Wednesday, April 26, 2017

On Burundi, UNICEF's Reply to ICP on UNICEF Shirt on Gov Who Said Kill to Not Waste Fuel

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- While on Burundi the UN Secreetariat refuses to confirm its proposal of Michel Kafanda as part-time envoy, UNICEF has after five days answered Inner City Press on the hate-speech government in the UNICEF shirt. On April 20, Inner City Press asked: "please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo, in this instance on the joint Burundi / UNICEF shirt worn in this photo worn by the governor of Makamba province who last week called on residents to 'eliminate' rebels so fuel 'won't be wasted by having them transferred to the police.' How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way? Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?" On April 25, UNICEF spokesperson Joe English responded: "On Burundi, please find below a response to your questions. * Please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo? The unauthorized use of the UNICEF name and logo is against international law and is expressly forbidden. How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way?
UNICEF condemns all forms of hate speech.
Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?
The t-shirt was part of the education campaign, which took place in September 2015 as the new government was being established. As such, this would have been the period when Gad Niyukuri was transitioning from his past role to his new one, and he would quite naturally still have been involved in the back-to-school campaign and therefore received one of the t-shirts for the campaign. The photo does not have any relationship with the news item of April 2017." And there it is. It is reported that "According to the residents of the Kazirabageni zone, Gad Niyukuri would have urged residents to eliminate the rebels "instead of wasting fuel by transferring them to the police.'"
   On Burundi, France which as UN Security Council penholder has accomplished little on the issue has a new proposal, sources exclusively told Inner City Press, which it exclusively published on April 20: to nominate the former transitional president of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando as a UN envoy specifically on Burundi. And now Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro has answered Inner City Press that "Burundi is very comfortable with the intention of the UNSG to appoint H.E Michel Kafando as his special Envoy." See reply tweet, here. Now the Pierre Nkurunziza government's approval of a"Special Envoy" is explained to Inner City Press with disgruntled Security Council sourcing as due to Kafando's position being part time, "When Actually Employed," based in Burkina Faso with human rights not to be mentioned. On April 24, Inner City Press askeUN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric again about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Burundi, I’d asked you on Friday about the proposal, which is now by… to name Michel Kafando as an envoy to Burundi.  You said you had no comment.  Since then, the Ambassador of Burundi has told me that the Government supports the proposal.  It seems like it’s clearly a proposal.  But what I wanted to ask you and I’d like you… maybe… if not from this podium, before it’s finalized, is it, in fact, when actually employed, a part-time position that’s being proposed?  And, if so, can you explain what I’m told that DPA [Department of Political Affairs], when it informed Council members of the proposal, didn’t mention that it’s part time?  So I think it’s important to know, what is the proposal?

Spokesman:  I will try to find out more information.  I have nothing from here.  
  Again, nothing. And ever more dwindlingcommitment to human rights or even just transparency. The source says the Security Council members told of the appointment were NOT told it was "When Actually Employed." We'll have more on this. 
After publishing the exclusive, on April 21 Inner City Press asked French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre about it. He smiled and said "bonne question." Then Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who refused to comment. From the UN transcriptInner City Press:  I wanted to ask you on Burundi.  Inner City Press has reported and I believe has some confirmation from the French Mission that there is a proposal by France and possibly the EU for an UN envoy to Burundi, specifically Burundi only, not conflict prevention:  Michel Kafando, the former transitional President of Burkina Faso, and I wanted to know from you whether the Secretary-General has discussed this proposal with the proponents and if he thinks given the urgency of the situation if it’s a good idea and what the next steps would be?

Spokesman:  I have no comments on that.
  But later on April 21 a UN official told Inner City Press that Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza has approved it. Another diplomat told Inner City Press that Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro was summoned to the UN Department of Political Affairs. We'll have more on this. The UN has sunk so low that the lead spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres Stephane Dujarric on April 10 refused to even take a Press question about Burundi, where the UN itself says there is a risk of genocide. When Inner City Press said "Can I ask a question about Burundi," where there increased hate speech amid a warning from other parts of the UN of a threat of genocide," Dujarric replied, "No, we're done." Video here, contrasted.  
On April 18 another part of the UN system describes some of the events that Inner City Press asked and sought to ask for Guterres' position and action on: " On 1 April this year in the northern province of Kayanza, around 2,500 Imbonerakure reportedly marched from Kayanza football stadium along the main road chanting similar slogans, inciting rape and violence against opponents. Reports suggest that senior officials were present at this rally. Reports also suggest that similar chanting occurs regularly at weekly Imbonerakure meetings in the southern province of Makamba. On 3 April, during a meeting on security, the Governor of Makamba reportedly urged the local population to maintain security, to arrest any suspicious person, to check every bag and suitcase and to 'eliminate immediately' every person presumed to be a rebel. On 7 April, the President of the Senate is alleged to have incited people to violence in Makamba, reportedly calling for all suspected rebels to be 'silently collected.' This is the latest of many such speeches where the President of the Senate has reportedly used coded language, with its roots in the mass violence from Burundi’s past, to incite followers to violence." So what about Guterres' lead spokesman refusing to answer the Press on Burundi? What about the UN's Department of Public Information still requiring Inner City Press to have a minder even to cover its Rwanda genocide commemoration, then requiring Inner City Press to leave mid-way through? What about the continuing failure of all parts of the UN system - including in Geneva Prince Zeid and his spokesman Rupert Colville - on the abuses in Cameroon including the now 91 day Internet cut? On Burundi, is it any surprise that the East African Community's Secretariat, appointed by Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, mocks UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' report on Burundi? And that there is no response from the UN? This is how low the UN has sunk. Dujarric is still spokesman after this, and after playing his role in evicting and still restricting the Press, which has been raised. After in Burundi a hate-video of the ruling party's militia calling for the impregnation or rape of opposition women was widely seen, when Inner City Press asked the UN about it on April 5 the UN said it had not been aware, ironically thanked Inner City Press - which it has evicted and still restricts - and said something would be done. What? From the UN transcript: 
  Inner City Press: on Burundi, but there's a… a… a video has emerged of the ruling party militia talking about impregnating all the women of all people that don't agree with the militia's platform for pro… for Pierre Nkurunziza.  So, given things that the UN has said in the past, what's the response to this?  And what is the UN doing currently in the last, you know, two weeks or so on the situation in Burundi?

Associate Spokesperson:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We weren't aware of this video.  And, if true, that's very highly troubling.  And we have, as you know, a team on the ground that I'm sure is looking into this, and hopefully, will take some action.
  What action? When the UK held the wrap-up session for its month as President of the UN Security Council on March 31, at first no one on its team volunteered to speak on Burundi.  Then the month's weak Council Press Statement was cited, with no mention that of the non-deployment of the 226 Police the Council ostensibly mandated in a resolution. Also on March 31, Inner City Press asked Tanzania's Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga about the Arusha talks. His response is on video, here. Off camera, he told Inner City Press should be allowed to chose which country's or countries' police it would like deployed. 
  When the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacekeeping Commission last met, UN Human Rights testified that the country's SNR tortures people based on ethnicity, by making them walk on glass and pouring gasoline into their wounds. Then Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro, who recent placed the UN or at least Ban Ki-moon into the "Axis of Evil," took the floor and denied it all. Periscope video here. The Special Adviser he and Pierre Nkurunziza are seeking to have removed was not on the podium. (We noted that Burundi has Persona Non Grata-ed or recused his predecessors, Abdullah Battily, Carolyn McAskie, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Youssef Mahmoud, Said Djinnit.)  The chair, Ambassador Jurg Lauber of Switzerland, is set to visit Burundi from March 27 to March 31, while others in the UN system are banned or delayed. 
  Also speaking was France, but not through its top Ambassador Francois Delattre or even his deputy Alexis Lamek. It called the mind France's approach in Cameroon, where its ambassador Thibault last week congratulatedPaul Biya for a non-existent dialogue with the Anglophone areas. Why isn't at least UN Peacekeeping working on these areas, where the Internet has been cut off by the government for 56 days and counting? Watch this site.
  On March 13, when the UN again refused to answer about Cameroon, Inner City Press asked about its Special Adviser on Conflict Prevention and Burundi, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: just this morning, the ambassador of Burundi said again that… that they reject and… and… and completely the Special Adviser… seems to be a big standoff between the Government and the Secretariat.  What's the status of the letters the President sent, that Mr. [Albert] Shingiro sent, and the Secretary-General, is he trying to speak to the Government to get them to… to… to allow people in or where's it stand?

Spokesman:  There's no update to what the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council not too long ago.
   Burundi now wants to change all of the UN staff in the country. Meanwhile, the UN's dysfunction on Burundi has reached the point where its spokesman can refuses to answer three Press questions in a row about the country, then run off the podium, saying "I'm lazy." Video here. 
 Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a delayed February 23 report says, of Pierre Nkurunziza, "an attempt by the president to seek a fourth term in office under the current circumstances would risk intensifying the crisis and undermining collective efforts to find a sustainable solution." 
 Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro, hitting back at even the use of the term "four term," tweeted: "With the intention of destabilizing #Burundi in 20 the same axis of evil that failed regime change in15,invents another magic word'4th term'."
  On February 27, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric about this quote, and for a second time about the UN training Burundi security forces in CAR on drone usage. Dujarric said he didn't think of the UN as in an axis of evil. He didn't answer on the fourth term, word invention, or the UN providing drone training. We'll have more on this.
   Pressed, Shingiro has said he wasn't called Antonio Guterres part of an Axis of Evil, since he wasn't UN Secretary General in 2015. But could hapless, corruption plagued Ban Ki-moon be a part? More like the Axis of Mediocrity. 

 And did Guterres really "invent" fourth term as a "magic word"? Or wouldn't a Pierre Nkurunziza run for election in 2020 be a run for a fourth term? How will the UN react to this? For now, Guterres spokesman Dujarric - who has previously been the face not only for AoE Ban Ki-moon but also Kofi Annan before that - won't answer the most basic question. Dujarric too is a fourth term man. We'll have more on this -- and this, that Shingiro previously outed his own second Twitter account by tweeting a photo with the UN's evicter in chief Cristina Gallach, here. Axis of Evil, indeed.