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Plight of Children in Cameroon, UN Support For AMISOM, Raised to Watchlist By ICP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 – When the Watchlist group held its annual press conference on children and armed conflict recommendations on March 6, Inner City Press asked about Cameroon and what Watchlist thinks the UN should do about abuses by the AMISOM force in Somalia, which the UN supports. The written recommendation is to "further investigate" in light of UN reported rapes including by the Ethiopian Non-AMISOM Defense Forces. The cogent answer included a description of the role of Ethiopia, on the Security Council, in reviewing this. Interim video here. Before Inner City Press' questions there was some intra-correspondent jousting about questions about Israel, then a thank you for the UN Correspondents Association that ignored what had gone before. Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access then said, with so few journalists in the room, there was no reason for anyone's follow up questions be be cut off. But this is the UN, where they throw critical Press out of the briefing room and out of its office and the building, then restrict it to minders while the human rights groups in "dialogue" with the UN say nothing, or actively go along. Here is Watchlist's report. After the 10 am briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesman if this year's report, after last year's lobbying it ascribed to Saudi lobbying, will be on time. The spokesman said it will - we'll see. Nearly exactly a year ago on 1 March 2017 abuses against children in Yemen, Burundi, the Central African Republic and Myanmar were raised to the Watchlist group, and later to the UN, by Inner City Press. Watchlist, one of its two speakers from Human Rights Watch, diplomatically declined to opine when Inner City Press asked if the Saudi led Coalition was behind the non-renewal of Special Adviser Leila Zerrougui's contract. But why wasn't she present at the Saudi foreign minister's recent meeting on the 38th floor, and the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to say why.

 After Watchlist's press conference on March 1, at the noon briefing an hour later Inner City Press asked the UN's Dujarric, transcript now here:

Inner City Press: In this room, at 10:30, Watchlist, the group about Children and Armed Conflict, were pretty critical of the removal of the Saudi-led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict list, basically urging the new Secretary-General to put them back on and also urging him to take up, for the first time, Burundi as a violator of children's rights, including on killing and maiming.  So I wanted to know, are you aware of these calls?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm aware of it because I was listening to it as I was…

Inner City Press: So what do you think of it?

Spokesman:  …preparing for the briefing.  I think it's always important to hear from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who are heavily involved in these things, and the drafting of the report is under way and should be out not too long.

Inner City Press:  Is there any consideration of including the various peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, including the French force and the UN forces…?

Spokesman:  I will urge you to wait for the report. 

   We'll be here - unless Dujarric has his way with what he tried to do in 2016, get Inner City Press kicked out not only of the UN Press Briefing Room but the UN as a whole. (HRW did nothing - in fact, its UN lobbyist, in a prior capacity, twice tried to get Inner City Press thrown out, misusing the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to try to cover up one of the attempts, here. See also this, gotten under FOIA.)

  Inner City Press asked the Watchlist speaker about Burundi, video here, and after its Periscope, about the group's generally useful report's failure to specifically mention the plight of Rohingya children in Myanmar. On that, see here (Arakan Project), and watch this site.


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