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UN's Del Buey Ignores Darfur & Sexual Abuse Questions, Won't E-mail Replies

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 -- The UN's refusal to provide information has gotten worse under Deputy Spokesman Eduardo Del Buey. Not only does Del Buey answer nearly every question with "I don't have anything on that," pointing at the thin folder of statements or "lines" he brings into the briefing room -- now, even when he later gets an answer to a Press question, he does not email the answer but rather insert it into the briefing transcript which does not go online until after 7 pm, past deadline.

At the February 24 briefing, Inner City Press asked Del Buey two questions about Darfur in Sudan -- twelve reported dead in new fighting, and two international staff of UNAMID declared persona non grata by Khartoum -- neither of which he offered any answer to. Video here, from Minute 34:05.

  After Del Buey had quickly declared "last question" before another one he didn't answer, Inner City Press asked what was the answer to question he'd promised to look into at the previous day's briefing: why UN Security at the request of mission of Sri Lanka, whose Deputy Permanent Representative Shavendra Silva has been barred from the UN Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations due to war crimes allegation, ejected Inner City Press from standing outside the SAG meeting.

Del Buey said, that answer was inserted into the transcript. But even on the day of the ejection, when Del Buey's newsless briefing was a mere 11 minutes long, the transcript was not yet online at 7 pm, when most journalists have left the UN.

Inner City Press asked why Del Buey's office did not at least e-mail answers to the media which asked the question. Del Buey said he doesn't have to, and insisted that he'd given the answer to the people who work on the transcript at 2:30. So what if it's not actually available until after 7 pm! So it goes in Ban's UN.

(c) UN Photo
Deputy Spox Eduardo Del Buey next to Ban Ki-moon, answers not shown

As Del Buey was trying to unilaterally end the briefing, Inner City Press asked him about another incident at 380 Madison Avenue, in which the New York Police Department was blocked from entering and arresting a UN employee charged with sexual abuse -- could Del Buey explain the discrepancy between Ban Ki-moon's claimed zero tolerance and becoming a sanctuary for abusers?  Video here, from Minute 37:09.

Del Buey said he understand it was to serve a summons on a non UN worker. This appears to be about an entirely separate incident. But Del Buey didn't wait to hear the question. He got up and left even as Inner City Press asked, "Then why is OHRM" -- perhaps because Del Buey does not want to give, or is even under orders to withheld, any answers.

Del Buey began the February 24 briefing by saying that his "guest," Vijay Nambiar, would only answer questions about Myanmar. Video here, from Minute 0:30.

Inner City Press asked one question on Myanmar, then asked Nambiar to explain his role in the white flag killings of surrenderees described in Ban's Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka. Del Buey insisted, Nambiar will only answer about Myanmar. But we have a second story, gleened after the Myanmar briefing - click here 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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