Ban's Choice of Kagame Triggers Spanish Boycott, Role of UNDP's Clark;
Rwandan to Get UN
July 16 -- Naming Rwanda's Paul Kagame to co-chair a UN
group of “super heros” for the Millennium Development Goals
seemed like a good idea to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
other co-chair, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, has boycotted
the meeting with Kagame on human rights grounds. Meanwhile, Ban is
considering a Rwandan government minister to head the new UN Women
Sources in the UN's North Lawn building say Ban got some advice that
Kagame, given recent developments in Rwanda, might not be the right
choice; the sources infer UNDP and Helen Clark weighing in for Kagame,
which has now "blown up in Ban's face," they say.
July 15, Inner
City Press asked
Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq:
Press: about this MDG Advocacy Group. There is a story in El
Mundo today in Madrid saying that Ban Ki-moon initially asked Prime
Minister [José Luis] Zapatero of Spain to be a co-chair and then
later decided that Paul Kagame of Rwanda would be. And it says that
Spain was uncomfortable with that on human rights grounds and urged
Ban Ki-moon not to appoint Mr. Kagame. I wonder if, one, if you can
comment on that and, two, whether, with the recent beheading of the
vice-president of an opposition party in Rwanda, what the UN’s
thoughts are of the developments in Rwanda and if a Rwandan Minister
is being considered to head UN Women?
Haq: First of all, the nominations for UN Women are
continuing to come in, so I wouldn’t have any comment on any
particular names on that.
El Mundo article, yes, we are aware of that information. We did
keep the various parties, including the Government of Spain, informed
of the Secretary-General’s choice of President Kagame.
selection of President Kagame of Rwanda, one of the points on
this is that we believe that committed political leadership from both
the North and the South is essential to build support for the global
partnership embodied in the Millennium Development Goals. Rwanda has
displayed extraordinary commitment to the MDGs and is among the few
countries in Africa that have made the most progress towards the
Goals. There have been commendable declines in both child and
maternal mortality there. The country has also made remarkable
progress in reducing the number of reported malaria cases and deaths
and has the highest proportion of women parliamentarians in the
world. So Rwanda’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals
has been outstanding.
allegations against President Kagame, it’s clear that the
Secretary-General is against all violations of human rights and he
strongly condemns any such violations of human rights.
UN's Ban and Kagame, Zapatero and Erlinger not shown
point, however, President Kagame is the Head of State of Rwanda, and
it is not for the Secretary-General to prejudge the outcome of any
proceedings or accusations that have been initiated against him. So
we would need to see what the results of those are.
Press: Does the UN believe, for example, this most recent
killing of an opposition leader should be investigated, and by whom?
Haq: At this stage, I believe the matter is with the
local law enforcement. We’ll see where it goes from there and
whether anything else needs to be done.
Zapatero boycotted the UN meeting with Kagame. After that, on
July 16, Inner City Press and EFE asked Haq why Ban had paired Kagame
and Zapatero of Spain, where Kagame is defending human rights charges.
answers not given by Haq: Helen Clark of UNDP. Watch this site.
* * *
Defense Lawyer Erlinder, UN Silent, ICTR Writes Cautious Letter
5 -- When Peter Erlinder, a defense lawyer before the
UN affiliated International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was
arrested in Kigali for things he's said that are related to the
defense he is currently putting up for opposition presidential
candidate Victoire Ingabire, one expected the UN to protest the
asked, at the UN's June 3 noon briefing in New York, if there was any
response by the Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, or at least the ICTR. UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe
said "I have no information on that, but I’ll take your
came in from the ICTR, attributable to ICTR spokesperson
yet certain that the arrest has anything to do with Professor
Peter Erlinder's work in ICTR as his travel to Kigali was not
connected to his mandate with ICTR. When we learnt about the arrest
we have immediately sent a correspondence in the form of an Official
Note Verbale to the Rwandan authorities to get clarification as to
whether the arrest may have had any relationship with the stance
Professor Erlinder has taken in the context of the Defence of his
client. We have yet to receive a formal reply. Normally, lawyers do
enjoy immunity for the stance they take in legal proceedings."
charged for genocide denial, which is what his client is charged
with. The role of Kagame's RPF is central to the defenses defendants
must put up in the ICTR. But if one can be arrested for this, no
defense or due process is possible.
UN's Ban at ICTR, defense of defense lawyer Erlinder not shown
Erlinder's family thinks the
Rwandan government is seeking to physically harm or even kill
Erlinder. And the UN affiliated ICTR says, "We are not yet certain that
arrest has anything to do with Professor Peter Erlinder's work in
ICTR." Watch this site.