Figueres Gets UNFCCC, S.Africa in Line for OIOS, Pillay Misplayed
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 17 -- While the selection Christiana Figueres for the
UN's top environmental job at the UNFCCC surprised some, not least
because she's from Costa Rica, a country of three million people
which already has an Assistant Secretary General level post held by
Rebecca Grynspan at the UN Development Program, there are wider UN
politics at work.
is told by well-placed UN sources that South Africa, whose tourism
minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was on the final two person UNFCCC
short list with Ms. Figueres, was taken out of the running because it
is now in line for a higher, Under Secretary General level post at
the Office of Internal Oversight Services, to replace the outgoing --
but untransparent -- Inga Britt Ahlenius.
wonder, what of India? They too had a minister on the UNFCCC short
list. Some point to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recent naming of
Atul Khare to the number two post in the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations as similar, if one level below, South Africa's reward at
OIOS. But others say Atul Khare was "not really India's
candidate," in that they were merely told of the appointment.
Nairobi, one or two major UN posts are to be filled. The new USG to
preside over the UN Office in Nairobi, following Ban's controversial
replacement in that function of Ana Tibaijuka by Achim Steiner of
Germany, should soon be named. And it appears Ms. Tibaijuka's term at
UN HABITAT is expiring.
Christiana Figueres at UN, musical chairs not shown
passed over for the Number Two slot in UNDP despite an understanding
the Continent would get that post -- Helen Clark wanted Ms. Grynspan,
and for now Helen Clark unlike Human Rights High Commissioner Navi
Pillay appears to get whatever she wants from Ban -- should have
these two Nairobi posts in the bag. But as they did to place Libya on
the Human Rights Council, they need to come up with a consensus
Navi Pillay, Inner City Press has told, has wanted the Brazilian
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro as her New York representative. So she stacked
the four person short list she gave to Ban with "unappointable"
Juan Mendez, when that country already has a USG in
Susana Malcorra of DFS, Swede Karin Landgren, just after Margot
Wallstrom of that country was given the rape as a weapon of war post,
and Ivan Simonovic, whom the sources say Pillay thought couldn't get
the post due to opposition from Croatian and international human
But Team Ban tapped Simonovic (click here for
Inner City Press' pre-announcement report.)
* * *
UN, Gaye and Simonovic Up for Posts, Human Rights Ignored in UN Musical
Chairs, Khare and Hilde Johnson
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 2 -- Two appointments to two posts that are about to be
made, including one in Peacekeeping and another of "Balkan partisan" Ivan
demonstrate this UN's lack of commitment to human rights, sources
tell Inner City Press.
years ago, the post as Military Adviser to the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations was given to Nigerian Lieutenant General
Chikadibia Obiakor. Now, sources tell Inner City Press, Obiakor will
be replaced by on again, off again UN Congo force commander Babacar
Gaye of Senegal, a Francophone country which like Benin is currently
having its troops pulled from the (Francophone) Congo.
Press asked Gaye last August about reports of sexual exploitation and
abuse by UN
peacekeepers under his command in the Congo, Gaye's answer left some
scratching their heads, video here,
from Minute 41:46:
we sent a fact-finding mission in the localities in South Kivu and
North Kivu where allegedly there was SEA cases. I have the results of
this fact-finding mission. This is the document that I received.
Unfortunately, or [do] we say fortunately, most of the time the
accusations, the allegations, are not precise enough to see something
on the ground and that is why we have decided to send as soon as
possible a fact-finding mission every time there is this kind of
accusation. You know that it is up to OIOS to investigate this kind
of things. But this fact-finding mission is the way for us to react
as promptly as possible in order at least to send evidence and so on
and so forth. In both cases, that probably your question is related
to, there was nothing on the ground for being evidence that something
Press asked to see the document Gaye was waving in the air while
saying the above, Gaye refused to release. Likewise, he denied that
there had been any issue of Pakistani and Indian peacekeepers
resisting crossing the administrative border between North and South
Kivu, which Inner City Press dubbed the Kashmir in
the Kivus. But
other DPKO staff, since Gaye's public denial, have acknowledged that
this happens. Some military adviser.
Babacar Gaye with Alan Doss, self-exoneration duo?
new human rights post in New York of Assistant Secretary General, for
which many names have less than accurately been tossed around, is
according to well placed NGOs about to be awarded to Ivan
Simonovic of Croatia, currently that country's Justice Minister. As
determined, they say, by Ban Ki-moon's senior advisor Kim Won-soo,
he's to get the post over, among others, Karin Landgren of Sweden,
who heads the U.N. mission in Nepal, on the theory that the UN can't
have two senior Swedes, and Swede Margot Wallstrom got the rape of a
weapon of war post.
The human rights NGOs tell Inner City Press they
that Simonovic was named his country's ambassador to the UN by then
prime minister Franjo Tudman, of whom Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti
"It is true that Mr.
not charged because he is dead, but alive, he would be here on the
accused bench. General Bobetko, that he was alive, he would be
accused of the bench. It should be borne in mind when talking about a
joint criminal enterprise."
The human rights NGOs also point to what they
disproportionate prosecution of ethnic Serbs in Croatia while
Simonovic has been Justice Minister. While Simonovic, they say,
argues that his post is not directly responsible for particular
prosecutions, the groups are surprised that the UN is moving in this
direction. But should they be?
There are other UN system retreads seeking new posts. When Haile
Menkerios was named SRSG of the UN Mission in Sudan, he beat out two
competitors viewed as "non African" -- India's Atul Khare,
previously of the UN Mission in Timor Leste and Hilde Johnson, a top
UNICEF official who points to her childhood in Africa as a
what many view as a hat tip to rising
power India, Khare is being named to the number two Peacekeeping post
vacated when Edmond Mulet was made permanent in Haiti. So what will
Hilde Johnson get? She was schmoozing at Japan's End of Presidency
reception on April 30. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Council, Rice on Sudan and Congo, S. Africa Running for Seat, UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- Promoting its candidacy for a Security Council
seat in 2011-12, South Africa threw a reception at the UN Monday
night. The news, however, came from current Council members. U.S.
Ambassador Susan Rice was there, meeting and greeting including with
the Press. One of her answers, about the Council's Congo trip, she
said was off the record. Other answers will be reported,
diplomatically of course.
on the day Sudan's
Omar al Bashir declared electoral victory the UN had said
nothing at its noon briefing, rebuffing a shouted question from Inner
City Press on Sudan and from another journalist about the Balkans,
Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice if she thought the UN was
being too quiet.
as she would on Northern Congo, that she had spent the day immersed
in something else, presumably Iran. These proposed sanctions, it
seems clear, are the US Mission's and Administration's focus. But
what about the outbreak of fighting between the SPLM and northerners,
either tribes or Bashir's army?
Rice said, the "big enchilada," is really on the referendum
on South Sudan being independent. But if the process of these
election was not credible, why and how would that one be?
when Inner City Press told Ambassador Rice about reports of UN envoy
Ibrahim Gambari meeting earlier in the day with Omar al Bashir, she
smiled thinly. On the other hand, Sudan's Ambassador told Inner City
Press he had called Gambari directly, and Gambari had gushed about
the meeting, He said that in the pending UNMIS resolution, there is
an attempt to give UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios a role up in Darfur.
political coordinator, on the other hand, said the mixing of UNMIS
and UNAMID would give Gambari a role in the South, "even if it
breaks away." We'll see.
Congo, Inner City Press asked about the UN's strange failure to
commit to investigating the alleged 11 civilian deaths caused in the
re-taking of the airport in Northern Congo. When told that the
alleged perpetrators are the Congolese Army, with which the UN works,
Ambassador Rice said "good question." Inner City Press told
her she is more likely to get an answer. "Thank you," she
US's Susan Rice, Gambari and "big enchilada" not shown
chat, too. A reporter recounted that St. Lucia's Ambassador said Ms.
Rice is part Caribbean. Ambassador Rice nodded. "All you need to
know about me," she said, is I am half Jamaican and was
conceived in Nigeria. She laughed. "My grand mother's maiden
name was Daley [or Daly], as in Irish."
suggested she speak more with the press, contrasting her approach to
that of the French. She shrugged. I can't do it every week, she said,
adding that Americans are "not peacocks."
happens, will speak to the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon and
then, it is promised, with the Press. An African Ambassador,
requesting anonymity, told Inner City Press on Monday night that
Menkerios' old position with the Department of Political Affairs will
be filled by current Cyprus representative Taye-Brook Zerihoun. Then
who would take Cyprus -- Atul Khare? Watch this site.
requested by the South African mission, Inner City Press would be
remiss not to note that, with the African Union's endorsesment, South
Africa is virtually assured of re-gaining a Council seat in 2011-12.
When Inner City Press quipped that this fast return made the country
the "Japan of Africa," a South African representative reminded that
before what's now called the Dumisani Kumalo term, South Africa had not
been represented. So welcome back -- the fix is in.