UN, No Answers on Sri Lanka Killings or Burma Bombs, Honduras and Niger
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 10 -- Even with the UN Spokesperson's office now
its public question taking from five down to three days a week, still
it refuses or is unable to answer simply queries about what the UN is
doing, and its follow through if any on topics on which it has
already spoken, ranging from Sudan, Niger
to Sri Lanka and
Honduras (that is, Africa, Asia and Latin America).
Inner City Press asked Spokesperson Michele Montas about reports of
fighting between rebels and the government in Sudan, where the UN has
two billion dollar peacekeeping missions, and about the total
rejection in Somalia of an initiative of the UN's envoy to the
City Press: there are these reports of the JEM [Justice and Equality
Movement] rebels in Sudan engaging the Sudanese army in [inaudible]. Is
that something that either of the two UN missions in Sudan can
Montas: No, I can try to get the answer for you.
City Press: And I wanted to ask you, the Somali Parliament had voted
down about 334 out of the 347… this Law of the Sea filing organized
by [Ahmedou] Ould-Abdallah between Somalia and Kenya, funded by
Norway. They voted it down, you know, and totally rejected. I
wondered if either Ould-Abdallah has a comment and also whether this
affects the filing that was made here at the UN for Somalia by Kenya
for their undersea rights.
Montas: This I would have to ask the Treaty Department for you, if
that changes anything. I don’t have an answer myself today right
fighting, the Spokesperson's Office never provided an answer, even
six days later. The UN's force commander for Darfur also dodged the
question, saying the despite the billions of dollars, the UN can't
see such fighting. On Ould Abdallah, after Inner City Press further
pursued it, the answer was that the question should be posed to the
states involved: that is, Somalia and Kenya and presumably Norway.
But it was the deal Ould Abdallah put together that was turned down,
by the Somali parliament. On whose behalf is he speaking?
Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas about a mass killing in Sri Lanka
on which the UN has previously spoken, but on which it is now mute,
and for the second time about requests to the UN system for aid for
Honduras camping with Mel Zelaya in Nicaragua:
City Press: There are these reports that the camps set up for
Hondurans just across the border in Nicaragua where Mr. Zelaya is,
that Nicaragua has asked for UN for support to these camps. Have you
received any information on this? Has a request been made and has
any UN assistance or monitoring mission sent there or taken place?
Not that I know of, but of course we can check with DPA or the
refugee agency whether there was anything done on that account. As
far as I know, no, so far.
City Press: Can I also ask, the Human Rights Watch has asked the
Secretary-General to set up an inquiry into the killing of 17 Action
Contre la Faim aid workers three years ago and also other human
rights abuses. They say that the Government hasn’t done anything. The
request is specifically to the Secretary-General. Is he aware of
that call? And given that he visited the country and said that he’d
be monitoring it, what is, you know, what is his response?
I don’t have any specifics on that. Of course we can try to find
out whether there was a specific request that was made officially to
the Secretary-General. I can try to find out for you.
the UN in the
four days that follow provided no answer on Honduras, diplomats from
the region tell Inner City Press that assistance is being provided.
On the Sri Lankan government's killings and self-exoneration, the
UN's silence had become deafening. The UN's top Humanitarian has
repeatedly said it's not clear to him that the government has stopped
investigating. It's clear to Human Rights Watch, and to even
pro-government journalists in Colombo.
UN's Ban with doctorate, but answers not provided by OSSG
UN did, we
note, provide an answer to a question on August 5, about Sudan, and
the response into its transcript:
Montas: Yes, Matthew.
City Press: in the trial of Lubna Hussein, the UNMIS [United Nations
Mission in the Sudan] worker that the… both protesters and one of
her lawyers were apparently beaten up in front of, or beaten by the
police in front of the court. I’m wondering what, even if UNMIS or
the UN is monitoring that, if they have any comment on that, and also
if there is yet an answer on whether, was she both a private
journalist and UNMIS employee at the same time as was reported, or
there was some…?
She was an UNMIS employee. As you know, she said that she would not
be claiming immunity and she wanted to have the case tried in court. Of
course, we respect what she wants. However, there is an agreement
signed by the UN, the peacekeeping mission there and the Government.
And we’re still waiting for answers to know whether or not the
immunity still holds. And that’s what we have to find out. We
don’t have an answer yet. As you know, the trial has been
the correspondent was further informed that the United Nations has
informed the Sudanese authorities that, as a United Nations staff
member, Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein is covered by immunity from legal
process. There is an agreed procedure between the host Government
and the United Nations for dealing with cases in which the Government
believes that a staff member has committed a criminal offence.
such cases, the Government is required to report the matter to the
United Nations, which in turn will conduct any necessary
investigation and, upon the Government's request, decide whether to
waive immunity. In the present case, the United Nations has not
received any request for the waiver of the staff member’s immunity.
Immunity is afforded not only to protect the staff member, but the
interests of the United Nations in a broader sense. It is,
therefore, not up to a staff member to waive his or her immunity. That
is the sole prerogative of the United Nations.]
What the noble
sounding answer doesn't address is the UN's failure to invoke
immunity this year for two of its staff members in Sri Lanka who were
seized by the government and, they say, tortured and asked to point
out more people for the government to torture.
on the Sudan,
when on August 7 Inner City Press directed a question about Lubna's
case to a UN Police officer present at the noon briefing, UNPOL chief
Hughes stepped in and refused to let her answer, as he did on Inner
City Press' question about peacekeepers repatriated from the UN
Mission in Haiti under charges of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas' deputy Marie Okabe about Niger
and Myanmar, without answer:
City Pres: it’s reported
that the President of Niger has won his
contested referendum to extend his term in office. Does the
Secretariat now have any comment or response to that?
Spokesperson Okabe: I have nothing beyond the comment that we
already had issued on the concerns of these developments earlier.
City Press: Also, Myanmar has announced that they have arrested 15
people who they say were going to set off a bomb while the
Secretary-General was in Myanmar. Has that been communicated to the
Secretariat? Does he think he was a target?
Spokesperson: I am not aware of any such reports. I’ve only seen
them in the press reports.
City Press: So Myanmar hasn’t communicated to the UN…?
Spokesperson: I haven’t seen anything.
this litany of non
answers is without regard to the UN's two week refusal to answer
Inner City Press' questions about Congo envoy Alan Doss' documented
pressure to get his daughter at UNDP, leading to the pepper spraying
and now prosecution of the UNDP worker whose job was taken, click
here for that..
When will things improve?
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Nepotism from Congo to NY Criminal Court, UNDP Biter Case Set for
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 7 -- When the UN's top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss
wrote in April to ask for leeway to get his daughter Rebecca hired at
the UN Development Program, it set off a chain of events leading to
the firing and pepper spraying of the person who held the Doss-sought
post, and now starting on August 10 his criminal trial for fighting
back, allegedly with his teeth. Click here for
Inner City Press'
exclusive three stories to date on this matter.
who until June 22 was the assistant to UNDP's Deputy Director for
Asia and the Pacific, told Inner City Press on Friday that he intends
to ask for a trial on the changes against him, and to demand the
presence of various UN witnesses. These should, he said, including
the Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Congo, Alan Doss,
whose April 20, 2009 email, first published by Inner City
Press, asked for "leeway" in awarding his daughter the
position Mr. Baroncini had been filling.
On August 7,
UNDP told Inner City Press that "Ms. Rebecca Doss began working at UNDP
on July 1st 2009. The process through which she was hired is currently
being investigated by UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigation. Until
that work is completed we will not have any further comments."
first published by Inner City Press, on April 20, 2009 Alan Doss wrote
This is just to inform that I have advised UNDP in writing
that I will transfer to DPKO effective 1 July 2009. I have also
spoken to Martin and advised him that I cannot transfer before that
date because the new DPKO contractual arrangements only come into
effect on the 1 July. He informed me that the ‘deadline’ for the
ALD contracts is 15 May so the period of overlap would only be 6
weeks (assuming Rebecca’s ALD would come into force on the 14th May
at the latest). I have asked for some flexibility, which would allow
a very long serving and faithful UNDP staff member a little lee-way
before he rides off into the sunset.
Becky is very excited about the
prospect of going to work for you so I hope that it will work out.
With my warm regards and thanks,
was improper for UNDP to process Rebecca Doss' "application," declare
her on the short list, and offer her the position while her USG father
was with UNDP. Beyond that, the contact by a UN Under Secretary General
that Doss has obtained his daughter other jobs in the past, and they
note that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon may have something of a
conflict in ruling on Doss' behavior, given the hiring of Ban's son
in law Siddarth Chatterjee first by the SRSG in Iraq, Steffan de
Mistura, then by the head of the UN Office of Project Services in
Copenhagen, Jan Mattsson. Attention is turning to the UN system posts
of Ban's daughter, Chatterjee's wife.
Press' third story on the matter one week ago, Ban's spokespeople
have repeated referred questions to UNDP, which has told Inner City
Press that "the hiring is being reviewed." On August 7,
Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe specified that UNDP's Office of
Audit and Investigation is looking at it. But UNDP no longer has
jurisdiction over Alan Doss; Ms. Okabe on August 7 answered Inner
City Press' question from a week ago, that Doss transferred from UNDP
to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations on July 1.
August 7, Inner
City Press asked the head of DPKO, Alain Le Roy, what he thought of
the chief of the Congo peacekeeping mission bending rules to get his
daughter hired by the UN. Mr. Le Roy, too, said that UNDP must
answer, while noting that he has read Inner City Press' story. Others
have as well, and questions are multiplying. Video of August 7 noon
Alan Doss, at right, with Alain Le Roy,
requests for hiring leeway not shown: Rule of Law?
Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas:
City Press: Michele, on Friday I had asked Farhan a question about
Alan Doss and when he became a DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping
Operations] staffer and not a UNDP [United Nations Development
Programme] staffer. He told me UNDP would answer. I still don’t
have an answer. Since it seems to be a Secretariat question, it
involves, it’s an e-mail that Mr Doss sent [inaudible]… that job
No, I think it’s a UNDP question.
But isn’t it, I mean, the date on which he became DPKO is actually
relevant to that inquiry and it seems like that is something that the
Secretariat would know, since he --
Well, at this point I don’t have anything new for you on this, and
we have been saying that UNDP should handle that.
But I sent them an e-mail as soon as we finished on Friday, but I
don’t have… I guess I am just pleading with you maybe to put a
Yes, okay, I will ask whether UNDP can answer you.
And I know that the Secretary-General met with Helen Clark this
morning. Is there any readout? What did they discuss?
No, just internal matters.
Including this most recent issue of [inaudible]… not just the
biting incident, but the job search?
I don’t think such minor issues come up in discussions of that
[inaudible] the envoy of Ban Ki-moon actually writes in and says
“give my relative a job”; this doesn’t seem to me to be that
minor. The biting might be kind of comical, but I mean, I don’t
know if you’ve followed that issue, but I’ve just wondered…
Yes, of course I have read about it, but…
City Press: You don’t think it arose?
I don’t think so. Thank you all so very much.
Clark has yet
to hold a press conference at the UN, despite holding the post for
more than 100 days. On
August 5 Inner City Press asked:
City Press: In the Council today they’re talking about peacekeeping
and leadership. I just wanted to know, on the question that arose
about Alan Doss and when he became a DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping
Operations] employee. You’ve said, Farhan said Friday UNDP [United
Nations Development Programme] would answer it. You said Monday that
they’d answer it. But, still they haven’t answered. So, that’s
why I am asking. It seems like it’s a straight factual question
and that the information is in this building. Do you have an answer
All I can tell you is that UNDP is reviewing the issue, that’s all
I have really. I don’t have a definite answer for you. I know that
UNDP is reviewing the issue, that’s all I can say at this point.
But doesn’t DPKO know? I mean, the e-mail that was released said
that he asked, he said that 1 July he was going to transfer to DPKO
from UNDP, but he wanted them to hire his daughter prior to that and
sort of play with the rules. So, it’s just factual, while they
review that, that’s fine. But it seems like DPKO or your office
should be able to know when someone…
Well, we’re trying to ascertain the facts, that’s what I am
saying, Matthew. I am not evading your question, I just don’t have
the facts yet. And if I have them, I will give them to you as soon
as I have them. In this specific case, as I said, I was told by UNDP
that they are reviewing the case. That’s all I was told today. I
asked the question.
I mean, the guy who sort of raised this complaint that the job was
improperly given has like a criminal trial date on 10 August, you
know, that’s going to be released. He says that there is some
connection between these two.
Well, you know, I have to say about that incident, you know the one
that you have mentioned several times here. There was a serious
nature to the security incident that took place on 22 June in the
DC-2 building. And the incident resulted -- and I found that out
yesterday -- resulted in the injury of one of our UN officers, whom I
might add was transported to the hospital because of the severity of
his wound. So, I was not aware of that fact when I spoke to you
yesterday. Now I know that the man was hospitalized. He has since
had to do several tests for specific diseases as a result of the
wound, which was extremely stressful for everyone involved. He was
out on sick leave after the incident, based on the hospital’s
request. So this is what I have. It was much more serious than was
originally reported to us. And so I just wanted to underline that
City Press: [inaudible] I had asked Farhan, maybe now that you know
this you can tell. The dispute seems to be whether security used
pepper spray on the individual prior to what appears to be a biting
or vice versa. Do you have any information on that?
No, I don’t have the details on whether pepper spray was used or
not. It was a violent incident and the individual was violent, as I
can testify. The person was bitten.
date is Monday, August 10. Watch this site.
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