Lanka, UN Panel's Problems, of Blackmail as Guatemala Cites
R2P, NAM Games of Iran, Venezuela to Head G-77?
July 17 -- Sri
Lanka and the Non Aligned Movement letter it
requested to oppose UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's advisory panel
on accountability were inquired into at the UN throughout the day on
July 16, at the UN noon briefing, in front of the Security Council
and later upstairs at a celebration of Nelson Mandela's 92nd
which Inner City Press first obtained and exclusively published, has
now been stalled by a protest or
demarche from Guatemala, which does not agree NAM should block
inquiries into human rights violations.
Protect” was repeatedly heard. Most but not all NAM members opposed
R2P. But NAM decisions require consensus.
To try to
sweep the invocation of R2P under the rug, Sri Lanka and many NAM
nations are ascribing the delay to contradictions with the Organization
of the Islamic Conference about the inquiries into the attack on the
flotilla to Gaza. But R2P is in NAM's mix.
an aside on
NAM: that Iran will follow Egypt as the head of the group, reported
yesterday by Inner City Press, may not be an entirely sure thing. A
coalition of monarchies, ironically, from the Gulf States and a
certain Maghreb non African Union member, are raising some
the time when
Iran wants to lead NAM, Venezuela wants to lead the Group of 77. That
would certainly lead to journalist fireworks, and there are those
small countries which like to hide behind the bombast of the
Venezuelas and Irans of the world. But others think it would ill
serve their issues.
July 15 report on the staffing of Ban's advisory panel - fully
eight staff, led by Jessica Neuwirth, an official whose most recent
now ended job as NY representative of Navi Pillay was at the D-2
level - gave rise to concerns not only about those focused on
anti-corruption and anti-nepotism at the UN (count Inner City Press
among them) but, perhaps cynically but predictably, among the
beyond the Inner City Press reporting and allege a very close
relationship between Navi Pillay and Ms. Neuwirth, beyond the links
at Equality Now. One expects these arguments to be advanced, though
perhaps only privately to Ban Ki-moon. This is how the Rajapaksas play
politics, for example now whispering about Children and Armed Conflict
envoy Patrick Cammaert's supposed use of "massage services" during his
prenuptial visit to Sri Lanka.
they advance: that panel chairman Marzuki Darusman, at the end of his
previous service on the Sri Lankan government's own “international”
panel, bickered with Sri Lanka in order to collect his fees.
the merits, expect this too to be raised to Ban. In fact, Inner City
Press is told that this WAS raised to Ban, but that “he didn't
reminiscent of Ban not
paying attention that the
pairing of Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain
as co-chairs of an MDG group would blow up and undermine the work.
we expect Sri
Lanka to try to blackmail Ban Ki-moon, saying they are willing to
accept nepotism, corruption, conflict of interest “and worse” in
the Panel, as long as it leads nowhere in terms of accountability.
UN's Ban hands to Pakistan of NAM, Darusman
at right, fee fight not shown
That would be
pure UN: what seemed a belated attempt to do the right
thing, becoming a venue for corruption, blackmail and stasis. We may
hope not, but this is the UN. Watch this site.
noon briefing transcript:
Press: Mr. Buhne, I just wanted to understand, it seemed that
earlier in the week it was said that he was at the end of his tenure.
Did he say something while here to change it, and return or…?
Farhan Haq: No, no. If you remember what we said in
the statement issued last week — in the context of the disturbances
and the inability of UN staff to go about their work, we put out a
statement saying that he had been recalled. Since then, he has been
here over the past week and since then, as you know, we have received
a number of assurances from the Sri Lankan side that would allow us
to continue to go about our work without any further hindrance. At
the same time, you just heard what I read about the message that Mr.
Buhne will convey back to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Press: Sure, but I guess, what I don’t understand is what was
the thinking earlier in the week — if it was so dangerous, then why
would you only recall one individual? That would seem to be about a
threat to the staff as a whole. I just wondered if something
changed. Was his tenure coming to the end, as was said, and now has
been revived or extended in some way?
I think what I just read right now speaks for itself. I can read it
again for you, but the basic point I just said was…
Press: How does that compare to what was said earlier in the
week? That was what I was asking.
Yeah, I understand. But if you notice what we said is
— when I said that he will return to Colombo, the next thing is: “It is
important to continue UN efforts to assist the people of Sri
Lanka, particularly with regard to reconstruction and rehabilitation
in the North.” So that task will continue, but at the same time,
as I pointed out, Mr. Buhne will convey the Secretary-General’s
strong expectations for better treatment of the UN family in Sri
Press: And on the panel, there is an article out on Sri Lanka,
saying that one of the outcomes of Mr. Buhne’s consultations with
the Secretary-General was to further restrict the scope of the work
of the group of Panel of Experts that they will now explicitly not
consider information that comes in from either witnesses or anything
like that. And I just also wanted to ask about the staffing. Can
you confirm, as two Member States have now told me, that the head of
the staffing will be Jessica Neuwirth, a D-2, and there will be seven
I don’t have any details to provide for you right now
on the staffing. Yes, they will have a small secretariat here that
will assist them in their tasks, but I don’t have any confirmation
of any names to give to you right now. But certainly, no, there was
no limitation of the scope of [the Panel’s] work as a result of
Press: One of the Member States say, they said even Goldstone,
maybe you can, I don’t know what the level of staffing was, but
they said it was extraordinary that a D-2 level staff member would be
assigned to run this panel, particularly given its relatively limited
Like I said, I am not commenting on the level of
staffing of the panel.
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