UN, Beneath the Glitz a Trust
Fund for Victims in Uganda and the Congo
Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, May 12
-- Complete with Alec Baldwin and a slew of fashion
designers, Tuesday night at the UN saw the type of hype event that
debases the Organization. In the name of the children of Uganda, a
where the UN Development Program funded a forcible disarmament program
resulted in burned villages and children chained until exchanged for
UN held a fundraiser, $250 to enter. The honored guest was painter Ross
Bleckner, who garnered praise from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime had issued a press
release puffing a
"group of distinguished leaders in the arts, entertainment and business
communities to serve on the Benefit Host Committee for the exhibition
including: Graydon Carter, artists Jeff Koons, Chuck Close and Brice
designers Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Rachel Roy, Harry Belafonte,
Award winning actors Nicholas Cage, Rachel Weisz and Mira Sorvino;
Baldwin, Carey Lowell, Candice Bergen and Ashley Judd, Russell Simmons"
and that was only on the front page.
was sushi and fashion photographers, a
slew of UN high officials drinking in the scene. But the cause, as it
out, seemed to be a pure one: the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), which
Uganda and the Congo, and is trying to get into Sudan.
Inner City Press interviewed TFV director Andre
described soliciting the art work from former child soldiers, and
villagers in seeds to rebuild roads to their communities. He took great
to distinguish the TFV from the International Criminal Court, headed by
Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was also in New York on Tuesday,
chatting with US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff. Moreno
Ocampo has become a controversial figure, leading the ICC to be fine
retaliation against a whistleblower and living only for the press.
UNODC's Costa with Sorvino, TFV and ICC's Ocampo not
on the other hand, seemed focused on the victims, on raising money to
better their lives. He said Germany's a major funder, and two
then the head of UNODC, Antonio Mario Costa, swept him away, with talk
after-party dinner, and of tomorrow's press conference. Watch this site.
Footnote: on the
sidelines of the
night of hype, the Permanent Representative of Security Council member
told Inner City Press of Sri Lanka that for his country "there would be
problem to discuss it in the Council... There is urgency to do
This is counter to the common wisdom at the UN, that
members opposing addressing Sri Lanka include not only China, Russia,
and Libya, but also Burkina Faso and Uganda, and Turkey and Japan (the
two, it is predicted, would abstain). Now, Uganda has said it would
problem having Sri Lanka on the Security Council's agenda. So why are
countries which supposedly care waiting? Again, watch this site.
May 7, Inner City Press
asked Associate UUN Spokesperson Farhan Haq:
City Press: I wanted to ask about this invitation that’s been made
to the Secretary-General to visit Sri Lanka. First I wanted to ask
if on Monday when he met with the Ambassador of Japan, whether he was
briefed on a visit by Mr. [Yasushi] Akashi to Sri Lanka and was urged
by Japan that he should take this visit. And I also wanted to know
whether he would be in New York 11 May for the Middle East debate,
and 15 May to meet with the Chinese diplomats, that in fact this is
one reason that he is considering not going, as I have been told by
senior Secretariat staff.
Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all, we don’t announce the trips
of the Secretary-General until they are close to occurring. And in
that regard, I don’t have anything to announce about a trip to Sri
Lanka at this stage. At the same time, as Michèle told you
yesterday, and is still true for today, if the Secretary-General
believes that visiting Sri Lanka can have an impact in terms of
saving lives there, he will certainly try to go. So he is
considering that. But part of what he is studying is what the impact
of a potential trip would be.
City Press: But if he had that belief, that would be without regard
to attending the 11 May Middle East thing or the 15 May meeting with
the Chinese diplomats? I am told that’s a major factor in his
Spokesperson: Scheduling is a separate issue. What we’re talking
about is the decision of whether or not to go. And certainly if he
can make a difference and can save civilian lives, which is what his
priority has been on this case, then he will go. At present, we
don’t have anything to announce at all in this regard, though.
Question: Just one last
one on that. I wanted to know, can you at least
confirm that he met with Ambassador Takasu on Monday in his office
inside the Security Council? Can you give a read-out of that meeting
and say why it wasn’t on his public schedule?
Spokesperson: I can confirm that he met with the Permanent
Representative of Japan. He did that, yes. It was in his office in
the Security Council. We don’t provide readouts of meetings with
Question: And why wasn’t
it on the schedule?
Spokesperson: It came up all of a sudden when he had a bit of free
time in between other appointments on a fairly hectic day.
Ban Ki-moon is working on his issues as a trip to Manama, Bahrain,
after a news-less trip to Malta, the killing of civilians accelerates
in Sri Lanka. On Friday
May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy
City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the
Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In
the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking
Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of
some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?
Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from
this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the
Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.
What Ban said
did not involve calling for a cease-fire, did not respond to the
invitation to visit Sri Lanka, or the accelerating rate of civilians
death over the weekend, during which no statement issued about Sri
Lanka. Watch this site.
4 in the UK with allegations of rape and
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]