Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Health Attacks in Afghanistan Are Sometimes For More Service, New Yemen Report Slated for April

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 – The attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan include the Taliban taking a doctor hostage in order to demand more services in more places, it emerged at a UN press conference by the Watchlist group on March 6. Inner City Press asked Watchlist's Research Officer Christine Monaghan if this particular form of attack might show a need for greater outreach by the groups running the clinics. 

Her answer included that because the lines of control are changing, issues of impartial service delivery arise. Ahmad Khalid Fahim of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan recounted the Taliban urging the relocation of a clinic from an area next to a Governor's office to territory they controlled.

  In last April Watchlist will release a similar report on Yemen, the group's Executive Director Eva Smets told Inner City Press, presumably in advance of Secretary General Antonio Guterres' (but no longer Leila Zerrougui's) annual report on Children on Armed Conflict. How much new detail will there be on attacks by the Saudi-led Coalition which Ban Ki-moon had dropped from the CAAC Annex? Watch this site.
Back on March 1, abuses against children in Yemen, Burundi, the Central African Republic and Myanmar were raised to the Watchlist group, and later to the UN, by Inner City Press on March 1. Watchlist, one of its two speakers from Human Rights Watch, diplomatically declined to opine when Inner City Press asked if the Saudi led Coalition was behind the non-renewal of Special Adviser Leila Zerrougui's contract. But why wasn't she present at the Saudi foreign minister's recent meeting on the 38th floor, and the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to say why.
 After Watchlist's press conference on March 1, at the noon briefing an hour later Inner City Press asked the UN's Dujarric, transcript now here: 
Inner City Press: In this room, at 10:30, Watchlist, the group about Children and Armed Conflict, were pretty critical of the removal of the Saudi-led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict list, basically urging the new Secretary-General to put them back on and also urging him to take up, for the first time, Burundi as a violator of children's rights, including on killing and maiming.  So I wanted to know, are you aware of these calls?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm aware of it because I was listening to it as I was…

Inner City Press: So what do you think of it?

Spokesman:  …preparing for the briefing.  I think it's always important to hear from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who are heavily involved in these things, and the drafting of the report is under way and should be out not too long.

Inner City Press:  Is there any consideration of including the various peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, including the French force and the UN forces…?

Spokesman:  I will urge you to wait for the report.  
   We'll be here - unless Dujarric has his way with what he tried to do in 2016, get Inner City Press kicked out not only of the UN Press Briefing Room but the UN as a whole. (HRW did nothing - in fact, its UN lobbyist, in a prior capacity, twice tried to get Inner City Press thrown outmisusing the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to try to cover up one of the attempts, here. See also this, gotten under FOIA.)

  Inner City Press asked the Watchlist speaker about Burundi, video here, and after its Periscope, about the group's generally useful report's failure to specifically mention the plight of Rohingya children in Myanmar. On that, see here (Arakan Project), and watch this site.