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No UN Answers on Haiti, Korea Arrests Query Taken, Ban on Whistleblowers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- The UN declining to answer questions has become more and more routine. But now the UN, or at least Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, declines to even be asked questions.

  On November 9, the day after Nesirky took three questions from Inner City Press and answered none directly and one only by including an answer in the UN's transcript of its briefing, barely 15 minutes into the noon briefing Nesirky told Inner City Press, "Only one more question."

  Inner City Press proposed at least two questions, on arrests at a UN disarmament locale in South Korea and on whistleblower protections, noting that both are in the wheelhouse of the UN.

  "Choose one," Nesirky insisted. Inner City Press asked the arrests on JeJu Island, where a naval base in planned. The arrestees include Youngsil Kang, resistence leader Brother Song, Sung-hee Choi andDunguree (Park Sung-soo).

   Nesirky didn't answer about the arrests and crackdown, saying only that he would look into it -- as he said of UN treatment of claims on Haiti after it seemingly introduced cholera, and of failure to file public financial disclosure by numerous Ban administration officials, including his adviser on "global goods."

And so there was no chance to get Ban's response to the complaints against him and his report by the President of the UN Dispute Tribunal, Judge Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens. In essence, UNDT judges oppose a number of Ban proposals including precluding whistleblowers from getting review in the UNDT of adverse actions by the UN Ethics Office.

(c) UN Photo
Ban & Nesirky, views on Jeju crackdown not yet heard, Q on retaliation not taken

  GAP is on record to "urge the Secretary-General to withdraw the proposed change to article 2.1(a) of UNDT's statutes. We also encourage him to hold accountable the person who wrote language that mischaracterized the Tribunal's case law, apparently to mislead the General Assembly."

Inner City Press in the course of its reporting is often approached by UN personnel, including senior officials, who say they are concerned about retaliation. And so to remove any review of the rejection of their claims would only compound this problem. What is Ban's answer? His spokesman Nesirky, without explanation, would not take the question on November 9.

Perhaps as with whether if not why Ban is meeting with Egyptian presidential candidate Amre Moussa, the UN will unilaterally answer the question, as if to bury the answer. Perhaps it will do the same on the situation on JeJu Island, South Korea. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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