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Rights in Contradiction as HRW & Partner Let France Off Hook, Vienna +20

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 17 -- At the UN there's a lot of talk about human rights, but sometimes it's in conflict. Double standards we cover daily, but this is about double booking.

On September 18 not only UN official Ivan Simonovic but also Gerhard Doujak, Head of the Human Rights Department in the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs, are set to speak at 11:15 am in the UN Press Briefing Room on the topic of "Vienna +20 Human Rights achievements, shortcomings and the way forward."

But a mere 15 minutes prior, UN perennial Human Rights Watch is holding a press conference on a topic on which the Security Council took no action in August nor so far in September: the Central African Republic.

  Why didn't the Security Council pass the expected resolution in August? Because the pen holder France had its diplomats on vacations, as Inner City Press reported. But you won't hear that from HRW.

Nor did HRW say anything when Herve Ladsous of UN Peacekeeping met in July with Omar al Bashir, who is indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court. HRW's statements are, shall we say, highly selective.

  Who is hosting this HRW event? The UN Correspondents Association, which also in July hosted what it called a "UN briefing" by Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba.

  On July 26, and again earlier today, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson if they was really a "UN briefing."

From the July 26 UN transcript:

Inner City Press: currently, there is a meeting in the North Lawn Building of the Syrian coalition with members of the Security Council. They may be doing a stakeout now. But I wanted to ask you this. Iíve seen, although it wasnít sent to me, a notice of a press conference in the UN building by the Syrian Coalition in room 310 of the United Nations, and I wanted you to describe what this press conference is. Is it a UN press conference? Is it only open to individuals who have paid money in order to attend it? And I saw one of the speakers described as the Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the United Nations, and I wanted to know, is there such a thing? Is there official representation to the United Nations by the Syrian opposition and on what basis does the UN give a large room to the UN Correspondents Association for meetings of this type, which they only promote to members that pay them money?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, Iíll have to check on that, Matthew. I donít have the information with me, but weíll check on that and get back to you.

  But no one ever did get back to Inner City Press with an answer to this question, including the Department of Public Information which partners with UNCA and gives it this special but unexplained status.

  DPI has been informed of anonymous social media trolling linked with UNCA Executive Committee members (two of whom, Louis "The UN Spy" Charbonneau of Reuters and Tim Witcher of AFP, have been exposed in MediaBistro: these are HRW's partners.)

  But even on September 17, the UNCA-linked trolling continued. And so, on Wednesday, the correct place is in neither. Watch this site.


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