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At UN, Security Council Moves to Push All But 15 Nations into the Hall, Cut Press Access: Turf Wars

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 5 -- Outside the first consultation meeting in the new UN Security Council chamber, both reporters and members states not on the Council were Monday in disarray, on the verge of losing even more access.

  A representative of UN Security Council Affairs told Inner City Press that the media will be moved further back, where they can't even see Council members enter. And member states other than the 15 Council members will be relegated to an open hallway by the stairs, under the plan.

  The UN representative said that Council members complained of "involuntary interation" with the press and even other member states "like India and Germany," wanting a way to leave without seeing either. Inner City Press countered that the media, and non-Council member states, must be consulted, but was told to quiet down.

  In what passes for news, in the beginning of the month consultations led by April's Council president, Yukio Takasu of Japan, the U.S. asked for a briefing about the elections in Sudan. Since U.S. envoy Scott Gration is in Khartoum appearing to praise the process as "as fair as possible," the U.S.'s request struck some as strange.

  Nigeria requested a briefing about the chaos in Guinea Bissau, in which the police arrested the Prime Minister last week. Apparently Myanmar will not be discussed. Ambassador Takasu will hold a press conference later on Monday. Watch this site.

  The background: After its final March meeting, the Council was moved from its longtime location on the second floor to a suite of rooms in the UN's basement.

There are no windows, but the UN says it is secure, safer than Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office atop the boxlike Temporary North Lawn Building.

But outside the Council, everything has changed. The suite of rooms has a closed metal door and a sign, "Consultation in session, Security Council members only."

This seems to mean that Permanent Representatives of member states not among the Council's 15 members -- including for example India, Germany and South Africa, to name a few -- can't even go into the Council's lounge, as for years they did upstairs.

Some Security Council reform -- getting less rather than more inclusive.

A stakeout with the 15 Council members' flags has been set up where the Vienna Cafe used to be. It is at some remove from the Security Council doors; members can leave by the stairs or garage without walking by the stakeout.

The new UNSC chamber under construction

Monday morning, reporters milled around between the stairs and the Council doors. Spokespeople of only two of the Council's members, one permanent and one in its second of two years on the Council, deigned to speak to the press scrum. By 10:15, Inner City Press was the only media left, on a rickety chair without a table by the stairs. Several Permanent Representatives asked Inner City Press how to get into the Council. "Through the General Assembly," was the reply. Watch this site.

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In Central Asia, UN Ban Blind to Corruption, Skips Prisoners Rights and Water Wars

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 -- As the UN's Ban Ki-moon traipses Central Asia, what of political prisoners, UN hiring scandals and simmering cross border conflicts? Apparently for the UN Secretary General, these don't exist. Before Ban started his trip, Inner City Press asked why the UN was not even to solve the dam-based conflict between Tajkistan and Uzbekisan. Don't call it a conflict, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said. What what should it be called? 
     As Inner City Press has reported, Uzbekistan opposes the Tajik dam so much it shut the country's border. Why isn't the vaunted Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia involved?

  A UN source alleging corruption in the UNRCCA notes

On the website of the Center, there is not a single word about the Dam. but there is a tender announcement for the fitness equipment for the gymnasium at the UNRCCA building - the former elite Demiryolchy Hotel. The question is whether the procurement of the fitness equipment is reconciled with the UN budget rules and regulations, or whether it is a good UN background for the unsolved Dam conflict. the left click Tenders

At Tnders page you could see translation: The Regional UN Center (UNRCCA) announces the tender: Fitness equipment for the gymnesium) is set of pictures.


Miloslav Jenca (Slovakia), SRSG and head of UNRCCA, has published an article “Developments in Central Asia and the role of the UNRCCA” in International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy AffairsIssue no.02 /2009, Publisher: Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (RC SFPA)

The curiosity is that it can be read only if the reader would pay 25 Euro (€) in advance (from each the price of Jenca’s article would be taken). Click here. the UN staff in general and of Jenca’s status in particular are not supposed to publish the UN related staff for money (not saying about other connotations).

Turkmenistan would be the first country in the SG tour – 2 April (would SRSG Jenca inform the SG of the fitness equipment tendered – especially of the ball to play at the beach?

  In the Fall of 2009, Inner City Press asked and was given the run-around about a hiring scandal in this Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. Inner City Press posed this question in writing:

In a message dated 8/27/2009 3:50:47 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, montas [at] writes:
Please refer your DPA questions to Jared Kotler
  I've been referred to you for a response to the allegations below concerning hiring in the Regional Center in Turkmenistan (the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia).Also, please tell me when Jan Egeland's job with DPA ended, what he did during his tenure and how much he was paid.
on the RCPDCA, while here is more to this story, but let's start on deadline with confirmation or denial of the below:
During 2005-2007 Mr. Miloslav Jenca, Slovakia , worked in Tashkent as the OSCE Head of Office/OSCE Project Co-coordinator in Uzbekistan together with Ms. Polina Pomogalova , Uzbekistan , as his local general support staff:

Mr.Jenca at OSCE, Uzbekistan

Ms. Polina Pomogalova at OSCE, Uzbekisan, page 3

 In December 2007 the UNRCCA ( United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia) was inaugurated by Lynn Pascoe, DPA in Ashgabat.

In April 2008 Mr. Miloslav Jenca was appointed UNRCCA Head and SRSG, (“…Mr.. Jenca, currently the Director of the Office of Slovakia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, recently served as head of mission for the OSCE centre in Tashkent , Uzbekistan …”) 

Soon after this Ms. Polina Pomogalova was appointed the Personal Assistant to the SRSG Jenca at UNRCCA: see the UNRCCA web site: 

“…Ms. Polina Pomogalova, Personal Assistant to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Ambassador Jenca…”

Question: How could it be that Polina Pomogalova without a single day of the UN experience was shortlisted for an interview by PMSS while other candidates with the extensive UN experience in Central Asia and technically cleared to the positions of this category were not included? How could it be that the UNRCCA interview board recommended exactly Polina Pomogalova? The answer seems clear: she was the protégé of SRSG Jenca and it was he who had arranged everything.

  Again, there is more to this story, but let's start on deadline with what is the UN's / DPA's . the Center's response?

  The majority of the above was simply never responded to, just as the UN's Department of Political Affairs refused to respond to or address nepotism and hiring scandals in its Africa II unit and the Central African Republic. This lack of accountability extends to the UN's approach to human rights.

UN's Ban and Jenca (2d from left) and his delegation, 2008

   As Ban left on April 1, Inner City Press asked his Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban would visit political prisoners:

Inner City Press: In terms of the Secretary-General’s trip through Central Asia, I’m wondering, various groups, including Human Rights Watch, have said this is an opportunity for him to address issues such as, in Uzbekistan, the failure to prosecute anyone for the Andijon massacre, as well as the abuse of political prisoners, religious minorities and others. What is the place of the issue of human rights in the Secretary-General’s trip, and specifically, is he going to raise Andijon while he is in Uzbekistan?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: I’m not going to get ahead of the Uzbekistan portion of the trip before it happens. What I will say is: it’s always clear whenever the Secretary-General visits countries that human rights, international humanitarian law and other norms are always part of what he discusses with his interlocutors. He certainly plans to do that over the course of his trip to Central Asia. And one of the things that he is going to do in the various countries that he visits is to reach out to civil society. As you know, civil society organizations have been developing in many of these countries. We will provide you with the details of those visits as they transpire. There is nothing really to say about them just yet.

Inner City Press: There are fairly high-profile, what are called political prisoners, although the Governments disagree in both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and I am wondering, does he have, when he says he’s going to reach out to civil society, can you say whether he’s actually asked to meet any imprisoned political figure?

Associate Spokesperson: I wouldn’t give the itinerary, the precise itinerary, of his meetings just yet, but we’ll provide those details as they arise. But certainly, he will be meeting with civil society, and the sort of concerns he brings on all of his trips he will also bring on this one.

  But what, for example, of the HIV activist imprisoned by Uzbekistan which called his UNICEF-funded pamphlet blasphemous? Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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