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In ILO Race, Africans Bemoan Lack of Unity, UK Pushes, Melkert, Press Tales

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 -- As secret ballot voting gets underway in Geneva to name the next head of the International Labour Organization, in New York African diplomats bemoaned to Inner City Press their increasing under-representation in the UN system.

  They said, for example, that in the ILO race neither the candidates from Niger (Ibrahim Assane Mayaki) nor Benin (Charles Dan) would stand down and defer to the other, so that African votes would be split.

  They marveled bitterly at the increasing dominance in the UN system not only of Europeans -- many predicted that "the UK candidate, Guy Ryder" would win at the ILO -- and of South Koreans under the reign of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but also of Latin Americans, specifically Argentines.

  If you want a job in DFS, said one of them, referring to the Department of Field Support headed until recently by the Argentine Susana Malcorra who is now Ban's chief of staff, you need to be Argentinian or work for the World Food Program.

  "Soon the Argentines are going to dominate whole parts of the UN," concluded an African staff member.

   British Guy Ryder's candidacy for ILO chief is being pushed particularly hard in this context, and in the UK's limitation to the top position at the Office of Humanitarian Affairs, no longer the Department of Political Affairs which will go to the second American in a row Jeffrey Feltman as Inner City Press exclusively reported on March 28 and as stolen without credit by Reuters on May 21.

  Inner City Press' questioning of Reuters refusal to credit, unlike Foreign Policy's The Cable, has triggered a move to try to expel Inner City Press led by Reuters' Lou Charbonneau, who has said he has a POLICY of not crediting Inner City Press.

  For the ILO top post to replace Juan Somavia on September 30 there are other candidates, for example current UN DESA official Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Dutchman Ad Melkert, who while at the UN Development Program also went after Inner City Press for its investigative reporting for example on UNDP in Myanmar, transparency, and retaliation.

  If Melkert couldn't expel Inner City Press, how could competitors like Charbonneau and fellow wire reporter Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse, who was used by the French Mission to target Inner City Press for reporting how out of touch the Mission was with Paris that it didn't even know, the day of the announcement, that Herve "The Drone" Ladsous would replace Jerome Bonnafont as the intra-French replacement for Alain Le Roy at UN Peacekeeping?

  But the gambit appears to be that UN officials to the highest level who would themselves like to expel Inner City Press but are concerned their anti-media proclivities would thus become known could now rely on and hide behind undisclosed charges by less than critical corporate media against Inner City Press. But this ballot and proceeding cannot, or should not, be secret, unlike today at the ILO. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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