Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ban Urged To Reverse “Crude & Heavy-Handed” Order To Evict Inner City Press from UN

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 6 -- Days after the UN threw Inner City Press out onto First Avenue on February 19, the free speech and whistleblower protection organization Government Accountability Project (GAP) from Washington D.C. wrote to the US Mission to the UN urging the Mission to work to get Inner City Press restored. It is UNclear what if anything was done.
On April 5, the day before the eviction deadline set still without providing any specifics on the alleged violation nor any opportunity to be heard or to appeal, despite a petition with over 1,280 signatures, GAP wrote a second letter, PDF here, directly to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It speaks for itself:
5 April 2016
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretariat
New York, New York 10017
Dear Mr Secretary General:
On behalf of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a free-speech and whistleblower protection advocacy organization in Washington D.C., I want to object to the treatment accorded to Matthew Lee of Inner City Press by the United Nations. The decision to expel Mr. Lee from the UN Secretariat and to exclude him from the access needed by a journalist to cover the Organization comprehensively is capricious and targeted. No rule breaking has been cited, nor has any process or established procedure been invoked to explain the action to be taken.
If such a process exists, or if Mr. Lee violated a UN protocol or regulation, whether knowingly or unknowingly, for which he is to be expelled, would you please inform us at GAP or him?
As you know, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The Declaration is a fundamental document for much of the work of the United Nations and forms a baseline for interpretation of international law around the world. The Secretariat's crude high-handed treatment of Mr. Lee is tantamount to a repudiation of Article 19 on the premises of the very Organization entrusted by the international community to defend freedom of expression.
I respectfully request that you take action to reverse the decision that will soon result in Mr. Lee's expulsion from his office and the withdrawal of his access to the UN premises.
Very Truly Yours,
Beatrice Edwards
International Program Director
Government Accountability Project

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