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Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 Crashed With 20 UN Staff Now UN In House News Confirm But No Answer to Staff Qs RIP

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 10 – Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi has crashed, with eight crew members and 149 passengers on board, reportedly among them UN staff and diplomats on their way to the the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya. Inenr City Press' sources in Somalia tell it of at least two UN staffers reportedly on the flight whose phones, WhatsApp and e-mails are not answering. Inner City Press has in writing asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his UN Spokesperson's Office including Stephane Dujarric about the names and nationalities - UK and Canada - it has been provided: "Beyond the many questions UNanswered, please provide the UN SG's / Secretariat's knowledge of and comment and action if any on the crash of EA Flight 302 - specifically, Inner City Press' sources inform it of sad news that there is no response from the phones or WhatApp etc of [REACTED] of the UK and [REDACTED] of Canada - please immediately confirm receipt, and respond." But as is their practices, despite the promises of Dujarric and Alison Smale, there's yet to be any answer to the specific question. Meanwhile, Inner City Press has received this from UN sources: figures of UN staff possibly affected is now up to 20.  This is likely to change: WFP - 6, UNHCR - 2, ITU - 2, FAO -1; UNON - 5, World Bank, IOM South Sudan, UNSOM, 4 booked through BCD travel. An hour after Inner City Press pubished those sad figures, the UN News Centre run by Alison Smale, published the same: "According to the UN Department of Safety and SS Kenya report, 19 UN staff perished in the crash. The World Food Programme (WFP) lost six staff, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCR) lost two, as did the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) each lost one staff member. Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) were also tragically killed." That seems to sum to 20. From Antonio Guterres this belated generic statement: "The Secretary-General was deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives in the airplane crash today near Addis Ababa. He conveys his heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members, as well as sincere condolences to the Government and people of Ethiopia.     The United Nations is in contact with the Ethiopian authorities and working closely with them to establish the details of United Nations personnel who lost their lives in this tragedy." There is this breakdown by nationality: 32 Kenyan, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Americans, 8 Chinese, 8 Italians, 7 French, 7 UK, 6 Egyptians, 5 Dutch, 5 German, 4 India, 4 Slovakians, 3 Austrians, 3 Swedes, 3 Russians, 2 Moroccans, 2 Spain, 2 Israel and 2 Poland. There is talk of pilots having complained about the plane ever since it was delivered by Boeing; some questioned that it was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and not the airline who first announced the crash. But from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and wider Secretariat, still nothing. Nothing at all, for hours.... When Helen Clark who ran an open campaign for Secretary General won by the significantly less open Antonio Guterres spoke about drugs near the UN back on 19 November 2019, Inner City Press went to ask and cover it. On the panel also were two UN officials, Craig Mokhiber of the office of Michelle Bachelet and Simone Monasebian, the New York Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Ms Monasebian recounted how some member states were prepared to break consensus on a paragraph on harm reduction in the annual resolution in the UN's Third Committee so that paragraph was removed. Inner City Press when called on asked the panel about the Security Council's heavy handed and military approach to drugs, for example in Afghanistan, and asked for more detail on the Third Committee which it for 138 days has been banned from accessing by UNSG Guterres. Ms. Monasebian noted that beyond Afghanistan the Security Council addressed drugs from 2009 under the Presidency of then Council member Burkina Faso through 2014. Mr. Mokhiber said that military approaches are counter productive. And Helen Clark when she spoke chided the shrinking of civil society space and attacks on journlists including exclusion from the UN across the road. Video here. It was appreciated, as were the event's hosts. Also on panel was Ann Fordham of IDPC and Moderator Jimena Leiva Roesc. The US sponsored and strong-armed statement of September was panned, and Ms. Fordham noted the US is not even pressing it in Vienna. There are relatively better parts of the UN - from which for now Inner City Press remains entirely banned by Guterres, without any due process. What other candidate would have done this? When youth leaders from South Sudan and DR Congo took questions on October 26, it was across the street from the UN and Inner City Press went to ask and live-stream. Video here. It asked about the performance of the UN Missions UNMISS and MONUSCO. Emilie Katondolo of the DRC's Young Women for Peace and Leadership said MONUSCO must do more to protect civilians, giving the killings in Beni as an example. Inner City Press before the October 26 noon briefing it was banned from for the 114th day in a row - and which featured not a single question on anything in Africa - asked Spokesman Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq, as well as USG Alison Smale who's banned it, "on deadline, what IS the UN doing? Also, from South Sudan Susan Kyunon Sebit William  told Inner City Press that UNMISS does not sufficiently protect civilians, particularly women, citing Terrain Hotel etc. What IS the UN doing? What did it learn?" Apparently nothing - these has been no answer. But it was an interesting GNWP event, with Lynrose Jane Dumandan Genon from the Philippines and Katrina Leclerk from Canada, where she says students in Manitoba have partnered with the Eastern Congo. Meanwhile today's UN bans press. When "the Role of Conventional Arms in Preventing Conflicts" was debated across First Avenue frm the UN on October 25, Inner City Press went, to ask a question. Video here. It asked UN Peacekeeping official Thomas Kontogeorgos what the UN has done about its negligent loss of weapons and ammunition - which Inner City Press asked about IN the UN before being banned as cover up by SG Antonio Guterres and his USG Alison Smale. Kontogeorgos to his credit answered, only somewhat evasively, that DPKO "provided inputs" to the Small Arms Survey, and now UNPOL passes information to INTERPOL (the disappearance of whose head Guterres has said nothing about, despite written questions from Inner City Press.). At the end of the IPI program, Youssef Mahmoud spoke about the elephant(s) in the room, selling arms. Afterward Dr. Mihaela Racovita of SAS told Inner City Press they are trying to make further inroads with DPKO, for example with the mission in Mali. We hope to have more on this - the lawless ban by Guterres and Smale, for reporting on UN corruption, is not helpful. But we will not stop. Back on September 5, hours after in the UN Security Council chamber UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said she supported the morning's meeting about Nicaragua due to refugee flows, across the street from the UN Inner City Press asked her why this logic didn't apply to the confict in the former British Southern Cameroons and the flight of Anglophones from state violence into Nigeria. Periscope video here.

     Pierce replied that a country is less likely to end up on the Security Council's agenda if it is taking some positive steps. But given 36 year Cameroonian head of state Paul Biya's torching of villages, what are his positive steps? A sceptic might point to the natural gas deal he signed with UK-based New Age, which UK Minister Liam Fox bragged around as showing UK companies can still get deals after Brexit.

   Also on the panel on the "Culture of Peace," moderated by Kevin Rudd, was Secretary General Antonio Guterres' head of policy planning Fabrizio Hochschild. When Inner City Press began a question to Hochschild, who had spoken with gruesome examples from Colombia of the need for opposing sides to humanize each other though “dignification,” Rudd cut it off.

Stepping off the crowded elevator at ground level Inner City Press endeavored to ask Hochschild the questions, both Cameroon and whether Guterres and his opaque Global Communicator Alison Smale, purporting to ban Inner City Press from the UN for life without once speaking with it, should engaged in some dignification. He declined to answer -- declined to dignify the question, so to speak -- then said “Ask Steph.”

It was a reference to Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who Smale has twice written would answer Inner City Press' question but who has refused to for a full week.

  This as Inner City Press, already banned from the UN for 64 days amid its questions on Guterres' inaction on Cameroon with the country's ambassador Tommo Monthe heading the UN Budget Committee, has an application pending to cover the UN General Assembly as it has for the past 11 years. Dignification, indeed. We'll have more on this.


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