Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

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


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN Mistakes Sri Lanka for Zimbabwe, Access to Vanni Doubtful, UNICEF No Comment Yet

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 -- The day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the crisis in northern Sri Lanka "under-reported" and spoke of sending a UN humanitarian assessment team there when he finds it appropriate, the level of UN's un-engagement in Sri Lanka became clear. Inner City Press, which asked Ban why he hasn't called for a ceasefire, on Wednesday asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas for information about Ban's assessment mission idea, whether the Sri Lankan government would grant access, and what level of UN official has been allowed into the Vanni region since September 2008.

  Ms. Montas responded that "where Ms. Bragg will go with the delegation is going to be determined" once there, "if it can enter Vanni" is not known, but it will aim "wherever we have the highest civilian casualties." Video here, from Minute 12:52.

  But as Inner City Press pointed out, the UN's Catherine Bragg is going to Zimbabwe, not Sri Lanka.  Oh I see, Ms. Montas apologized. She acknowledged that the UN people given access are "operational people working on the ground."  She added, "He feels that it is needed." But would the government give access? "We don't know yet," Ms. Montas said.

  While on the one hand Ban's spokesperson went beyond his February 10 comment that he would send humanitarian assessment teams "whenever I think it is appropriate," but saying "he feels that it is needed," to mistake Zimbabwe for Sri Lanka raises more questions.

Northern Sri Lanka targeted -- in out-of-date map, UN still not shown

  Later on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked the head of one of the UN humanitarian agencies, UNICEF's Ann Veneman, if the UN has had difficult accessing north Sri Lanka and especially Vanni. "We have difficulties with access now for our humanitarian work," Ms. Veneman answered, adding that she was in Northern Sri Lanka in 2005 and that her agency would get more information to Inner City Press. Video here, from Minute 30:05

  Shortly after the press conference, Inner City Press e-mailed questions to UNICEF's spokesman:

"Are there areas of Sri Lanka to which UNICEF does not have access? How large and where are these areas? Have there been changes in the past days, weeks and months? Has there been any changes in recruitment or use of child soldiers in that time frame, to UNICEF's knowledge? What is UNICEF's view of the current upsurge in conflict's impact on  children and women? Would UNICEF call for a ceasefire? If not, why not? Writing on this today."

  The UNICEF spokesman left a voice mail, "I am not waking up any of our people in Sri Lanka on this one," he said. One reporter, hearing this, quipped that the UN has long been asleep in and on Sri Lanka. Watch this site.

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -