UN Ban Still Silent, UNICEF Funds Only “Agency"
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 29 -- Before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon left
on his four country trip through Asia, the UN Special Rapporteur on
Health issued a report specifying violent anti-drug programs in
Cambodia and Vietnam.
Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin
Nesirky if Ban would be raising this issue, and was told to await
incremental reports of what Ban raised.
Cambodia, after political gatherings were banned in Thailand and a
petitioner beaten unconscious in Phnom Penh, it was directly reported
that “funds from the United Nations are being used to run a brutal
internment camp” to which “undesirables” were sent to be “raped
and beaten, sometimes to death.”
City Press, which has reviewed each stop along Ban's tour, wrote
about this Prey Speu camp on October 28, and on October 29 asked
Nesirky if Ban was aware of the issue and had raised it to Cambodian
replied that “UNICEF and the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
her Office, will be very happy to answer you questions.”
what about Ban? Even on the petitioner who, trying to get a letter to
Ban, was beaten unconscious by Cambodian authorities, Ban said
nothing, relying instead on the Deputy High Commissioner for Human
passing the buck to UNICEF and the HCHR, Nesirky nevertheless offered
this spin, that the “other reports” asked about by Inner City
Press followed a Guardian story, which Nesirky said was “an
extrapolation from funding to a ministry, not direct funding to a
specific institution.” Oh.
City Press asked this and other questions to UNICEF, and received
only this in return:
Q re Cambodia/anti-drug referred by OSSG, old Q re malnutrition
in Sudan referred to UNICEF by OCHA [and another]
Christopher de Bono @unicef.org>
To: "Matthew R. Lee"
Date: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 2:02 PM
UNICEF Cambodia is always concerned when allegations of this nature
arise, particularly when they involve children.
We do provide vital support to the Ministry of Social Affairs,
Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) to strengthen standards and
systems in child protection. We do not, however, work directly with
the Prey Speu centre, nor do we provide any funding to Prey Speu and
are confident that none of our funding goes to this centre.
Withdrawing our funding to MoSVY would not be in the best interests
of children in Cambodia.
In the case of Choam Chao, we did not withdraw funding, but engaged
the government to change its strategy, which it did, and this
resulted in the subsequent closure of the centre.
UNICEF is aware of the need to document the situation in centres like
Prey Speu across Cambodia and we are working with OHCHR to provide
technical assistance to the government to strengthen systems to
prevent such abuses happening in the future.
Sudan I have no information beyond what was previously made public by
our Representative Nils Kastburg.
[the other] I will ask colleagues in the field.
UN's Ban & UNICEF's Lake, rapes at Prey Speu not shown
from the Sidney
from the United Nations are being used to run a brutal internment
camp near Phnom Penh, where detainees are held for months without
trial, raped and beaten, sometimes to death. The Cambodian
government's Ministry of Social Affairs says the Prey Speu 'Social
Affairs Centre' 20 kilometres from the capital is a voluntary welfare
center... But human rights groups say the government-run centre is an
illegal, clandestine prison, where people deemed 'undesirable' -
usually drug users, sex workers and the homeless - are held for
months without charge or without ever going before a court. Detainees
- men, women and children are housed together in a single building -
are regularly beaten with planks of wood, whipped with wires, or
threatened with weapons. Gang rapes by guards are reportedly common,
and it is alleged guards have beaten three detainees to death. But
the ministry that runs Prey Speu still gets money directly from the
UN's children's fund, UNICEF.”
Ban Ki-moon as the head of the UN system this this is acceptable? We
still don't know. When Inner City Press asked if Ban would raise the
wider violent anti drug program issue in Vietnam, Nesirky said Ban is
still there. Watch this site.
transcript of October 25, 2010 --
Press: I want to ask about the Secretary-General’s impending
trip to Asia. There is a report to the Third Committee by the
Special Rapporteur on the right to health about, among other things,
what he sees as the violated practices in anti-drug programmes in
many of the countries that Ban Ki-moon is going to be visiting —
Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand — and he calls very strongly for the
UN to move against people who are incarcerated. This is all
according to his report. I just wonder: of the many issues obviously
on the Secretary-General’s agenda as he visits these countries, is
he aware of that? And there is a separate issue in Cambodia, where
people has said that they are going to try and rally in front of Ban
Ki-moon about evictions, forced evictions, in Cambodia. Are these…
Can you sort of… Can we get a run-down of what issues he is
planning to raise, and I just wonder whether these two are among
Nesirky: Sure. And again, I seem to recall that Farhan gave
you a bit of a run-down on the trip last week, sitting here. As the
trip progresses, we will be giving details. The Secretary-General
and his delegation are en route at the moment to Thailand where, as
you know, the visit starts. They then move to Cambodia and on to
Viet Nam for this UN-ASEAN [Association of South-East Asian Nations]
meeting and then to China, where, as you know, the Secretary-General
will be visiting Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing. On the question of
health, the very specific point that you raised, we can find out and
probably tell you as the visit progresses. The same goes for the
second part that you mentioned.