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As UN Evaluates (Some) of Itself, Qs of Withheld Audits, Peacekeeping & Fraud

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 13 -- The failure by UN Peacekeeping to protect civilians, documented by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, was one of the examples the UN proffered at its March 13 press conference by its UN Evaluation Group.

   Inner City Press on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access asked moderator Deborah Rugg of OIOS why that report was made public, while the August 20, 2014 report about positions in UN Peacekeeping missions in Haiti and the DR Congo being sold was only made public once it was leaked to Inner City Press, here?

   Ms. Rugg said that reports go online within months. Pressed, she distinguished between evaluation reports and investigative reports. But FUNCA asks, shouldn't both be made public?

   Bigger picture, Inner City Press asked the panel if there is any evaluation or assessment if today's UN is being effective on human rights such of freedom of the press, due process, the right to peaceful protest?

  Colin Kirk of UNICEF said among other things that all evaluation is not qualitative; Marco Segone of UN Women said that measurement shows if one is meeting goals and evaluation shows why or why not. Both answers will go on the UN's webcast and are worth viewing. But the question remains: can the UN's purported advocacy for human rights and accountability, from Sri Lanka to South Sudan, be evaluated? And how would they be graded?

  In South Sudan, for example, the UNMISS mission is depicted doing construction work at the compound of state media SSTV. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to explain this, particularly in light of the UN-reported decline in freedom of expression in South Sudan. He said he would check. We're waiting - and evaluating.

Footnote: Earlier this week UN Spokesman Dujarric acknowledged that there is NO “tradition” of setting aside the first question for the UN Correspondents Association (a/k/a UN's Censorship Alliance, here's why) at the UN Security Council stakeout, but claimed that such a tradition exists in the Press Briefing Room.

  But does it? On March 13, since the UNCA board appears predictably uninterested in evaluating the UN, Inner City Press went first - and thanked the briefers on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access. So if it's not tradition, is it just a selectively granted or invoked right to be obsequious? Let's evaluate. Watch this site.


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