Child Soldiers, UN's Ban was Mute in Myanmar, But Spoke in Nepal
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 4 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month
the most active recruiter of child soldiers in the
world, he did not raise the issue. Now the UN's envoy on the topic
Radhika Coomaraswamy is "dispatching a team" to Myanmar
this month, mostly to talk with "non-state actors who have
entered into peace negotiations" with the government.
held a staged meeting with such groups too when he was there. He did
not raise child soldiers, and later one of the group confided that
its talking points were prepared by the government.
asked Ms. Coomaraswamy if Ban had raised the child soldier issue
while in Myanmar. She said he'd raised it in Nepal, but not
necessarily in Myanmar. Video here,
from Minute 15:42.
Inner City Press asked her what
countries may be added to the "Annex II" list, now that the
scope has been broadened to include maiming and sexual violence.
We'll have to see, she said.
Press also asked again about the child soldiers captured along with the
Justice and Equality Movement force in Omburman, Sudan in May 2008. Has
any recruiter of these child soldiers been charged with a crime? Ms.
Coomaraswamy said that JEM is subject to investigation by the
International Criminal Court. We'll wait for Moreno Ocampo, then .
UN's Ban and children in Myanmar, talking points not shown
of minors recruited into violent criminal gangs, which Inner City
Press has asked Ms. Coomaraswamy and Mexico's Ambassador Claude
Heller about several times, is now said to be assigned to a new
envoy, on the topic of Children and Violence. We aim to have more on
that in the near future.
while some in the UN think it unfair to continue to enumerate what
wasn't accomplished during Ban Ki-moon's visit, others on Tuesday
contrasted that trip to Bill Clinton quick trip to North Korea
resulting in the release of the two American journalists. One wag
asked, "Why couldn't Ban have done that?" Why indeed.
Myanmar, Team Ban has gotten bitter even about Hilary Clinton's
announcement that the U.S. would invest if Aung San Suu Kyi is
released. A Ban official asked Inner City Press, "Why didn't she
coordinate with Mr. Ban?" Why didn't Bill
* * *
Sawers Explains Leaving Sri Lanka Off UN Council Agenda, on LRA No
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 4 -- The UN Security "Council has to take
decisions on each country on its merits," outgoing UK Ambassador
to the UN John Sawers told the Press on Tuesday. Inner City Press had
asked Sawers to explain why, despite saying that he had the votes to
put Sri Lanka on the Council's agenda, the choice was made to keep
the issues of civilian casualties and now detentions on the margin of
the Council, in the UN basement, for the sake of Council unity.
"There is always a judgment to be made," Sawers answered,
"was to whether Council unity at a moderate level of agreement
is better than division on a more ambition level of agreement."
from Minute 32:08.
under Sawers put sanctions on Zimbabwe to a vote in the Council,
foreseeing and obtaining a double veto from China and Russia. On Sri
Lanka, it never pushed for vote, even though on procedural matters
such as additions to the Council's agenda no country has a veto.
decision during the tenure of Sawer and France's Jean-Ma
UK's Sawers and France's Ripert: ils son va,
Sri Lanka not on Council agenda
also asked Sawers what the Council's plan is, if any, to deal with
the Lord's Resistance Army, which in recent days made deadly
incursions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Central
African Republic and Southern Sudan. Video here,
from Minute 31:44.
latter, Sawers appeared
to conflate the documented LRA attacks with the separate tribal
conflicts on which, he said, UN Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy would
brief the Council later Tuesday. Sawers acknowledged of the LRA
that the "Council needs to address" to issue, after the
"exhaustive efforts of former president Chissano." But what
is the plan?
questions ranging from Iran -- a topic on which he's said less and
less to the media after being named the head of the UK's intelligence
agency MI6 - to Afghanistan. On the latter, no one asked Sawers to
statements of his minister David Miliband and the UN's Kai
Eide, who critiqued Miliband's call for talks with Taliban "local
commanders." Eide said they are not important enough. But who
does Eide work for?
deflected a question about reports that Myanmar may have a nuclear
program supported by North Korea, saying he would take the
correspondent's scheduling suggestion under advisement. Sawers got
his hackles up with a South Asian correspondent wondered why the UK
doesn't give helicopters to the UN and African Union Mission in
Do you think
Sudan would accept them from us, Sawers
pointedly asked. The correspondent persisted until Sawers said, we've
had enough on that. He noted that the Rwandan contingent in Darfur
still has its APCs trapped in Port Sudan. The "heavy lift"
air support the U.S. bragged of was not mentioned.
The partying for the departure of Jean-Maurice Ripert has already
begun. On August 3, La Francophonie threw him a bash. Now Ripert is
organizing his own farewell, seeking to invite the UN Security
officers who went on the Council's
African forays. Will the officer
who shot through the UN plane in Goma last year, leading to a bus
ride to Kigali, be invited?