media" at the UN don't even ask questions. Troll on.  On April 19 as Guterres held a rare Q&A session, about Africa, his holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric had pre-selected questions, many of them not about Africa at all. The UN Department of Public Information under Guterres has threatenedInner City Press after a frivolous complaint from the Moroccan mission about photos taken according to the rules at the UN Security Council stakeout, while DPI has given multiple "Resident Correspondent" badges to Moroccan state media, some moonlighting for the UN itself, while restricting the UNderdog Press. Meanwhile, Inner City Press has learned, the UN's decoloniziation (C-24) committee is preparing to visit the Tindouf refugee camp. We'll have more on this. While Guterres breezed by the issue of Western Sahara on Friday, April 7 as Morocco tried to get the Press which covers it further restricted, Inner City Press was leaked the email below, from the UN's Kim Bolduc, amid reports of Germany's Horst Kohler as new Personal Envoy. While Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to comment on either, here (contrary to his Q&A last week about "Sex in the City, here), now Inner City Press has put on Scribd the full text of Guterres' first MINURSO report such as it is, here. But when Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about both on April 10, he wouldn't answer either question. Video here. From the UN transcript
Inner City Press: on Western Sahara, you'd said to wait for the report, but I guess I just want to say, this Kim Bolduc e-mail, which Inner City Press published, was directed to, like, many, many people in UNHCR.  So, 5I'm wondering what then, it talks about a code cable for Jean-Pierre Lacroix to go forward and… and… and, you know, re… bring all 17 people back.  So, I'm sort of wondering, like, is it that you know it, but she shouldn't have written that first?  Is it…?

Spokesman:  She's the master of her e-mails.  She's obviously communicating what she needs to communicate with her… with her staff, and the Secretary-General's position will be made very public and updated once the report comes out in the next day or so.
[Also: Question:  Follow-up.  There were some reports also last week that the Polisario have threatened to shoot the MINURSO peacekeepers if they try to conduct ceasefire patrols in the areas under their control.  What's the Secretary-General think about that and the integrity of the peacekeeping mission itself?

Spokesman:  Well, it's incumbent on all the parties involved to respect the, respect UN personnel in the area, whether uniformed or, or not, in the way they go about their work on a mandate of the Security Council.

Correspondent:  I'm sorry.  Just a quick follow-up.  The Polisario also reported that you have prevented the MINURSO from patrolling the El-Guerguerat area after the Moroccan forces have withdrawn from it…

Spokesman:  I think it is important that all the parties ensure that MINURSO has full freedom of movement.  Masood-ji.

Correspondent:  Thank you, Stéphane-ji. ]
Inner City Press:  Will he, by that time, confirm or deny that he's nominating Mr. Horst Kobler as… or Köhler…?

Spokesman:  As you know, whenever we have a nomination for a high-level person, there's a lot of the rumours prior.  The Security Council will have to be consulted, and once all that is done, we will announce it officially and, no doubt, you will have the information before it is announced officially.

Inner City Press:  Just finally, on both this and on South Sudan, is it possible to get Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix to do a stakeout or some type of Q&A…?

Spokesman:  I'm sure Mr Lacroix will be delighted to come meet you as soon as it is possible for him.  Good day.

Inner City Press:  Can I ask a Burundi question?

Spokesman:  No.  We're done.  Thank you.
   This is today's UN.

Cameroon Censors TV For Alleging French Control, As on Its Agbor-Balla, UN Has No Comment


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series
UNITED NATIONS, April 27 – The day after Cameroon's Paul Biya government belatedly restored the Internet he cut in the two Anglophone regions of the country, on April 21 Inner City Press asked long time Cameroonian Ambassador to the UN Tommo Monthe about it. Monthe, set to chair the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee next year, told Inner City Press "the scissors are in our hands... we will cut it" if it is used not only for so-called hate speech but for secession talk of any kind. For exclusive audio click here. Now Inner City Press has published the 2-page letter demanding the censorship of TV channel Afrique Media for saying “it's a corrupt government” and “France is controlling many African countries." Where is the UN on this? To try to find out, Inner City Press on April 27 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and about Felix Agbor-Balla, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, in Cameroon, again, the… the former UN legal adviser in Afghanistan and MONUC and also a former employee of the Special Court in Sierra Leone, Felix Agbor Balla, is facing death penalty by military trial.  And I wanted to know… there are also many of the other people that were… were… have faced trial today, and I wanted to know, is there any follow-up by the UN system on the issue?

Spokesman:  I will take… I didn’t see those reports.

Inner City Press: There’s also a TV station, Afrique Media, that’s being taken off the cable networks there for having had two statements in English, one that the Government is corrupt, the other one that France controls many countries in Africa.   [inaudible]  Is that a… does the UN think that that’s a reason…

Spokesman:  I will… I don’t… I can’t comment on something I don’t know about.
  Like nearly everything about Cameroon. They won't say who is their acting Resident Coordinator since Antonio Guterres promoted Najat Rochdi to Central African Republic; whoever it is is not speaking about blatant censorship. Then again, today's UN itself is continuing censorship. We'll have more on this. Monthe said people should be jailed for burning the Cameroon flag, and that it was fine to destroy the businesses of entrepreneurs in Southern Cameroons even if they were not involved in secession talk. Cameroon from the top is against freedom of speech and press. On April 25, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  in Cameroon, a journalist, Ahmed Abba, was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in jail for reporting on the Boko Haram conflict.  And many press freedom groups have expressed concern.  I'm wondering, does the UN have any concern?  And I wanted… I guess I'm just asking you again, who is the Resident Coordinator in the country?

Spokesman:  As soon as the Resident Coordinator has been named, that person will… we'll announce it, and there will obviously be a press release.  As I've said before, the UNICEF representative is the acting Resident Coordinator.

Inner City Press: Right.  And are you aware of this case of the person being sentenced to 10 years?

Spokesman:  I've heard the case.  I think any sentencing of journalists, I think, is something that is of concern to us, and we have to make sure that it is not done for… in reprisals for anything that that person may have said or written.
Which is exactly what has happened. Last week Dujarric repeatedly refused to tell Inner City Press the name of the acting Resident Coordinator in Cameroon after failed Najat Rochdi was promoted and said to ask UNICEF, Inner City Press did. Inner City Press submitted these questions to two UNICEF spokespeople on April 20: "Please state who are UNICEF is the acting Resident Coordinator in Cameroon and what if anything they have said and done about the 92 day Internet cut off in two regions, including to schools, and on the current doctors strikes. What is UNICEF's position on the 92 Internet cut off in Cameroon, as impacts children and otherwise?" UNICEF's Najwa Mekki, Officer in Charge of the Media Section, replied "received, we'll get back to you as soon as we can." Five days later, nothing - not even the name of who's the head of UNICEF in Cameroon, despite a second question to Dujarric (who has declared Press criticism of the UN's performance to be harassment, and threw Inner City Press out of the Press Briefing Room and has it still restricted after 14 months). We'll have more on this. On April 24, Inner City Press asked UN Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: what the head of UNOCA [United Nations Office in Central Africa], Mr. [Francois] Loncény Fall, said about the turning on of the internet in Cameroon.  Some people found it strange that it ends with this urging to avoid using the internet to incite hatred or violence, which is exactly the reason that the Government gave for turning it off for 94 days.  And the Government seems to have even included… according to the Permanent Representative here, to include any call for secession, even nonviolent referendum for secession to be a call for violence and--

Spokesman:  I think we’re taking things one step at a time.  I think we’re encouraged that the internet was restored.
   The UN is a failure. Troublingly, UN official Francois Lonseny Fall has not only overly-praised the Biya government, but also admonished that the Internet not be used to "incite hatred or violence" - precisely the pretext Biya used to cut it off. Today's UN is disgusting - we'll have more on this.

Meanwhile when Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Monthe's comments, the UN had no response, wouldn't even after weeks tell Inner City Press who is in charge of the UN in Cameroon, following Guterres' promotion of Najat Rochdi who said nothing about the Internet and blocke on Twitter Inner City Press which is pursuing the issue. This is today's UN - and today's Cameroon. Watch this platform.

first told Inner City Press that if "they" use the Internet again for hate speech (he used Rwanda's Radio Milles Collines as the analogy), "we will cut it off again." He made a cutting gesture, in the hallways outside the UN Security Council stakeout. He spoke at greater length with Inner City Press on April 21, on which we'll have more. Earlier at the April 21 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it. UN transcript here. Inner City Press: On Cameroon the… after 94 days, the internet was turned on in the regions but the Government has said if there is any further use of the Internet for they say is hate speech, other people say it’s in opposition to the Government, so I wanted to know what is the UN’s comment on how, going forward, the right to Internet in those areas?  You also asked me to ask UNICEF who the resident acting, resident coordinator is and I have and they confirmed receipt but have not stated it.  So I’m wondering shouldn’t there be an online site saying who is in charge of the UN system?

Spokesman:  I’m sure they will get back to you.  You can check with UNDP (United Nations Development Program) as well, but I just don’t have the name in front of me.

Inner City Press:  My other question, there are many people who were arrested during these 94 days who are still in jail in Yaoundé, and I’m wondering who in the UN system is going to follow-up on ensuring that…

Spokesman:  I would refer you back to Mr. [François] Louncény Fall and he said he would be back in Cameroon 
   This is UNacceptable and shows why the UN's shameful silence, from Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi to the UN 38th floor which promoted her and won't answer simple questions from Inner City Press but prefers to keep it restricted to minders, may portend badly, and empower or embolden Biya to do it again. So too with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Prince Zeid and his spokesman Rupert Colville never answered the Press on the topic, choosing late in the process to send Ahowanou Agbessi and his deputy, quietly - so as not to upset Paul Biya? We'll have more on this.
The UN's shameful role in Cameroon and censorship should not be forgotten. UN Resident Coordinator to Cameroon Najat Rochdi never raised the issues, and on Twitter blocked Inner City Press which did raise it. Then UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric called Inner City Press' criticism of the UN's performance "harassment," and banned Inner City Press from asking Guterres about the issue at a rare Guterres question and answer stakeout on April 19. Still the question was asked and asked again. Now more questions must be asked. On April 19 when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had a rare Q&A session, with the African Union's Moussa Faki Mahamat, Inner City Press went early, with a UN minder, to stand in the front and ask about Cameroon. But Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric had pre-arranged questions, several not on Africa at all. Inner City Press waited and then three times audibly asked, "Cameroon Internet cut?" Video here. Guterres looked, twice, but did not answer. His Deputy has been asked in writing about it. She has headed, for what it's worth, to the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington, with Guterres to follow on April 20. Meanwhile on April 19 at the UN noon briefing, their holdover spokesman Dujarric dissembled. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: My next question has to do with Cameroon.  In Cameroon, there’s a doctors’ strike, which has left many, many people without any health-care at all.  So I wanted to know if the UN has any response and also, again, back to this question, where does it stand in choosing a new Resident Coordinator, who might address these type of issues?

Spokesman:  Replacement for Resident Coordinators is an ongoing process.  When one is… has been chosen and agreed to by the Government, we’ll announce it, as we do with every country.  In the meantime, the country team is headed by, I believe, the UNICEF representative.

Inner City Press:  I know, and I’ve never… I’ve gone to their website, and it doesn’t list who the person is.  So you say reach them, but it’s not as easy as you seem to say.  I wanted to know whether you think that between the internet still being turned off and this doctor strike and the President having been in power for 35 years and being out of the country, does the UN see this as as these issues as somewhat related, as sort of a prevention of conflict issue given…

Spokesman:  I think the… the… as Mr. [François] Louncény Fall said, he would encourage both the Government and the other communities to engage in a constructive manner.
  The Ban Ki-moon era of the UN, culminating in two separate corruption indictments in the US District Court for the South District of NY, seems to be continuing, along with the restrictions imposed on Inner City Press for covering the corruption cases and their links to the UN Department of Public Information and Dujarric's office and friends. Most recently, on Cameroon, the UN's Dujarric characterized Press criticism of its officials' cover ups to be "harassment" after the Department of Public Information evicted and continues to restrictInner City Press, petition here, update here. On April 18 when the US Mission convened a rare UN Security Council meeting about human rights, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if the UK views the cut off of the Internet to millions of people in Cameroon as a human rights issues. Video here. Rycroft said he had nothing to add to what he'd previously told Inner City Press: that the situation in the Anglophone areas is not a threat to peace and security (although the UN keeps it under review). So what would be required, to make the UK and UNSC take note of it? And what about France, whose Francois Delattre also spoke in front of the Council, but didn't mention Cameroon? We'll have more on this- watch this platform.
On April 17, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about threats against clergy in Cameroon, the Internet cut and of any attempt by Guterres to reach Paul Biya, who has been president of Cameroon for decades. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon and Louncény Fall, I found his full quote where he said that he trusts that the internet will be gradually or progressively introduced to the rest of the country.  I guess I, many people that were left wondering, is it acceptable to only have it be in institutions?  What’s the expectation of the UN in terms of the timing? And also, since then, the Catholic clergy have received these, these threats of massive fines.  They’ve distributed on Easter to their congregants, basically for taking part in a nonviolent protest of the treatment of Anglophones, they face closure.

Spokesman:  I would refer you to what Mr Louncény Fall said.  I echoed what he said.  Obviously, we would like to see a return of the internet as soon as possible, and that’s the discussions he’s been having with the Government.

Inner City Press:  Did he attempt to talk to Paul Biya?  This is a… because as you… as you may know, Jeune Afrique and other publications have said that António Guterres sought to Paul, to speak to Paul Biya and was unable to, and I’m just wondering [inaudible]…

Spokesman:  I’m not aware, I’m not aware of the level of, whether or not Mr. Louncény Fall attempted to speak to Paul Biya.  He spoke to the highest authorities he was able to speak to.  You’re free to contact his office for more details.

Inner City Press:  I’m asking you about the 38th floor.  Did anyone on the 38th floor, whether Secretary-General or Deputy Secretary-General… [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I’m not going to get into details of people attempting to call one person or another.
   In early April the Office of the Spokesperson run by Dujarric told Inner City Press, we've heard you questions, if we have anything to add we'll let you know. Video here. Even that was a lie: UN envoy Lonseny Fall went again to the country, with this purporting to be his statement, and read-out here. But what has it come to? Consider this court prosecution of clergy, to try to put an end to legitimate protest. The UN so far has issued a weak, late statement then tried to move on, calling any criticism harassment and continuing to hinder coverage of the UN's deeds and misdeeds. We'll have more on this.
 On April 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: can you confirm that the Secretary-General sought to speak with Paul Biya while he was on an extended stay in Geneva, as has been reported? 

Spokesman:  No, I have no confirmation of a call having taken place.
Inner City Press:   I mean, I'm not asking [inaudible]…

Spokesman:  I have no information.
Inner City Press:  Okay.  And I wanted to know, people there saying, even in the wake of the visit of Louncény Fall, that, for example, a Supreme Court Justice, Paul Ayah remains, was only today, you know, remanded to remain in prison.  So they're not seeing much changes.  And I'm wondering, is this something that… that Mr. Louncény Fall looked into while he was there, the continued detention of barristers and those who have advocated for fair treatment of [inaudible]?

Spokesman:  What I just said is, in fact, that, in his contacts with the Government, Mr Louncény Fall advocated for the release of a number of Anglophone leaders and others.  So I think that's clear that's one of the things he was advocating for.
Inner City Press:  And, finally, I wanted to ask you about the Resident Coordinator position.  Given that the previous Resident Coordinator didn't raise any of the issues that you've just mentioned while she was there, is there any progress on naming a new one…

Spokesman:  I don't know that, and I don't know if you know that, but okay.  Anyway, next… what's your question?
Inner City Press:  The people that are there say it, and she also blocked the press…

Spokesman:  I think she blocks you, but…

Question:  Yeah, she does.

Spokesman:  …that's her right.
Inner City Press:   In what capacity does she block it?

Spokesman:  Well, I think anyone who has seen your tweets, I think, sometimes they do cross the line, I think, into harassment, and people block you from time to time.

Inner City Press:  Interesting.

Spokesman:  Indeed.
 How trustworthy is today's UN if they stonewall then withhold information, while continuing to block - a la Najat Rochdi - and restrict the Press which asks about Cameroon and denial of the right to information? On April 12 when there was a press conference at the UN about the death penalty, Inner City Press asked the panelist from Amnesty International about the Paul Biya government's threat of the death penalty against Anglophone advocates, including the UN's own former legal adviser Felix Agbar-Balla. The AI speaker said Inner City Press knew more about Cameroon, but that AI is concerned. We hope so - about the outrageous ongoing Internet cut as well. Watch this site.
On April 5, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesperson's Office, Associate Spokesperson Eri Kaneko, what if anything the UN has done about the Internet cut. Video here.  From the UN's transcript: 
Inner City Press: there are issues in Cameroon.  There are a number of issues of the Anglophone areas, but there's one in particular, which is now an 80-day cut-off of the internet to two regions of the country.  So, in the answers that have been provided about what [Francois] Loncény Fall has done, there's no reference to this pretty open-and-shut issue.  Is there some way you can either ask DPA [Department of Political Affairs] or his office, like, what's being done on this?  Does the UN… has the UN in any way conveyed to the Government of Cameroon that whatever the other issues are that turning off the internet to whole regions of the country is not a good idea?

Associate Spokesperson:  We heard your question, and if we have anything to add further, we'll let you know.   

   Further? Nothing has been done.

UN Refused Press Read-Out of Guterres' WIPO Meeting, Won't Confirm Staff Unions' Letter to Guterres


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series, New platform
UNITED NATIONS, April 27 – What reforms or commitment to human rights or transparency, or even consistency or savings, has UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres shown in the 113 days he's been atop the UN, surrounded by officials and spokespeople from the previous Secretary General Ban Ki-moon? Inner City Press keeps asking Guterres' spokesman, but get no description or explanation of any reform, no action on UN retaliation, nothing. Inner City Press now publishes UN staff unions' letter to Guterres about retaliation by WIPO's Director General Francis Gurry, via Patreon here, a topic on which Inner City Press has repatedly asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric. But even though it's from the UN's main unions, on April 27 Guterres' spokesman told Inner City Press he was not aware the letter had been received. From the UN's transcript: Inner City Press: I’d asked about the meeting with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), while he was there, the issues of retaliation.  There’s now a letter from all… or three of the UN staff unions that were directed to Secretary-General and… Guterres.  It’s dated the 24th.  It’s now the 27th.  Has he received that letter?  And what does he think of the issue of the entire… [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I have not… I’m not aware that he’s received the letter.  I’m going to take a break from you.
 On April 26 Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:
The question on CEB is… there’s many questions, but one… the only one I’ll ask today is this.  Is there a discussion… can you confirm a discussion by the Secretariat led by António Guterres to outsource some mixture of IT, finance and procurement from New York to Malaysia and other countries?  And, if so, what’s the status of the proposal?

Spokesman:  No.  I’m not aware.
Inner City Press:  And did… What is the agenda?  Can we get an agenda of the CEB meeting?

Spokesman:  The agenda is broad.  It’s on strengthening the UN system and improving coordination, and I think it’s an important meeting because it’s the Secretary-General’s first opportunity to address all the member… the heads of the UN system.

Inner City Press:  And when he met with Mr [Francis] Gurry at WIPO — I’d asked you this before — you’d said that everyone is aware of the charges of retaliation.  Did this come up at all?  I’ve seen a picture of him smiling on the podium.

Spokesman:  I have no readout of the meeting.
  And presumably, never. While on April 22 Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric issued a read out of Guterres and the World Bank, there is still no read-out of the "stop by" meeting on April 21 with US President Donald Trump. On April 24 Inner City Press asked Dujarric again for a read-out, and for a copy of the letter Guterres sent to Syria's Bashar al Assad. Video here, UN Transcript here: Inner City Press:  I want to follow up on the Washington or the Secretary-General.  He… I saw that he did an interview with Bloomberg television, and he said that… that, for example, climate change didn’t come up.  So I just wanted to ask you, what… it seemed like he didn’t have any aversion to doing a kind of a readout in that interview.  So can you give… what did come up and what didn’t come up?

Spokesman:  I can’t go any further than what I’ve said to you and what the Secretary-General said publicly.

Inner City Press:  And al… I guess, on one of the topics, he said that Syria did come up.  So just, as a matter of transparency, I wanted to ask, have you… I’m sure you’ve seen the stories that say that the Secretary-General wired a congratulatory cable to President [Bashar al-]Assad of Syria.  Is that true?  And, if so, did… what… is the text thus far quoted by… by Sana’a accurate and complete?  And will you release the letter?

Spokesman:  There was… it was not a letter… personalized letter that was signed.  As a matter of practice that has been going on for decades in this Organization, there is a message that goes out to every Member State on the occasion of their National Day.  It is the same message that goes out… so, in 2017, there’s a message that will go out… the same message will go out to every Member State.  There’s no reason why we can’t release the text of this generic letter.  It goes out through our protocol service to the Permanent Mission.  As I said, it’s not a signed letter.  It’s a generic message.  And I think it is about peace and, I think, you know, there… no one would disagree that, after more than six years of conflict, I think the Syrian people deserve peace.

Inner City Press:  So they’re not tailored in any way?  It’s not the complete…?

Spokesman:  They’re not tailored.  No, it’s a gen… as I said, I’ll release…  We’ll send out
  In fact, it was never sent to Inner City Press. Hours later Inner City Press, not even seeing it on the Spokesperson's Office counter, asked and there was a general letter, with not even the country name on it, behind the counter. Tweeted photo here. This is today's UN. Guterres, who rarely takes questions at the UN, sat down with Bloomberg and said it was only a "brief encounter" with Trump and that climate change did not even come up. (Dujarric told Inner City Press it was "15 to 20 minutes." Others say, "three minutes." Also, his rationale for no read-outs is eviscerated by Guterres' read out to Bloomberg, whose owner remains a UN official, like Jeffrey Sachs, under Guterres.) On April at 11:25 am  Inner City Press reported the stop by would happen. At the day's UN noon briefing after Dujarric pre-released adjectives spinning the meeting to his friendly scribes, Inner City Press asked him, from the UN transcript: Inner City Press: you said it was in the same meeting but Sean Spicer said at 11:25 that the Secretary-General had already met with McMaster and would be having a, quote, drop in in the Oval Office with President Trump?  So…

Spokesman:  The way I interpreted Evelyn’s question and the way I answered it is: Was General McMaster in the meeting with President Trump? Yes.

Inner City Press:  And was it a drop in?  And how long did the meeting take if it was described as a drop in?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General and General McMaster took, walked the Secretary-General to the Oval Office and they met, I think, for 15-20 minutes with the President.
  As to the World Bank, the UN said: "This framework, signed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, is in response to global calls for our institutions to work more closely together on prevention and reducing needs, risks, and vulnerability as the world faces a spike in violent conflict.. Under this framework, the UN and World Bank will work in complementary ways to:  reduce the multi-dimensional risks of crisis and help prevent violent conflict; develop joint analyses and tools for more effective solutions; coordinate support to address protracted crises including forced displacement; and scale up impact by leveraging financing."
On April 21 as Guterres prepared to fly again to Europe, to Geneva and then Montreux, he sent a letter to all UN staff, many of whom forwarded it, outraged, to Inner City Press. Guterres wrote, "I expect all of us to be frugal in the acquisition of supplies, materials, furniture and equipment." One staff member marveled, "Guterres, or The Goot as some now call him, is telling us to scrimp on office supplies while he's flying to Montreux and often Lisbon." Inner City Press pointed out that that Guterres has reduced his travel delegations and might merge the Department of Political Affairs out of existence, and might even - it's unclear why this hasn't happened yet - reverse indefensible decisions by the Department of Public Information, from the Smurfs to ongoing censorship and restrictions on the critical Press. On the response, we'll have more. Guterres put on his website job vacancy notices to the Department of Management (unfilled) and rector of UN-University and even deputy of UN HABITAT. But for Youth Envoy, an ostensibly important position, no notice was placed on Guterres' website. Instead, Maher Nasser the Officer of Charge of the Department of Public Information, which evicted and restricts Inner City Press which asks these questions, tweeted a link to a Survey Monkey site two days before the deadline. When Inner City Press asked about the disparity, and about why it is still restricted to minders 14 months after trying to covering the UN corruption story in the UN Press Briefing Room, Nasser replied "Matthew - This is same process through which first youth envoy nominations were solicited. U have same access as 3000 other journalists." The last is false - Inner City Press has minders while even other non resident correspondents walk down the hallway, and no-question state media from Egypt and Morocco have full access - and the former doesn't explain the disparity. On April 21 Inner City Press put the question in person to Maher Nasser, Periscope here - without answer. At the April 21 noon briefing, Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric would only defend the non-publication on the UNSG site of the Youth Envoy position by saying it was done that way in the past. Another correspondent mutter, Slavery. On April 20 Dujarric refused to confirm that for the position of Special Adviser on Children and Armed Conflict Guterres had chosen Virginia Gamba, without much background in human rights or child protection, over Canada's Allan Rock and Myanmar rights expert Yanghee Lee. Dujarric did not deny it, and typically did not explain it.  From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  can you confirm that those considered for the [CAAC] position involved Yanghee Lee and also Allan Rock?  And how would you respond to the idea that Ms. Gamba, despite her work on the JIM [Joint Investigative Mechanism], is not really viewed as a child advocate?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think Ms. Gamba will stay on at the JIM for another few weeks or couple of weeks.  I don't know the exact date of her start time.  In the meantime, the Secretary-General is… we're looking at people to succeed her.  The office… the Special Representative isn't alone in that office.  There is a Deputy Special Representative.  There's a Chief of Staff.  They're continuing their work, obviously, in preparation for the report, which will come out later this year.  And so she will be… as soon as she assumes her job, she will take over the position and assume that responsibility as the Secretary-General's principal adviser on issues of children and armed conflict.  I think Ms. Gamba is an extremely experienced and talented international civil servant who's had wide experience and I think will be a great leader to that office and a great advocate for children and for the protection of children.
  Also on April 20 Dujarric announced that Guterres wants a review of the UN's air travel costs; Dujarric also belatedly confirmed what Inner City Press asked the day before, about Guterres traveling to Switzlerland later this month from the UN Chief Executives Board meetings. Inner City Press asked for Guterres' view on retaliation by host WIPO's Gurry - again, no answer - and specifically what the costs of this CEB meeting, culminating in old haunt Montreux, will be. Dujarric did not provide any number, thinking that mentioning Swiss government support resolves it. It does not. For now, Inner City Press publishes this internal list of the possible Montreux topics: the UN common position on the admission of the State of Palestine to UN Specialized Agencies, Programs and Funds by Sept. 2107, how to thrive without UN/Western funding -  learn from the experience of UNIDO and UNESCO in this regard.  Better media relations, advocacy & fundraising to promote the SDGs, Agenda 2030, synergies with OBOR, BRICS Bank - and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, even Bill Gates. Watch this site. Also this week, Guterres has handed the UN Development Program to a German official, Achim Steiner, while also proposing a German as his Personal Envoy on Western Sahara, Horst Kohler. As Inner City Press reported, and holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric called "despicable," one of Guterres' closest aides is Katrin Hett, of Germany. She got the position through Jeffrey Feltman, appointed to the UN by the previous US administration. Sources tell Inner City Press that Germany was in the running to head the UN Department of Management too, for which Guterres pushed a vacancy notice. But even for more, another Germany USG would be too much. So Inner City Press is told that Guterres may offer the Department of Management to the United States, once his other "reform" merges Feltman's Department of Political Affairs out of existence. So, they tell Inner City Press, the affable Yukio Takasu has been extended atop Management for a year. How long can this lack of reform, and continued restrictions on the Press that covers it, continue? When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did a photo op at 9:25 am with the African Union's Moussa Faki Mahamat, the conference room was full of name tags. Inner City Press took the (first) photo and was told to wait on the 37th floor until 10 am for a "photo spray." At that time, the room was full with AU officials including Early Warning and Conflict Prevention specialist Frederic Ngaga Gateretse, who to his credit took note of the UN's bad treatment of the Press. Video here and embedded below. And in fact, when Guterres did a rare Q&A at 1 pm, he did not answer the Cameroon Internet cut-off question Inner City Press three times audibly asked, after Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric picked on pre-arranged questioners, at least two not about Africa.
 At the 10 am meeting, Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, made aware, came to the end of the table and spoke with ASGs Taye Brook Zerihoun and Gettu, who joked that "The Horn" (or part of it) was represented. New UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix came in; Jeffrey Feltman was in the meeting, but not apparently Stephen O'Brien. 
UNFPA's Babatunde Osotimehin came up late on the elevator. Minutes afterward, the UN announced that Guterres' 5 pm meeting with Egypt's Minister Badr would no longer be open to the media, as his UN is giving Inner City Press' longtime space work space to Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, whose long absent correspondent rarely comes in, never asks questions. This is today's UN: and it must improve. So too must Guterres' and Mohammed's UN's performance on Cameroon and other AU topics. Watch this site.

  On April 18 when Guterres did a photo op and meeting with Ukraine's deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Kyslytsya, his close adviser Katrin Hett came to tell the assembled staffers they would not be needed, the meeting would be held with only four on each side in Guterres' office overlooking the East River and Queens. Things are getting more and more private: Guterres' spokesman Stephane Duajrric for example has twice refused to answer Inner City Press if as reported Guterres tried to reach Cameroon's president of decades Paul Biya, about the cut off of the Internet there. Others have noticed the rash of German officials getting jobs: Achim Steiner at UNDP and prospectively Horst Kohler on Western Sahara. But some office on 38 now have blank signs. Kyslytsya had just given a right of reply in the Security Council, about Crimea. The mystery and payback for Guterres getting all of the Permanent Five members of the Council on his side to get elected has still not be revealed. But earlier on April 18, Inner City Press which remains evicted from its UN office and confined the UN minders was told, by the minders, that it cannot even work at a table in the UN lobbyThis has been raised, yes, to the 38th floor. So they know. There are no rules - a topic, in another context, that Kyslytsya raised in the Security Council.
Back on April 10 when Guterres did a photo op with the Club de Madrid - World Leadership Alliance including another candidate for Secretary General, Danilo Turk, it was impossible not to wonder what might have been. How might other of the candidates fared? What reforms, and reversal of Ban Ki-moon mistakes from Yemen and children and armed conflict to censorship might they have accomplished or at least begun? The ex heads of state barely fit into the photo, Periscope video here, and very little banter was heard before the press was ushered out. On the way in, Guterres came amiably through the hall, turning into the office of Miguel Graca. But where is the requested list of who works on the 38th floor, and who pays them? Is it true, as Inner City Press has heard, that Guterres has interviewed Achim Steiner for UNDP? At the lower profile Department of Public Information, why hasn't the Officer in Charge given any substantive response to simple requests before him, and would any successor at least have to commit to free press due process rules? Why is the holdover spokesman allowed to refuse to answer the Press' questions on Burundi, while engaging others about Sex and the City? We'll have more on this. After 100 days of Antonio Guterres as UN Secretary General, what has been accomplished? Guterres focused early on South Sudan, but as Inner City Press reports today on his 100th day, the Salva Kiir forces are using tanks near Wau while UN Peacekeeping, still under French control, says nothing publicly. The Cyprus talks are set to continue, but we've heard that before. Yemen is as bloody as ever, and Guterres extended Ban Ki-moon's (or Saudi Arabia's) envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed without even getting him to make any public financial disclosureDiscrepancies in Guterres own disclosure filings between 2013 and 2016 have yet to be explainedby Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric. What has changed? Not the Department of Public Information's targeted restrictions on Inner City Press, able to cover meeting on the UN's second floor only with a minder, and sometimes (as on the Rwanda genocide on April 7) not at all. Inner City Press has filed a request for reversal with DPI's Officer in Charge, nine days ago, with no substantive response. New Inner City Press song here. We remain constructive, eager to see reforms occur and succeed. But what has changed?

On Burundi, UN Still Nothing on Oscar Ntasano, Part-Time Kafando, Blocked Visas


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series
UNITED NATIONS, April 27 -- While on Burundi the UN Secretariat refuses to confirm its proposal of Michel Kafando as part-time envoy, it still has or provides no information about the disappearance of a Burundian working with it, nor so far on visas denied. On April 27 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I’d asked you, I think, on Monday about Michel Kafando as envoy to Burundi.  And now the media there is reporting that he has taken the job le remplacement Jamal Benomar en fin de mandat.  So I’m just wondering, what… what…

Spokesman:  I think the announcement of a remplacement/no remplacement will come from here, so people are free to speculate until there’s an official announcement either in paper or from myself, from the Secretary-General himself.

Inner City Press:  Unless it comes from Mr. Kafando.

Spokesman:  I think I just answered that.
Inner City Press:  Okay.  What I wanted to ask is that I’d asked about Burundi, and there’s some people there… it’s a pretty big story in the country that this Oscar Ntasano, who was renting his property to the UN, has… had his driver killed and is… is missing.  So people are saying basically he was targeted because he was working with the UN.  What I wanted to know, is there anyone in the UN system looking into this disappearance?

Spokesman:  I can’t…  I haven’t gotten any specific information from our colleagues in Burundi.  Obviously, I think anyone’s murder or disappearances needs to be investigated.
Inner City Press:  And the D2 Vivian van de Perre…

Spokesman:  I don’t have any… I don’t have any update for you on that.
  And even the "open" meeting of the Burundi Peacebuilding Configuration on April 26, Inner City Press was banned by UN Security then a PBC staffer. On April 24 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in Burundi, a gentleman named Oscar Ntasano, who is running a building… a set of buildings that the UN has… has used and was being renovated for him has been abducted, and some people believe that he's dead.  He was abducted, and a car of his was found with a dead body in it.  So, I'm wondering, does the UN… and people there are saying this is a person that was basically maybe targeted because he was seeking to rent his property to the UN.  What's the UN's response?

Spokesman:  I don't know.  I've not heard of this gentleman.  I can see if I find out anything.
Inner City Press:  And also, I mean, in terms of not hearing things, I wanted to know whether the…?

Spokesman:  That's my specialty.
Inner City Press: Yeah, whether the D-2 head of office of… for the UN in Burundi has… my understanding is that it's been six months that she's tried… she's tried to get into the country, but I'm wondering, what… from the top levels of the… has the 38th Floor… has anyone tried to speak to the country to actually get this being-paid D2 head of office in Burundi into the country, or is this a de facto persona non grata?

Spokesman:  If you send me the name, I can check on the status.
 Inner City Press immediately emailed the name, and the next day on April 26 asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: On Burundi, I gave you the name of the D2 head of office…

Spokesman:  I don’t have anything for you on Burundi.

Question:  And I wanted to know, there was a meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on Burundi today downstairs.  It wasn’t listed in the Journal as closed; sign didn’t say it was closed, but security said could not be covered by the media.  And I wanted to know what… what… what is the policy of… of those meetings?  And why isn’t that… why was security blocking coverage…? [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I don’t know if the meeting was open or closed.  I’d be happy to look into it.
 Like he looked into the D2 blocked name? By the end of April 26, when Inner City Press was by the UN Department of Public Information removed from covering the UN's Africa Peacekeeping meeting, there was no answer.

UNICEF has after five days answered Inner City Press on the hate-speech government in the UNICEF shirt. On April 20, Inner City Press asked: "please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo, in this instance on the joint Burundi / UNICEF shirt worn in thisphoto worn by the governor of Makamba province who last week called on residents to 'eliminate' rebels so fuel 'won't be wasted by having them transferred to the police.' How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way? Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?" On April 25, UNICEF spokesperson Joe English responded: "On Burundi, please find below a response to your questions. * Please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo? The unauthorized use of the UNICEF name and logo is against international law and is expressly forbidden.How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way?
UNICEF condemns all forms of hate speech.
Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?
The t-shirt was part of the education campaign, which took place in September 2015 as the new government was being established. As such, this would have been the period when Gad Niyukuri was transitioning from his past role to his new one, and he would quite naturally still have been involved in the back-to-school campaign and therefore received one of the t-shirts for the campaign. The photo does not have any relationship with the news item of April 2017." And there it is. It is reported that "According to the residents of the Kazirabageni zone, Gad Niyukuri would have urged residents to eliminate the rebels "instead of wasting fuel by transferring them to the police.'"
   On Burundi, France which as UN Security Council penholder has accomplished little on the issue has a new proposal, sources exclusively told Inner City Press, which it exclusively published on April 20: to nominate the former transitional president of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando as a UN envoy specifically on Burundi. And now Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro has answered Inner City Press that "Burundi is very comfortable with the intention of the UNSG to appoint H.E Michel Kafando as his special Envoy." See reply tweet, here. Now the Pierre Nkurunziza government's approval of a"Special Envoy" is explained to Inner City Press with disgruntled Security Council sourcing as due to Kafando's position being part time, "When Actually Employed," based in Burkina Faso with human rights not to be mentioned. On April 24, Inner City Press askeUN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric again about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Burundi, I’d asked you on Friday about the proposal, which is now by… to name Michel Kafando as an envoy to Burundi.  You said you had no comment.  Since then, the Ambassador of Burundi has told me that the Government supports the proposal.  It seems like it’s clearly a proposal.  But what I wanted to ask you and I’d like you… maybe… if not from this podium, before it’s finalized, is it, in fact, when actually employed, a part-time position that’s being proposed?  And, if so, can you explain what I’m told that DPA [Department of Political Affairs], when it informed Council members of the proposal, didn’t mention that it’s part time?  So I think it’s important to know, what is the proposal?

Spokesman:  I will try to find out more information.  I have nothing from here.  
  Again, nothing. And ever more dwindlingcommitment to human rights or even just transparency. The source says the Security Council members told of the appointment were NOT told it was "When Actually Employed." We'll have more on this. 
After publishing the exclusive, on April 21 Inner City Press asked French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre about it. He smiled and said "bonne question." Then Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who refused to comment. From the UN transcriptInner City Press:  I wanted to ask you on Burundi.  Inner City Press has reported and I believe has some confirmation from the French Mission that there is a proposal by France and possibly the EU for an UN envoy to Burundi, specifically Burundi only, not conflict prevention:  Michel Kafando, the former transitional President of Burkina Faso, and I wanted to know from you whether the Secretary-General has discussed this proposal with the proponents and if he thinks given the urgency of the situation if it’s a good idea and what the next steps would be?

Spokesman:  I have no comments on that.
  But later on April 21 a UN official told Inner City Press that Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza has approved it. Another diplomat told Inner City Press that Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro was summoned to the UN Department of Political Affairs. We'll have more on this. The UN has sunk so low that the lead spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres Stephane Dujarric on April 10 refused to even take a Press question about Burundi, where the UN itself says there is a risk of genocide. When Inner City Press said "Can I ask a question about Burundi," where there increased hate speech amid a warning from other parts of the UN of a threat of genocide," Dujarric replied, "No, we're done." Video here, contrasted.  
On April 18 another part of the UN system describes some of the events that Inner City Press asked and sought to ask for Guterres' position and action on: " On 1 April this year in the northern province of Kayanza, around 2,500 Imbonerakure reportedly marched from Kayanza football stadium along the main road chanting similar slogans, inciting rape and violence against opponents. Reports suggest that senior officials were present at this rally. Reports also suggest that similar chanting occurs regularly at weekly Imbonerakure meetings in the southern province of Makamba. On 3 April, during a meeting on security, the Governor of Makamba reportedly urged the local population to maintain security, to arrest any suspicious person, to check every bag and suitcase and to 'eliminate immediately' every person presumed to be a rebel. On 7 April, the President of the Senate is alleged to have incited people to violence in Makamba, reportedly calling for all suspected rebels to be 'silently collected.' This is the latest of many such speeches where the President of the Senate has reportedly used coded language, with its roots in the mass violence from Burundi’s past, to incite followers to violence." So what about Guterres' lead spokesman refusing to answer the Press on Burundi? What about the UN's Department of Public Information still requiring Inner City Press to have a minder even to cover its Rwanda genocide commemoration, then requiring Inner City Press to leave mid-way through? What about the continuing failure of all parts of the UN system - including in Geneva Prince Zeid and his spokesman Rupert Colville - on the abuses in Cameroon including the now 91 day Internet cut? On Burundi, is it any surprise that the East African Community's Secretariat, appointed by Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, mocks UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' report on Burundi? And that there is no response from the UN? This is how low the UN has sunk. Dujarric is still spokesman after this, and after playing his role in evicting and still restricting the Press, which has been raised. After in Burundi a hate-video of the ruling party's militia calling for the impregnation or rape of opposition women was widely seen, when Inner City Press asked the UN about it on April 5 the UN said it had not been aware, ironically thanked Inner City Press - which it has evicted and still restricts - and said something would be done. What? From the UN transcript: 
  Inner City Press: on Burundi, but there's a… a… a video has emerged of the ruling party militia talking about impregnating all the women of all people that don't agree with the militia's platform for pro… for Pierre Nkurunziza.  So, given things that the UN has said in the past, what's the response to this?  And what is the UN doing currently in the last, you know, two weeks or so on the situation in Burundi?

Associate Spokesperson:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We weren't aware of this video.  And, if true, that's very highly troubling.  And we have, as you know, a team on the ground that I'm sure is looking into this, and hopefully, will take some action.
  What action? When the UK held the wrap-up session for its month as President of the UN Security Council on March 31, at first no one on its team volunteered to speak on Burundi.  Then the month's weak Council Press Statement was cited, with no mention that of the non-deployment of the 226 Police the Council ostensibly mandated in a resolution. Also on March 31, Inner City Press asked Tanzania's Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga about the Arusha talks. His response is on video, here. Off camera, he told Inner City Press should be allowed to chose which country's or countries' police it would like deployed. 
  When the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacekeeping Commission last met, UN Human Rights testified that the country's SNR tortures people based on ethnicity, by making them walk on glass and pouring gasoline into their wounds. Then Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro, who recent placed the UN or at least Ban Ki-moon into the "Axis of Evil," took the floor and denied it all. Periscope video here. The Special Adviser he and Pierre Nkurunziza are seeking to have removed was not on the podium. (We noted that Burundi has Persona Non Grata-ed or recused his predecessors, Abdullah Battily, Carolyn McAskie, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Youssef Mahmoud, Said Djinnit.)  The chair, Ambassador Jurg Lauber of Switzerland, is set to visit Burundi from March 27 to March 31, while others in the UN system are banned or delayed. 
  Also speaking was France, but not through its top Ambassador Francois Delattre or even his deputy Alexis Lamek. It called the mind France's approach in Cameroon, where its ambassador Thibault last week congratulatedPaul Biya for a non-existent dialogue with the Anglophone areas. Why isn't at least UN Peacekeeping working on these areas, where the Internet has been cut off by the government for 56 days and counting? Watch this site.
  On March 13, when the UN again refused to answer about Cameroon, Inner City Press asked about its Special Adviser on Conflict Prevention and Burundi, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: just this morning, the ambassador of Burundi said again that… that they reject and… and… and completely the Special Adviser… seems to be a big standoff between the Government and the Secretariat.  What's the status of the letters the President sent, that Mr. [Albert] Shingiro sent, and the Secretary-General, is he trying to speak to the Government to get them to… to… to allow people in or where's it stand?

Spokesman:  There's no update to what the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council not too long ago.
   Burundi now wants to change all of the UN staff in the country. Meanwhile, the UN's dysfunction on Burundi has reached the point where its spokesman can refuses to answer three Press questions in a row about the country, then run off the podium, saying "I'm lazy." Video here. 
 Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a delayed February 23 report says, of Pierre Nkurunziza, "an attempt by the president to seek a fourth term in office under the current circumstances would risk intensifying the crisis and undermining collective efforts to find a sustainable solution." 
 Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro, hitting back at even the use of the term "four term," tweeted: "With the intention of destabilizing #Burundi in 20 the same axis of evil that failed regime change in15,invents another magic word'4th term'."
  On February 27, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric about this quote, and for a second time about the UN training Burundi security forces in CAR on drone usage. Dujarric said he didn't think of the UN as in an axis of evil. He didn't answer on the fourth term, word invention, or the UN providing drone training. We'll have more on this.
   Pressed, Shingiro has said he wasn't called Antonio Guterres part of an Axis of Evil, since he wasn't UN Secretary General in 2015. But could hapless, corruption plagued Ban Ki-moon be a part? More like the Axis of Mediocrity. 
 And did Guterres really "invent" fourth term as a "magic word"? Or wouldn't a Pierre Nkurunziza run for election in 2020 be a run for a fourth term? How will the UN react to this? For now, Guterres spokesman Dujarric - who has previously been the face not only for AoE Ban Ki-moon but also Kofi Annan before that - won't answer the most basic question. Dujarric too is a fourth term man. We'll have more on this -- and this, that Shingiro previously outed his own second Twitter account by tweeting a photo with the UN's evicter in chief Cristina Gallach, here. Axis of Evil, indeed.
 Now the UN is training the Burundi security forces in how to use drones; Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza -- himself repatriated from the UN Mission in the Central African Republic after Inner City Press questions (credited on AllAfrica.com here) bragged about it and refused to answer about Burundi's use of drones. 
  So Inner City Press on February 24 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Herve Ladsous' UN is training this already problematic Burundi contingent in the use of drones. Video here from 25:50. Dujarric didn't substantively respond to that question and on Inner City Press next question about Ladsous, Dujarric ran off the podium and out of the room. UN DPI under Cristina Gallach produced a video with the audio of the question cut, see here at end. This is today's UN.
  In Burundi, government electricity and water authority (Regideso) employee Lydia Nibogora was murdered and dumped. Sources Inner city Press has come to trust say it is because she blew the whistle on corruption. There should be an investigation, but where is the UN? We'll have more on this.
Inner City Press on February 17 asked, video here, UN transcript here.
Inner City Press on February 16 asked, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: the Government itself has said it's not going to participate.  So I wanted to know if you have any kind of update to what you said yesterday.  And, also, a Burundian minister has visited refugees in Uganda.  This has given rise to protests, because there's a sense that… that, by visiting people that fled the country in fear of their lives, there's essentially a threat to them to be repatriated or refouled back to Burundi.  I wanted to know if the UN has a view on that.   And, finally, I'd asked some weeks ago about a guy called Budigi, a Burundian military figure that was involved in the burning down of Radio Publique Africaine.  And it's, again, reported by Radio Publique Africaine that this Nicolas Budigi is part of UN CAR, the UN Mission in Central African Republic.   And so Stéphane had said he'd look into it.  I wanted to know, have you found out that this… whether or not… can you confirm that the guy is there?  And, if not, what does it say about the vetting that's being conducted by DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations)?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, our peacekeeping colleagues have been looking into this matter.  I think they're trying to gather details on this now.  Once we have that, we'll let you know.  Regarding the participation by the parties in the Arusha talks, we do regret the decision by any invited participant to decline attendance of the consultations to be held in Arusha under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC) and facilitated by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.  We urge the parties to demonstrate the necessary flexibility to make a negotiated solution possible, and the UN will continue to support the process led by the EAC.
  On February 14, after Inner City Press asked a second time (and about the constitution, here), the UN sent Inner City Press this response, which we publish in full: "Special Adviser Benomar is in Arusha at the invitation of the Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa, to support his efforts. The Facilitator has invited both the government and opposition and offered assurances to those members of the opposition who are on a Burundian Government arrest warrant list that they will not face arrest or extradition while in Tanzania."
 Inner City Press first asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on February 13 how the UN can support this. With the answer UNclear, and just before Haq called Inner City Press an obsessive a*hole, Inner City Press asked him, from the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press:  The other thing I wanted to ask about was on the Burundi talks is, you'd said yesterday that the UN is doing everything possible to make sure they're inclusive and that there shouldn't be preconditions.  And I wanted to get your response now.  The ruling party, CNDD-FDD, has said, quote, we are not going to sit with people who are under arrest warrants.  So this means that the peop… that… that exactly what you were saying yesterday you're opposed to will take place in these talks.  And I wanted to know, will Mr. [Jamal] Benomar nonetheless attend?  Will there still be UN funds to support a process in which large parts of the opposition are not allowed to participate?

Deputy Spokesman:  We'll check with Mr. Benomar what his intentions are on that.
From the February 14 UN's transcript:
Inner City Press: In Burundi, the talks that are re-beginning, there's a list out of the participants, but it says at the bottom of the lists that the… the opposition's attendance is contingent on discussions with Pierre Nkurunziza to grant conditional immunity.  Since the UN is supporting this process, is it really a process if one side gets to choose who from the other side can attend?  What is the role of the UN in ensuring inclusivity of the talks?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have stressed and will continue to stress the need for all talks to be inclusive.  And we want, therefore, all people to be able to participate in a manner that is not conditional.

Inner City Press:  But, what is… I mean, conditioned on immunity.  This is a letter… this is a document from Mr. [Benjamin] Mkapa, and he seems to be accepting that Pierre Nkurunziza can choose who can attend.

Deputy Spokesman:  We're in touch with the parties, and we're doing what we can to ensure that talks will be as inclusive as possible.
  So what is the UN doing?
  On top of Mkapa's attempt to up his pay to $1500 a day, and inclusion in his team of a person named in a previous UN sanctions report for DR Congo, there are more and more questions about this facilitation. But the UN, which "supports" it, won't even disclose the delay and blocking of its visas. 
  Herve Ladsous, the fourth French national in a row to run UN Peacekeeping, overrode recommendations and continues to pay the Nkurunziza government for Burundian peacekeepers accused of 25 rapes in the Central African Republic. This is calling out for action and cuts, and a re-thinking of how and by whom UN Peacekeeping should be run. Watch this site.
While the UN claims, even now, that it vets the peacekeepers it deploys before it deploys them, it has already had to repatriate a number, from Burundi. On January 24 Inner City Press asked about another, but the UN in its transcript didn't even take down the name. Video here,UN transcript here and below.
   At the confirmation hearing for Nikki Haley, nominee as US Ambassador to the UN, on January 18 Haley three times said that countries whose peacekeepers abuse should not keep getting paid.
  Inner City Press asked the UN and UK about this, with the example of the UN having chosen to keep paying Burundi for 800 troops even after the UN's own inquiry charged 25 rapes by Burundian soldiers in the Central African Republic.
  UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft signaled agreement, that sexual abuse by peacekeepers should be met by repatriation. Tweeted video here. But simply to be replaced by troops from the same country, to get paid? 
(During Rycroft's answer, there was a smirk at the mention of Burundi, from US state media that's had John Kerry on its Board - perhaps aflashback to Liberians, here. We may have more on this.)
 UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called it a "case by case" decision, tweeted video here. But who decided it, and why?
As Burundi "facilitator" William Mkapa reconvened talks, the attendees list obtained by Inner City Press shows not only Ken Vitisia, of whom we're previously written, but also Francis Mnodolwa.
   Inner City Press previously on December 29 asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric to comment on the inclusion of an individual listed in the November 2009 DR Congo sanctions Group of Experts report, without answer. (Dujarric answered only two and a half of the 22 questions Inner City Press submitted: and those only to defend Ban Ki-moon and himself.)
  Now, from Paragraph 74 of that report:
"The Group has been informed by several sources, including a source close to Mr. Ndagundi, that he has close links to the ruling Counseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party in
Burundi.. Mr. Ndagundi.s Burundian telephone records also show 27 communications from April to September 2009 between himself and the number used by Francis Ndoluwa, the ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to Burundi, a former general in the Tanzanian military. A source close to Mr. Ndagundi informed the Group that he works closely with the Ambassador."
  So there is yet another of Mkapa's team that is close to the CNDD-FDD. 
On January 16, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhaq Haq, video here, UN Transcript here.
  On January 11, long after the UN Security Council ostensibly mandated the deployment to Burundi of 228 UN Police, no progress had been made. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: Has there been any progress in deploying the 226 police that the Security Council also mandated for Burundi to Burundi?  Do you have any update on that?

Spokesman:  No.  None that I can report.  Go ahead.  Last one.
   While corpses are found in Burundi and the government blocks the deployment of both the UN Police and UN Conflict Prevention staff ostensibly called for by the UN Secretariat and Security Council, the government's supporters try to side with either UN censors like Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, who evicted and restricts the Press which reports on Burundi, or more generally UN staff. 
It is more than a little ironic. UN staff are being PNG-ed and having visas denied from Burundi.
   While the UN says little and does nothing about this, they made a point of ordering Inner City Press to stop broadcasting on Periscope, with voice-over, a Town Hall meeting with new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which was on the UN's public UN Webcast website. And the government supporters, saying Inner City Press entered the meeting (it didn't) and picking up on the anti-Press maze Cristina Gallach of Spain and DPI has created, piled on. The UN of Gallach has brought this on; this is how the UN is perceived and to this has it sunk.
   There is also a strange announcement of a 500 Euros loan being arranged from a shadowy, seemingly dormant company “Biz Planners.” We'll have more on this.
 Benjamin Mkapa as Burundi mediator has kept his mind on his money, and his money on his mind, even as amid assissination of minister, closing down of NGOs. Well placed sources exclusively teold Inner City Press that Mkapa demanded a raise -- up to $1500 a day -- and was rejected.

Mkapa then took his demand to the East African Community heads of state. Will he get the payday? By declaring Pierre Nkurunziza legitimate because Ambassadors still present their credential to him, Mkapa is working for the money. But $1500 a day?

   There are other of his advisers gunning for up to $500 a day, including one who is said to have previously help arm CNDD-FDD related groups. Yes, we'll have more on this.

On January 4, Inner City Press asked about the Security Council's (lack of) Follow through on Burundi, to Ambassador Delattre of France, the "penholder" on Burundi. Tweeted video here.