Ban Slams Gaddafi Like Gbagbo, Defers on Opponents' Abuses,
July 14 -- The UN always says that it is watching, but only
sometimes it denounces. So it is in Libya.
Abuses by Gaddafi forces,
still prevalent, have been condemned from Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon on down. But amid reports of looting and beatings by
anti-Gaddafi rebels, the UN in New York stands silent, trying to pass
the buck to more distant parts of the UN system.
July 13 Inner
City Press asked
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:
Press: the Libyan rebels are, according to the [reports],
responsible for looting and beating people in towns they have taken
over in their drive towards Tripoli. These are towns viewed as
supporting [Muammar al-] Qadhafi. There have been many UN statements
on abuses by the Qadhafi forces. What’s the UN system’s response
to these pretty well-documented reports of abuses going the other
Well, I would have to check with the relevant folks, for
example in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and
with our colleagues in the Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs who have people on the ground in Benghazi. I
think it is self-evident that we would condemn abuses, human rights
abuses from whichever quarter. But I would want to add there that it
is obviously important that the relevant people who would monitor
these things — I am thinking of our colleagues who deal with human
rights in particular — to be able to comment in detail on that.
On this situation that you were just talking about in Libya, that I
think Matthew asked you, about the rebels are now being accused of
perpetrating attacks against the civilians…attacking civilians
inside Libya and that is creating another problem.
Well, I have my work cut out being the Spokesperson for the
Secretary-General, but I am certainly not the spokesperson for
Matthew Lee. So you might want to check with him what he was asking
me. But the point that I was trying to make was that human rights
abuses by anybody should be condemned and need to be investigated. And
it is for the relevant people within the United Nations,
particularly those who deal with human rights, to look into this.
implies that Ban Ki-moon does not “deal with human rights,” and
doesn't answer why Ban himself would condemn actions by Gaddafi
forces, but defer to other “people in the UN.. who deal with human
rights” to address documented abuses by anti-Gaddafi forces.
played out in Cote d'Ivoire, where Ban himself criticized the use by
Gbagbo forces of heavy weapons, while deferring to other in the UN
system on murders by pro Ouattara and Soro forces in Douekoue and
worse is this
UN's performance on Myanmar, where Ban's chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar, ostensibly in charge of the UN's Good Offices role in
Myanmar, has had nothing to say as the Burmese government has
launched attacks against the Kachin people, and is now documented to
be using Karen captives as slave labor and human shields.
Ban & (Myanmar) Special Adviser, human rights not shown
July 13 Inner
City Press asked
Ban's spokesman Nesirky:
Press: on Myanmar, there has been a report issued documenting
the use by the military there of convicts pressed into service, some
people call it slave labor or... human shields. It’s a report
issued by the Karen Human Rights Group. Is it something that the UN
system, particularly the good offices mandate, is aware of, and is it
the type of thing that it would be raising to the Government to not
be using convicts as human shields for its military?
Well, I would be confident that our colleagues who deal
with this topic would be aware of any reports that come out and would
want to study them carefully. I don’t have any further details on
what they may or may not do, having studied those reports.
Press: Thanks a lot. I am always trying to figure out what the
scope of that good offices office is. I understand, like in almost
any country in the world, the Office of Human Rights, the
Commissioner, that there is some UN monitoring process. But this
seems to be a country that there is a particular GA-mandated unit
headed by the Secretary-General’s Chief of Staff. So, when you say
“our colleagues”, is that the Office you’re referring to, or is
it a more general --
As you yourself pointed out, there are different parts of the UN
system that would be dealing with different aspects of what
transpires in Myanmar, or indeed in any other country. And as you
well know, there is a country team in place in Myanmar. And outside
of Myanmar, there is indeed the good offices mandate and there are
those, including in the Office of the High Commissioner, who would be
looking at Myanmar through that particular prism of human rights. And
they of course coordinate with each other. They don’t work in
isolation. If I have anything further on that, of course, I would
let you know.
a full 19 hours
later, nothing had been said. Earlier in
the week Ed Luck, Ban's
adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, said that if
inconsistencies or double standards are seen in the Secretariat's
actions and statements, it should be brought up.
So it is,
Libya through Cote d'Ivoire to Myanmar. Now what? Watch this site.
* * *
Stonewalls on Flights of Volunteer Envoy, Confirms Vandewelle
12 -- The UN's engagement on Libya has come slightly
more into focus, though still vague on money. On Monday, the UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's envoy on Libya Abdul Ilah Al-Khatib
City Press that he is still
a “proud” Senator in his native
Jordan, and works for the UN only as a volunteer.
asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm that
Khatib demands and receives UN planes to fly from Jordan to locations
other than Libya, and that he has UN-paid staff in Libya. Nesirky
defended the flights without yet providing information, including if
the planes come of the UN missions in the Congo or Sudan:
At the stakeout yesterday, Mr. [Abdul Ilah] al-Khatib
clarified and said he is now, he is a volunteer and remains a senator
in Jordan. And I just, I don’t want to belabour it, except to say
that some say there is still kind of a… the issue of serving both
the UN and a Government at the same time, they’re not sure there is
a precedent for that and think that OLA [Office for Legal Affairs]
may have criticized it. And also I wanted to know whether in fact
he’s flown, requests or demands a UN plane to fly from Jordan to
various meetings not in Libya and also has UN staff in Jordan. What’s
kind of the cost and what’s the… is the thinking, if he
doesn’t personally receive a salary, there is no possible conflict
of interest with being a sitting politician in a country in the
I think Mr. Al-Khatib can speak for himself on that
particular topic, and evidently did so yesterday. That’s the first
thing. Second is that, of course, a special envoy working on a topic
as high profile and complicated as this one could be expected to have
people supporting him from the Department of Political Affairs, and
that is certainly the case.
his staff is someone that worked for him in the past? Was it a
UN staff member forwarded to Amman? ... Is this a new
let’s not extrapolate from one particular case. This is an
important role that Mr. Al-Khatib has and is carrying out. He is
widely respected in the region; he knows the players in the region
and evidently has access to them, too. And that’s clearly, in the
present circumstances, rather important. He obviously also needs to
travel, not just to Libya but to other countries in the region. And
another one would be, for example, the Contact Group meeting that’s
going to take place in Istanbul. That’s quite normal and
understandable for someone who is working on a topic in a role where
he is precisely supposed to be coordinating and liaising between
different groups and seeking to mediate a solution to this crisis.
Do the planes… just one last thing, do the planes come
from UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] or from [MONUSCO in
need to check what planes are used, if any. I would need to
check on that. I don’t know the answer.
hours later, no answer had yet been provided.
Ban meets his envoy, now a volunteer, UN planes
& staff not shown
One answer that
Nesirky's office did
belatedly come up with concerned the UN's hiring of Dartmouth
profession Dirk Vandewelle. Twice Nesirky's
deputy Farhan Haq
declined to confirm the hiring, which a UN source told Inner City
Press was "pathetic."
Tuesday, Nesirky's office belatedly
on Dirk Vandenwalle
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not
Reply [at] un.org
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com
from last week, we can confirm that Dirk Vandenwalle
is working with Ian Martin's team dealing with the transition in
Libya. He was hired as a consultant.
as what cost? And as some wonder, why would a Special Adviser need
Political Advisers? Watch this site.