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With Indonesia On UNSC Guterres Silent On West Papua As Geneva Experts Fill In But Do Not Follow Up

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NYP

UN GATE, Sept 16 –When Indonesia on 1 May 2019 held a press conference about its upcoming month as president of UN Security Council, Inner City Press which has covered the Council and its failures for a decade was banned from entering the UN for the 301st day by Antonio Guterres. Now it has hit 439 days, as Guterres dodges questions about West Papua as he has about his censorship of Press to try to cover his corruption.

  Guterres wants to curry favor with UNSC member Indonesia as he seeks a corrupt second term, just as he made deal with Cameroon as chair of the UN Budget committee: silence on human rights violations in exchange for support on votes on Guterres' often ridiculous proposals.

 So the UN system to make itself appear less corrupt confines its comments on Indonesia to "independent experts" in Geneva, like on September 16 about Papua: "Indonesia must protect the rights of all people to peaceful protest, ensure access to the internet and protect the rights of human rights defender Veronica Koman and all others reporting on protests in Papua and West Papua, say UN human rights experts*.     “We call for immediate measures to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and address acts of harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restriction and threats against those reporting on the protests,” the experts said.     Veronica Koman, a lawyer who has been subjected to harassment and abuse online for her continuing work on alleged human rights violations in Papua, was named as a “suspect” by authorities who accused her of spreading of false information and provoking unrest after she published reports on the protests and on a racist attack against Papuan students in East Java that had triggered the demonstrations.     “We welcome actions taken by the Government against the racist incident." But the attacks continue. " The UN experts: Mr. Clement Nyaletsossi Voule (Togo), Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association; Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Ms Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia), Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Ms Meskerem Geset Techane (Ethiopia), Chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; Mr. Michel Forst (France), Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders."

Kaye never followed up on his tame inquiry with the UN of Guterres after Alison Smale had Inner City Press banned without a hearing; he's apparently made no contact with Smale's replacement Melissa Fleming, even as she has banned Inner City Press from entering the UN to cover UNGA high level week. Forst has not been heard from. But more will be heard from Inner City Press, much more.

 On Guterres' May 2019 junket to Vanuatu, not asked about by any of the correspondents Guterres, his outgoing Global Communicator Alison Smale and Stephane Dujarric allow into the UN, he was asked about West Papua. Here's from Guterres' response: “There is a framework in the institutions, namely the human rights council… there are special procedures, there was a panel, that recently made a report on those issues, a report that was then presented internationally. Indonesia also responded. So the UN is doing its job, with a major concern that there and everywhere, human rights are respected.” 

But, Guterres was told, Indonesia is blocking Pacific island delegations and the UN Human Rights Commission from visiting West Papua.  It seems that all independent international media is banned. Guterres vainly insisted, "we had the institutions working, we have a panel of experts, but there are also from our side strong commitments there and everywhere.”

  Total evasion, as on the Uighurs. On Cameroon Guterres does more than evade: he actively advised Paul Biya's government how to cover up Biya's killings by acting against the press. We'll have more on all this.

On May 1 inside the UN Guterres bans Inner City Press from, the first question to Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani was handed to one who has falsely puffed up Guterres has having raised China's abuse of the Uighurs to President Xi (Guterres did not raise it to Xi). A later question went to an insider who said, I am going to ask the same question as everyone else.

   There was almost nothing about anything in Africa, over 60% of the UN Security Council's agenda, much less on Cameroon or Burundi or Uganda, whose foreign minister was bribed by the same CEFC China Energy which tried to buy the Partex oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which has paid Guterres. We'll have more on this - and on UNSC meetings and negotiations, if only from the gate outside.

  And on May 23, what else, SG Antonio Guterres' dinner. The UNSC Presidency should make information available to those who cover and also to those who are impacted by the Council. Watch this site.


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