UNITED NATIONS, July 14 – After the abuses by Cameroon's security forces have been ignored by the UN, as Inner City Press has repeatedly asked about them until being banned from the UN on July 3 and since, new leaked videos show summary executions and manhandling of prisoners. Inner City Press has asked a number of UN Security Council about these abuses and will be reporting on responses.
On Saturday July 14, after Inner City Press' e-mail inquiry to Swedish Mission personnel including Permanent Representativee Olof B. Skoog and his deputy Carlo Skau, the Mission's spokesperson Lisa Laskaridis proactively replied, "Thank you for your email and concern. We continue to follow the situation in Cameroon very closely, and we are in touch with the U.N. and other partners. We have stressed the importance of national dialogue and the need for the U.N. to have access. I will also contact Ms. Smale" - Alison Smale, the Under Secretary General for Global Communications who has declined to answer Inner City Press' seven e-mails since September 2017 and 5000+ signature petition. We'll have more on this.
As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres prepared to hold on July 12 his first press conference in UN Headquarters since January, he so much wanted to avoid questions on his failings like that in Cameroon that he had his UN Security rough up and oust Inner City Press and his bureaucracy ban it from the building. There was, as picked by Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric (who told The Independent the idea that Inner City Press has been targeted is "ridiculous"), no question about Cameroon. And still no answer to Inner City Press' written question - on the morning of July 11, Inner City Press asked three Guterres spokespeople, his deputy, his chief of staff and his British head of Communications Alison Smale questions including "There is a widely shared video of Cameroonian troops summarily executing civilians, including women and infants. What is Antonio Guterres' response to this?" While providing a cursory answer to a question Inner City Press submitted about the killing of civilians in Haiti - essentially a reference to another organization's position - these six UN officials did not even acknowledge the Cameroon question. And that remains true two days later, so Inner City Press on July 13 asked again: "Two full days ago I asked your Office about the video of Cameroon soldiers executing women and infants. You have still not answered. Now that Amnesty International has verified the video, what has the UN done about it? What will the UN do? Relatedly, what is the UN's comment on “Cameroon's President Paul Biya has announced that he will be a candidate in the 7 October presidential election that would, if he wins, extend his 35-year-rule. Biya tweeted 'I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as your candidate in the upcoming presidential election'" Inner City Press asked other questions, including about its being banned, that Haq has still not answered. On Cameroon, he returned with this pablum: "On Cameroon, we can say the following now: We are aware of the video circulating on social media and welcome the announcement by the Government of Cameroon to open an investigation into the matter. We urge the Government to swiftly and transparently conduct the announced investigation." Wait - UN Security's self-investigation of physically assaulting and ousting Inner City Press from covering the UN Budget Committee meeting on Guterres' proposals is neither swift - it's been ten days, a single sham interview - nor transparent. Inner City Press asked, without answer: "who is responsible for deciding, between 10 pm July 3 when I was assaulted by UN DSS Lt Dobbins and another UNnamed, and 10 am on July 5, that I was and am banned from entering the UN? Who participated in this decision? Your office yesterday told The Independent (UK) that “a review ha[s] been launched into the manner in which Mr Lee had been removed and his future accreditation.” How my accreditation should suffer for having been assaulted by Lt Dobbins and unnamed colleagues, for the second time in 11 days, is a mystery or worse. But please state how it is possible for DSS to investigate itself in this matter. What provisions does the UN have when abuse BY UN Security officers is alleged, and how does it impact for example their New York and other gun permits?" We'll have more on all of this.