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As Ban Gives Pillay 2 Not 4 Years, He & Deputy Absent, Syria Speaks Alone

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- As the time came for UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay to get a second term, or not, Inner City Press learned and reported of moves in Geneva to "open the process" and at least consider other candidates.

  While publicly portrayed as a matter of precedent -- that the HCHR position should not automatically be two years, as the UN Secretary General position of two term Ban Ki-moon now appears to be -- there was less public talk that Pillay's work on Israel might result in Ban Ki-moon denying her a second term.

  Typically, Ban split the difference and gave Pillay only two years. Many say this sends a message to further High Commissioners -- but what message is it?

  Ban's prepared statement was that he was glad to have "prevailed" on Ms. Pillay to take a two year term. That could be read that Pillay did not want to stay on -- not the case, Inner City Press' sources say -- or that while Pillay could and perhaps should have said, "four years or nothing," she was convinced to accept half a loaf.

  When the General Assembly convened Thursday afternoon on Ban's two year proposal, the turn out was very low -- notably, the one escalator up to the GA Hall was out of service. There was only one speaker, Syria, and not at the level of Permanent Representative (while he had spoken earlier on Thursday in the Budget Committee, click here for that.)

  Syria's representative said that Pillay uses dubious sources, but then formally wished her well. Afterward several delegates noted to Inner City Press that neither Ban nor his Deputy Asha Rose Migiro had bothered to come to the meeting. Ban is in town but the only item on his public scheduled was a town hall meeting at 9:30 am, which his head of Management Yukio Takasu also attended and apologized for being late to the Budget Committee for.

So where was Ban, or his Deputy, during the 3 pm session on his half-term for Pillay? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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