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On Syria, UK Amos Promoted by UK Reuters, IRC Not Mapped by OCHA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 8 -- Humanitarian aid is supposed to be impartial and non-political but here is how it works at the UN these days.

  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which as Inner City Press has covered ignored just such impartiality questions raised by Doctors Without Borders in Eastern Congo, wrote a "confidential" letter to the UN Security Council about access in Syria.

  The head of OCHA is Baroness Valerie Amos of the UK. Mysteriously, Reuters had the "confidential letter," most say, from the UK Mission to the UN. (While noting that Reuters' UN Bureau demonstrably leaks TO the UN, here.) Soon, Reuters' re-type job was re-tweeted by WFP's spokesman... in the UK.

  Meanwhile in the UK, there's been an expose of outrageous salaries at the big aid NGOs, but nary a word from Amos' OCHA. Nor any similar listing of the tax-free compensation of UN aid big wigs.

  On August 7, OCHA in Syria put out a map of UN agencies and international staff in the country, which included the International Organization on Migration -- which is NOT a UN agency. The Free UN Coalition for Access asked, why was IOM included?

  A techie working for OCHA, more responsive than most of the UN's UNsocial media, replied that the footnote says IOM is in the UN County Team. Is any other group? Apparently not.

  Then on August 8, OCHA put out a map of NGOs in Syria. Earlier in the day, the International Rescue Committee, run by former UK politician David Miliband, teased a press call featuring its "team inside Syria." But IRC is not mentioned in the OCHA map. They brag of a visit by new US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power - and replied about where the cited refugees were from (including Syria).

   It's all good - but why is IRC, not on the UN's map, bragging of its team inside Syria? Watch this site.


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