Wednesday, February 8, 2017

On Myanmar, ICP Asks UNSG Guterres Spox If He Will Raise to UNSC Under Article 99, No

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 7 – Not only have the UN's “Good Offices” on Myanmar been ended - now the former office holder Vijay Nambiar is engaged in genocide denial after leaving the UN, still in New York, in his personal capacity. He did much the same previously on Sri Lanka. See below.

  On February 7, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Myanmar. UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Myanmar.  There was that statement yesterday by Adama Dieng saying that the existing commission there is not sufficient to do the investigation, and that commission has since rejected both reports.  So I guess I wanted to know, one, if there's a response.  But, two, this morning, one Security Council member said this Rohingya issue should be taken up by the Council.  Another said he wasn't sure.  And I'm wondering whether the Secretary-General himself… this would seem to be a kind of an Article 99.  Does he believe that, given the split in the Council — there's at least one member that doesn't want any outcome on anything to do with Myanmar — that he should raise it to the Council?

Spokesman:  We would very much hope that the Council agrees on its agenda.  They have heard briefings on Myanmar in the past from the Special Envoy, and we obviously stand ready to brief them should they request so.

Inner City Press:  I guess what I'm say… the last time that a briefing was held, there was an agreement in advance that there would be no outcome.  I think… and so I'm just… I'm wondering…

Spokesman:  If they request such a briefing, we would be happy to supply one.
 On February 3, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about reports of further abuse of the Rohingya, video here, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about this very detailed report about abuses of the Rohingya in Myanmar, I know that the mandate of the Good Offices expired, but I'm wondering, what is the Secretary-General's thought?  I asked the UK ambassador.  He said there different ways being considered for the UN to deal with this problem.  Is there any proposal by the Secretary-General either to revive that office or a different office or have some increased focus…?

Spokesman:  I don't think there will be a revision of that office, but that is not to say that there will be… there continues to be keen interest in the situation in Myanmar, obviously, on the human rights issue but also what the UN can assist and can do on the development issue through the coordinated work of the UN development agencies in Myanmar and, obviously, on the political front, in which DPA will be in the lead.  But, it will be a coordinated outlook on behalf of the UN system.

Inner City Press:  Right, but when you say the political, do you mean in terms of… does the Secretary-General believe, for example, that the Rohingya are and should be acknowledged as citizens of Myanmar?

Spokesman:  I think we have… this is an ongoing discussion.  I think the Secretary-General, the UN has been very clear on the need to address the needs of the Rohingyas in a way that respects their rights and that is good for country as a whole. 
  On January 31, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Dujarric, 
From the UN transcript, Periscope here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask, again, it has to do with the Rohingya, in this case, in Bangladesh.  Maybe you've seen reports that the Government of Bangladesh is considering moving the people that were able to cross the border in camps near the border to an island that's described as being often underwater.  Does the UN or, in particular, António Guterres have any…?

Spokesman:  I haven't seen those reports…

Inner City Press:  It's in the New York Times.

Spokesman:  I'll see what I can find.
  Six hours later and counting, nothing.
On January 17, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about disappearances in Shan State, where just-left Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki Ho has been mining. UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: it's a case that involves two individuals, which has become pretty high profile, in Myanmar.  There are these two Baptist leaders, one of whom used to show journalists the effects of airstrikes by the Government in Shan State, and Fortify Rights has called for the Government to… to say where they are.  They've been disappeared.  Is the UN aware of it?  And who's been sort of monitoring the human rights aspects of Myanmar, not just the Special Rapporteur, but is there still a Secretariat function, as used to be carried out by Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar?

Deputy Spokesman:  There still is a Secretariat function that's being carried out now by the Department of Political Affairs, and I'll check with them whether there's anything to say about this particular case.
From the January 12 UN transcript: 
Inner City Press: you'd said that Vijay Nambiar had stepped down at the end of December, the office was not funded.  But, I've seen he did an interview on 8 January with a Bangladesh publication, Prothom Alo, where he said he denied that there's genocide of Rohingya and Myanmar or he said that UNHCR had said that and then taken it back.  I wanted to, I guess, ask you, in what capacity… is he speaking for the UN in any way in saying that there's no genocide in the area?
Spokesman:  No, Mr. Nambiar is speaking in his personal capacity.
   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 here.

Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki-ho did mining and other business in Myanmar, after being on a “UN delegation.”