in Manhattan, Long Shot ICC Strategy Pitched, UN Ban Meeting
& US Quote Followed by Inaction
September 17 -- Myanmar, or UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Group of Friends on Myanmar, have a place in the upcoming
UN General Debate week. In the run-up, fifteen blocks from the UN,
there was a film screening and panel discussion about the
International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma, held at the
glitzy Paley Center for Media on September 16.
the Nobel Women's Initiative told an auditorium packed with well
dress and well meaning New Yorkers that they should write to US
Permanent Representative Susan Rice to thank her for President
Obama's belated joining of a call for a international inquiry into
war crimes in the country.
are dubious of
this change in US position, after Obama first changed policy to one
of engagement with the Than Shwe military government. It's easy for
an unnamed US official to join a call for an international inquiry
which will never happen, these skeptics say.
which reports daily on and from the UN Security Council, can attest
that the US these days rarely even tried to raise the issue of
Myanmar. A senior US official who met with the Press earlier on
September 16 confided not being briefed about the upcoming Group of
Friends on Myanmar meeting.
propounded at the September 16 session was to press for Myanmar to be
referred to the International Criminal Court. Since Myanmar is not a
member of the ICC, this could only be accomplished by a referral from
the UN Security Council.
it is crystal
clear that any referral of Myanmar to the ICC would be vetoed by
China, as well as Russia. Strangely in Thursday night's discussion,
the word China wasn't once used.
found it strange to be promoting a strategy that has no chance of
success to such high profile and high income New Yorkers. But perhaps
that's not the goal?
UN's Ban, Jody Williams, Thin Thin Aung et al
on March 4, 2010, follow up not shown
the session of
the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma in March
2010, Jody Williams and several others including Thin Thin Aung of the
Women's League of Burma met with Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon. So far, no read out appears to have been given, nor follow up
taken. Watch this site.
the panel discussion the movie “This Is My Witness: Women of
Burma Break the Silence” was screened, and afterward Jody Williams
urged moderator Pat Mitchell to do what she can to get it screened at
Sundance. Also, a portion of “Burma Soldier” by Annie Sundberg
was shown, in which a former Burmese military officer described the
routine rape of ethnic women in Myanmar.
to using UN Security Council resolution 1820, about sexual violence
and conflict, which may be more promising that the UNSC to ICC
strategy. But will UN sexual violence and conflict official Margot
Wallstrom, asleep at the switch during the recent Congo rape scandal,
do anything about Burma?
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NLD, UN Prior Notice and Efforts Not Clear, UN
15 -- In the wake of Myanmar dissolving the
National League for Democracy of Aun Sang Suu Kyi, the UN Wednesday
issued cautious criticism in response to a question from Inner City
Press, while implicitly admitting the UN and its envoy Vijay Nambiar
cannot or simply do not speak with the parties there.
Inner City Press has asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about the NLD
being absent from the upcoming elections in Myanmar, which many call
a scam, Nesirky has responded with a UN position that the NLD was
free, and chose, to boycott the election.
But now that the
government has dissolved the NLD and other parties, the UN finally
had criticism ready. Did it come from UN envoy -- and chief of staff
to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon -- Vijay Nambiar? There is no way to
When Inner City
Press what Nambiar and his “Good Office” team have been up to,
Nambiar first said “you are well aware.” That is not the case.
For example, did Nambiar know in advance of the impending dissolution
of the NLD? Nesirky would not say.
Inner City Press
what Ban plans to come out of the September 27 meeting of his
“Friends on Myanmar.” While already for the similar meeting
about Sudan on September 24, also during the UN General Debate,
there's talk of an outcome statement about the planned referendum,
Nesirky merely said to watch for a press availability after the
September 27 meeting.
UN's Ban & Than Shwe: NLD, Aun Sang Suu
Kyi and Vijay Nambiar not shown
From the UN
transcript of September 15:
On Myanmar and something about MDGs [Millennium
Development Goals] promotion, promotions by the UN. On Myanmar, the
National League, the NLD [National League for Democracy] has been
dissolved by the Government. They had previously voluntarily chosen
to boycott the election, and I think the UN had said, well it’s up
to parties what they want to do. But now the Government has
dissolved them and the party. The NLD has said that this is an
illegal move by the Government, that they’re protesting the
dissolution of their political party by the Government. So I’m
wondering, given the good offices role, given the run-up now to this
election, what’s the UN where it previously it sort of said, “well,
the NLD can boycott if they choose”, what about the Government
dissolving this historic force for democracy in Myanmar?
Secretary-General notes with some concern the decision
by the Union Election Commission to dissolve 10 political parties
prior to the general election, including the National League for
Democracy and four others for failing to renew their registration,
and he further notes that the Union Election Commission has issued
campaigning guidelines for the remaining 37 parties to register to
contest the elections. The Secretary-General once again urges the
Myanmar authorities to ensure conditions conducive for a fully
inclusive and participatory electoral process.
Thanks a lot for that. What’s the involvement of Mr.
[Vijay] Nambiar in the good offices and what does the
Secretary-General hope to come out of the meeting of the
Secretary-General’s Friends on Myanmar in the upcoming general
I think you’re fully familiar with Mr. Nambiar’s good
offices role related to Myanmar. The Group of Friends meeting, which
would be at ministerial level, is likely to be on 27 [September].
Further details are being worked out on that, including press
availability, and I think at that point, after the meeting, you’ll
be able to find out the content of the meeting.
Just about Mr. Nambiar, because I’m actually not
clear on what the office does. I wanted to know, on something like
this, did they know in advance that this decision was being made by
the Government? Had they spoken to the NLD about these concerns or
are they just reacting to the stories about it? I don’t meant that
insultingly, I just mean, I’m just trying to get a sense, did that
office try to forestall this decision by the Government, or are they
as mystified as everyone else?
there are a couple of things here. Mr. Nambiar has support,
people who are obviously able to help him, who are monitoring this
daily, the whole time. Therefore, they will clearly have been aware
of movements. What the diplomatic process might entail, I’m not in
a position to say. I would reiterate what the Secretary-General
himself has said. He’s expressed his frustration here on the
access to the Myanmar authorities to talk about these kinds of
things, so I think that might answer your question.
So if Mr. Ban
cannot speak with the Myanmar authorities, despite the UN allowing
them to take up to 25% of post Cyclone Nargis aid money and declaring
the response one of his finest hours, it seems clear that Mr. Nambiar
can't either. What Good Offices? Watch this site.
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