Thursday, January 12, 2017

As Myanmar Denied Persecution and Rape, ICP Is Told UN "Good Offices" Are Over

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, January 5 -- Myanmar was the quiet topic of the UN Security Council on the evening of November 17, between meetings on South Sudan and Syria chemical weapons.
 Inner City Press was informed that while the US requested the closed door briefing, the US agreed as a condition that there would be no outcome to the meeting.  And now, Myanmar is not listed in any way, even in the footnotes, of the January Program of Work of the UN Security Council, click here for that.
On November 17 the briefer was Vijay Nambiar, Ban Ki-moon's envoy on Myanmar as he was, disasterously, on Sri Lanka. And sources tell Inner City Press that amid the burning of Rohingyas' homes and rapes and killings in Rakhine State, Nambiar advised the Council to go easy on Myanmar and give them time. This is is disgusting, all around.  The UN has refused to provide a summary of what Nambiar said. 
On January 5, Inner City Press asked holdover UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video hereUN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: the Myanmar Government had set up a panel to ostensibly investigate what was happening in Rakhine State, and they've issued their report.  And it says that there is "no proof of religious persecution and no evidence of rape," which is contrary to what almost everyone else has found, I believe even the UN itself has found.  So what is the response of the UN system…  and also, is there a good offices going forward?  [inaudible]

Spokesman:  No, Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar's work has concluded.  It was not renewed for the next year.  That is not to say that the Secretary-General will [not] continue to watch the situation in Myanmar extremely closely.  As the UN system as a whole will continue, we are… we have not changed our opinion in terms of what we've seen through the visit in Rakhine State and through various reports that the UN system has spoken about and continue to express our concern at the situation there and in the neighboring countries as people flee, as we've seen a mass movement of people out of Rakhine State into neighbouring Bangladesh, to mention just one. 
  On the morning of December 27, Inner City Press asked three Ban Ki-moon spokespeople question including: 
"Please state when Vijay Nambiar is leaving the UN / UN payroll. Again, please state the business activities in Myanmar of Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki-ho, not only through KD Power which your Office has stated it understands Ban Ki-ho has left, but also through Bosung Powertec and any other company and again, all details of the “UN delegation” the link regarding which Inner City Press has previously provided your office in early November."
  A week later, no answer, not even a confirmation of receipt, from the spokesman bragging he'll stay on another six months - at least. 
On January 3 Inner City Press asked this Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Myanmar, as I’m sure you’ve seen, there’ve been, over the last week or so, demolitions of houses and now a film or video has come out of police beating Rohingya.  So I wanted to know… I’d asked you, I guess, between Christmas and New Year, is Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar staying on?  Is there any future for this good offices approach?
Spokesman:  No, as far as I understand, Mr. Nambiar’s term has come to an end.  As for the future of the office, I will get back to you.  We’ve obviously seen those reports.  We’re looking into them, and they are of concern to us.
Inner City Press:  Right.  Because I saw… there’s report of a letter by a local… I guess his name is Mr. Carter, writing for the UN, saying that the demolition of the homes would… would inflame… inflame, but it wasn’t clear whether this was an official UN correspondence or what it is…  [inaudible]
Spokesman:  I’ve answered to the best of my ability. [inaudible]