Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

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

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER
 More: InnerCityPro

MRL on Patreon

Home -

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


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

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

In DRC As Lava Threatens Goma UN Mission Lies & SG Guterres Late While Banning Inner City Press Asking

By Matthew Russell Lee, Vine, Periscope, photo

UN GATE, May 24 -- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the UN of Antonio Guterres has little to say when civilians protesting are abused; his peacekeepers commit sexual abuse are are merely allowed to fly home without punishment. On May 23, more than 24 hours into the deadly lava eruption of Mount Nyiragongo near Goma, he had said nothing. He should be fired.

 Now, while banning Inner City Press and its questions from his hour-late briefing, this: "The Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life and damage caused by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo near Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 22 May. He expresses his deepest sympathies with the families of those who have been affected and with the Government and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.       The Secretary-General is concerned that this disaster comes at a time of increased humanitarian needs in the region, fueled by insecurity and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and socio-economic impact.  The United Nations and the broader humanitarian community are already working to support the Government’s efforts to assist those affected by the eruption, through the provision of emergency humanitarian aid. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has also mobilized its air assets to monitor the situation and is working with the authorities to ensure that the population is kept informed of all related developments."

Keep Congolese informed as he does not, of the charges of sexual abuse against UN peacekeepers here? Talk about phoning it in.

  Guterres' mission MONUSCO (a/k/a MON-USELESS) actively downplayed the danger, as noted by Inner City Press banned from the UN but previously on UNSC trip to Goma, when a UN Security goon shot his gun through the UN plane carrying UN corrupt-o Alan Doss, misreported by a UN insider as a shot from outside. The UN and its enables have done little to nothing to help the DRC, billions of dollars later. More on this to come.

 For years now, the murders of UN experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, about which Inner City Press asked then UK ambassador Rycroft in 2017 here before Guterres had it and its questions banned, have gone unacted on.

  Now on May 21, 2021, the US Mission to the UN has said that its Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who has done nothing (yet?) about Guterres' ban of Inner City Press had " thanked President Tshisekedi for his ongoing commitment to a full investigation into the murders of UN experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán." What?!? 

We'll continue to cover this - and must be restored to access to ask.

Previously, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq on March 26, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], they're now… it seems like the Government there is… is saying that it's not going to attend the… the aid conference in April that was promoted from… from this podium by the WFP guy in… in DRC.  What's the UN… is the UN trying to… to make sure that, one, they attend and, two, that they either accept the aid or that the aid somehow reaches the people in the DRC?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of the press reports, but the authorities continue to work closely with us on planning the important event and have not signalled in any official correspondence that they would decline to participate.  The UN and our humanitarian partners have a good working relationship with authorities, which is underpinned by a continuous dialogue focused on both needs and solutions." But the EU says different. And on March 27, Inner City Press asked new Permanent Representative Karen Pierce of the still in the EU UK: Inner City Press: On the DRC, did the Secretary General say that they are going to go to the aid conference in April? The EU said that they are not but yesterday the spokesman said that they are. Is it your understanding that the DRC is going to go to this major aid conference? AMB PIERCE: "It was not clear at the meeting. People have heard different things. So the UN will keep pressing on the conference." So did Guterres acknowledge at the lunch, unlike his spokesman in the briefing room, that it is not all systems go for the DRC to appear at the conference? On April 4, the UN told Inner City Press it admitted the DRC was not coming. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: The Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has said, again, that the DRC will not attend the donors' conference in Geneva on April 13th. Last… I've asked Farhan twice in your absence, and he said, no, we have no correspondence.  The preparations are going forward.  With the Foreign Minister saying they're not going, is it the UN's understanding that they're not going?

Spokesman:  Yes.  Our understanding is that they will not be going, and our understanding is that the conference will go on as scheduled." Then, hours later, the UN's OCHA, run by an official source tell Inner City Press is distant and more, put out this: "In response to the deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the previous year, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee activated a Level 3 response on 20 October 2017, with a focus on the Kasais, Tanganyika and South Kivu provinces.

This has been effective in mobilizing international capacity to scale up humanitarian support. Since the L3 activation, over 1.1 million people have been successfully reached with life-saving assistance in the Kasais, Tanganyika and the Kivus. The benchmarks established on 20 October 2017 to measure the L3 scale-up have largely been met. The L3 status will accordingly be de-activated on 20 April 2018.

Given that the single most critical issue for the humanitarian response is funding, it is vital that the focus now be on raising the required funds to reach people in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance across the DRC. The 2018 United Nations humanitarian appeal requires US$1.7 billion.

The United Nations continues to engage closely with Government counterparts on the humanitarian situation in the DRC. I look forward to continued, close coordination with the authorities as we continue to work to support millions of people across the country." Negotiations by press release? Something done dreadfully wrong  After Dutch minister Sigrid Kaag on March 8 answered Inner City Press that she will raise the issue of the murders of UN Experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan during her upcoming trip, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the UN is doing. From the UN's March 8 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo].  Just this morning, Sigrid Kaag said that she'll be travelling, I guess, with Mark Lowcock at the same time to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  And I'd asked her about the case of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan.  She said she'll be raising it, but I'm wondering, what's the UN's update?  What steps are being taken to get to the bottom of the death of these UN sanctions experts? Spokesman:  As you know, the UN has sent experts to help support the investigation by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Those experts have… are… have gone there.  They may still be there.  They're going back and forth, but they're working with the authorities who have the responsibility to find those responsible for the death of our colleagues, and we will continue to follow up with them in that regard." On March 9, the UN described the trip: "Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 11 to 13 March. Mr. Lowcock will be joined by Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands. They will meet with Government Officials in Kinshasa and travel to Kalemie, Tanganyika Province, to see first-hand the humanitarian situation. Mr. Lowcock’s is expected during his visit to call for greater support to the already large humanitarian response in DRC and invite international donors to the first-ever donor conference for DRC to be held in Geneva on 13 April." On March 7, after a three hour UN Security Council meeting about the DRC, Inner City Press at the stakeout asked the Dutch president of the Security Council for March if the murders of UN Experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, which the DRC foreign minister cursorily addressed in his speech, had been delved into in consultations. Video here. There was no answer - the Netherlands as this month's President of the Council seems to believe it cannot answer such questions on the record, or at least not on camera. We disagree - that's the way these questions must be asked, and answered. And Inner City Press did ask, Dutch minister Sigrid Kaag, see here and below.

After the issuance by the UN of whitewash report, on August 17 the UN Security Council met about the DRC. In attendance were John E. Sharp and Michele M. Sharp, and Maria Moresby and Elizabeth Moresby. Photos here. Before the meeting began, Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen, as transcribed by the UK: Inner City Press: The security management system has said it was unclear if the experts are subjects to its regulations, do you think they are or should be and if they were at the time they were murdered, who should have told them they were actual subjects to it? It’s paragraph 24.
Amb Allen: I’ve read the Board of Inquiry report. I think there are a number of questions there are to be followed up with the UN system and we will be doing that.

   Inner City Press also asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, who would not say if the regulations applied and who, when Inner City Press asked for report lead author Greg Starr to hold a press conference said Starr is not a UN person. The buck-passing is extensive. If the UN cannot rule out that the murders involved the Congolese government, how is counting on them to investigate acceptable? We'll have more on this. Inner City Press on August 10  asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the report into the killing of the two experts, Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán, I noticed that the Deputy Secretary-General met with the perm rep of DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] this week?  Is that report, in fact… I think you'd said it was coming out quite soon.

Spokesman:  "Yeah, I expect a, it is coming out quite soon.  I also made sure not to box myself in with a… with a date promise, but I think we should have… we should be able to announce something either late this week or early… early next week." And now on August 16, the day before the Security Council meets on its, Inner City Press is publishing the summary of the report, here. It is a whitewash. Specifically, it is another whitewash by the UN Department of Safety and Security of itself. Earlier this year Inner City Press published a leaked complaint of another alleged cover up by the head of DSS Peter Drennan, here. But in this summary, paragraphs 23 and 24 are particularly shameful. The Starr report states that the Board of Inquiry named by Secretary General Antonio Guterres "found that the United Nations had a fully functional, in-depth security program in place that was adequately staffed and resourced to perform required security functions." Really? The report states that "members of Groups of Experts do not believe that the United Nations Security Management System regulations pertain to them." But did they, in March 2017? And if they did, whose responsibility was it to have told the experts? Do they now?  What actions, or factors, regarding the lack of implementation of the UN Security Management System contributed to their deaths? This is not answered. It is a whitewash. 

  On August 8, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], and this is not about… this is about the Government itself announcing two telecom companies to slow down the internet so that images cannot be transmitted by Twitter or other…

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of the situation.

Inner City Press: I guess what I'm wondering on that — there's an article on it, so you could be aware of it —is, does the UN, as much as you might seem like you don't monitor Twitter, given that photographs are one of the ways in which human rights violations in the Kasais are being documented.

Spokesman:  I understand.  I'm aware of the situation.  I can check.

  Eight hours later, nothing - but UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, who met with a Cameroon trio on August 8 with Dujarric not despite Press requested providing the attendees list, is set to meet with the DRC on August 9. We hope to have more on this. On August 4, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about a UN report, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there's a due-diligence and vetting process.  So, one side of the UN has found that there may be Government units supporting these.  Are you saying that these units are not being supported… the… the supervisors or whoever the UN is aware of…?

Spokesman:  I think, as you know, we've said in the past and we do due diligence.  There are some units we've worked with and others we have not, and we've been very open about when we've refused to work with certain units.

Inner City Press: And although this report doesn't specifically name, but seems to show some knowledge of, who in the Congolese governmental system is supporting these militia units, has that information been turned over for the… for purposes of vetting?  And are there any people actually being vetted?

Spokesman:  I'm sure that, in drafting the report, it was shared with the Congolese authorities.

   On August 2 he returned to say more than 100 had been arrested, including journalists (he himself evicted the Press from the Briefing Room and UN); Inner City Press asked him, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Thanks for the, I guess, the numbers on DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo].  I wanted to ask you about another report from there which is that the press there is reporting that the Gregory Starr report into the death of the experts, Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, exonerates the Government.  That’s what the media in the DRC is saying, is the report finished?

Spokesman:  The report is still in its final stages of being finished.  I think anybody who claims to know the conclusions of the report is speaking on, not based on any knowledge or facts.

Question:  Sure.  Well, I mean Gregory Starr presumably would know?

Spokesman:  I'm saying in any press reports to that effect.

Question:  What is going to be the logistics and the timing of actually people, because, given the interest in this in of knowing of the report being made public or a summary being made public?

Spokesman:  I think there will be some type of executive summary that will be made public.  After 17 years in this Organization, I try not to be too tied down by timeframes, but we do expect it either this week or next week.

Question:  And do you think that one or more of the authors could…?

Spokesman:  I wish I could predict that.

From the UN's August 1 transcript: Inner City Press: now more than 100 people were arrested in the DRC in the protests of the passing of the time, so yesterday you said you didn't have it?

Spokesman:  No.  We, obviously the Mission is aware of it.  We understand a number of people have been released and the human rights component of the [UN] Mission is monitoring the situation.

  Already downplaying it. From the UN's July 31 transcript: Inner City Press: anything on the Democratic Republic of the Congo?  There have been major protests there today.  This was the day people were supposed to be registered to vote for the election.  There have been arrests and the use of tear gas in Kinshasa, Bukavu, Goma.  Given that the UN has a billion-dollar peacekeeping mission there, do they have some statement on it?

Spokesman:  I have not gotten anything from the mission on that today.

  And eight hours later, nothing. After the UN belatedly focused into the murder of UN experts Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, unprotected by the UN in the DR Congo, on July 10 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric what it is, exactly, that the UN is investigating. UN Transcript here and below. Then on July 11 Inner City Press asked the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix what is being done. Periscope video here. Lacroix answered that he raised the issue "at the highest levels" in the DRC, as of concern to the UN and to the countries of origin of the experts. (In fact, Sweden's Olof Skoog has called for a more rigorous investigation that those current underway.) Lacroix noted the current DRC cases and said the UN has shared detailed information with the authorities there. We'll have more on this. Back on July 10, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarrric: on DRC.  There's been a letter by ten US senators, pretty much bipartisan about the killings of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan.  And I wanted to ask you about this sentence in it.  They said that they've heard of the UN Board of Inquiry [BOI], but they understand, quote, it will not seek to identify perpetrators or what happened to Mr. Sharp's and Ms. Catalan's Congolese interpreter and drivers.  So, they're asking for a more serious investigation.  One, I wanted to know, what's the status of that Board of Inquiry given the interest and what happened.  And is it true that the Board of Inquiry, as these senators are saying, will not look at all at what happened into the UN-contracted interpreter and driver?

Spokesman:  No.  The BOI is under way. We… last I'd heard, we expect it for the end of this month.  As we've said, we would effort to make some of its findings public.  The BOI was appointed to establish the facts and, if possible, identify the perpetrators around the killings.  We'll submit a report with recommendations as to the next step.  We're also looking at further options that may be available to us.  Obviously, first and foremost, the responsibility lies on the Congolese authorities.  We cannot substitute ourselves for a national criminal investigation unless, of course, there is a Security Council mandate.  I think I would urge you to wait and see what the findings are, and then we can take it, next step.  My understanding also is that the letter was addressed, from what I saw in the press reports, to Ambassador [Nikki] Haley, not to the Secretary-General.

Inner City Press: What I wanted to know is, one, I remember at the time, there was some dispute about whether the… in fact, the interpreter of the two experts had also been found dead.  Is that… is your understanding that he has?

Spokesman:  My… I don't have an understanding into that.  I think we have to wait for the BOI and see what facts they would have been able to clear up.

On June 5 US Ambassador Nikki Haley said "they and their families deserve justice. We owe it to their legacy to end the human rights abuses being carried out by armed groups and the DRC government against the Congolese people. We hope other nations will join us"- she called for a Human Rights Council and a UN Secretary General investigation. On June 16, Haley added: "reports of the Congolese government’s campaign of murder and rape of women and children should shock us into action. These allegations must be investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is past time for the Human Rights Council to take decisive action and launch an independent investigation into the human rights violations and abuses in the DRC. This is the core mission of the HRC. If they can’t act in a situation this horrifying, why bother having one." On June 6, Inner City Press asked the SG's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Nikki Haley has called on the Secretary-General, António Guterres, to initiate a special investigation into the murders of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan.  I saw you were quoted, something about… I want to understand your position, something about using maximum authority.  Doesn't he have the authority to investigate the murder of UN staff members?

Spokesman:  Well, I think, you know, first of all, we, obviously… you know, the call from Ambassador Haley and we've seen calls from the… from Sweden, as well.  We take the requests very seriously.  I think they echo our own concern.  The Secretary-General has consistently said that he and the Secretariat would do everything they could to make sure justice was done in this case while recognizing first and foremost that the responsibility for a criminal investigation rests with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  We cannot substitute ourselves… the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, cannot substitute himself… ourselves for the criminal justice system of a sovereign State.  We're cooperating… actively cooperating with national authorities conducting criminal investigations, but we're also ready to implement any Security Council decision on this matter.  As you know, there is a Board of Inquiry (BOI) that was appointed.  They are fully at work.  We expect their conclusions of that work to be done by the end of July.  They're there to establish the facts and, if possible, identify the perpetrators. And they'll submit a report with recommendations to the Secretary-General.  We're also looking at further options that may be available to us.  But that review, the work of the BOI, should provide a good basis for putting together a set of possible next steps for the Secretary-General Member States to consider in the murder of… to find out what happened… not only find out what happened to the murder… to our two murdered colleagues, but also to ensure that justice is done and those who killed them are brought to justice.

Inner City Press: Since often these Board of Inquiries are not… not made public, can you… is the intention, at a minimum, to at least make it public…

Spokesman:  We will… as we've done in certain cases, we will share with you what we can and make public what we can of the Board of Inquiry, in a way that doesn't jeopardize any future investigations that may take place.

   We'll stay on this. Earlier on June 6, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft: Inner City Press:  Does the UK think that the Secretary-General should do his own inquiry to the death of the two experts in the DRC? Nikki Haley has called for that, as well as for the Human Rights Council to do it. Which do you think should happen, or either?
Amb Rycroft: Well, we want to just get to the truth. We want those who are responsible for the devastating murder of the two UN officials to be held to account. So whichever way will get to the truth, we support.

   Meanwhile, as Inner City Press has reported, the UN Department of Safety and Security's alleged burying of reports should not itself be covered up. After Inner City Press exclusively reported that UN Department of Safety and Security's top officer Peter Drennan -- to whom the Board of Inquiry report on Sharp and Catalan would be filed on July 31 -- ordered that a security report on UNESCO chief Irina Bokova be “buried” last year due to the personal political implications for Drennan if Bokova instead of Antonio Guterres became UN Secretary General, the UN's response was to attack the leak. (On May 23 they insisted a Garowe, Somalia Board of Inquiry report was shared with interested parties). Also on May 23, when Inner City Press asked about criticism of the UN in the DRC, the response was to defend everything. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I'm sure you've seen the editorial in The New York Times saying, “astoundingly irresponsible approach by the United Nations to an obviously dangerous and unusually important task”.  They also question what's been accomplished for the billions spent in the… in the DRC.


Feedback: Editorial [at]

Past (and future?) UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA
For now: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

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 2006-2018 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for