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At UN, Thai Minister Kasit Dismissive on Rohingya, As Ban's Envoy Says Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 -- After Thai foreign minister Kasit Piromya declared victory in the UN Security Council Monday over Cambodia's request for peacekeepers, Inner City Press asked him about Thailand expelling and denying UN refugee agency access to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Let us deal with Rohingya later, Minister Kasit first said. Then, after accusing Cambodia of putting its soldiers inside the contested Preah Vihear temple, he said that Thailand has accepted a range of refugees in the last 20 to 30 years, naming boat people from Viet Nam.

Why then is Thailand refusing UNHCR access to and expelling the Rohingya? One clue was found in Kasit's praise of Myanmar's recent military dominated election, which he cited as proof of the effectiveness of ASEAN's diplomacy.

Inner City Press has repeatedly queried the Spokeperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the comment of Ban's chief of staff and part time envoy on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, to the plight of the Rohingya, asking

What is Ban Ki-moon's, Vijay Nambiar's (as envoy) and the UN system's response to

Thai police said on Monday as many as 91 Rohingya boat people, who ended up in the country while fleeing from Myanmar, will be deported”?

What will the UN do? What does Mr. Nambiar say?

After weeks, the following arrived from the UN:

Regarding the Rohingya boat people, UNHCR is trying to obtain access; please follow up with UNHCR on that matter.”

On when Ban would acting on the request by the UK, Mexico and others that he replace Nambiar with a full time envoy to Myanmar, the UN has continued to dodge, as sources tell Inner City Press the plan is to try to kill off the UN General Assembly mandate on Myanmar, replacing it with ASEAN.

UN's Ban & Kasit, protection of ejected Rohingya not shown

Now, on the Rohingya, BBC reports that

Thai foreign ministry spokesperson Thani Thongphakdi said in a statement that the group of 91 "illegal migrants" were found ashore in Trang province... "Since they were found to be [from Burma] they were later deported at a border crossing in Ranong province to Burma," Mr Thongphakdi said, adding that the move was "in line with their wish". He said that Thailand's authorities had "no knowledge how this group could have travelled further".

The Rohingyas who are now in Andamans have told Indian police that they suffered beatings and torture at the hands of the Thai law enforcing agencies after their arrest in Trang province. "Later we were taken to the sea and put on a boat which had no engine and with very little food and water in it," one of the Rohingyas told the police in a recorded statement.

Yet Minister Kasit told Inner City Press on Monday that there is a dialogue with UNHCR, and not to worry. This calls even Thailand's claims about its fighting with Cambodia into questions. Watch this site.

* * *

On Myanmar, As EU Prepares Visit, Ban Delays Replacing Nambiar, GA Mandate To Be Cut?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- When the European Union's Catherine Ashton came to the UN on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked for the EU's position on Myanmar, and to contrast it with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's.

  Ashton began, “With Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is somebody we are in contact with, she and I have just been writing to each other, and I'm hoping that somebody from the EU will be visiting her shortly.”

By contrast after Ban's chief of staff and part time Myanmar envoy Vijay Nambiar visited Aung San Suu Kyi, when he returned his internal assessment within the UN as conveyed to Inner City Press by well placed UN sources was that she is out of touch and too hard line.

  Ashton continued that “on all of these issues, we need to talk with the opposition, of course with her, she's central, but also with the others around her and engage with this... The EU will make its position clear when we've got that type of discussion out of the way and so we're waiting to be given the chance to talk with her.”

Inner City Press asked Ashton if she agrees with Ban Ki-moon's recent assessment, if the EU is on the same page.

  Ashton replied that she doesn't have a “detailed, finger tip knowledge of the last thing the UN said.”

Ban Ki-moon put out a statement about the new parliament, 25% of whose members are appointed by the military and in which proposals have to be shown to a screener 10 days before they are introduced, with the possiblity of prohibition without any chance of appeal.

Catherine Ashton at the UN, previously, ASSK assessment not seen

  After for weeks declining to answer Inner City Press' questions about the banning of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar, the plight of the Rohingya and when Ban would finally move on the request by the UK, Mexico and others to replace Nambiar with a full time envoy, the UN sent this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM
Subject: Your questions on Myanmar
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] Inner City Press

In response to your emailed question about the dissolution of the NLD in Myanmar, we have the following to say: We have taken note of the decision with concern and continue to follow developments closely. We believe that in order to succeed any transition must be inclusive and participatory, including both those who won seats in the recent elections and those who did not participate.

Regarding the Rohingya boat people, UNHCR is trying to obtain access; please follow up with UNHCR on that matter.

On replacing Nambiar, the UN has had nothing to say. Now, sources in the UN tell Inner City Press there is a reason. The goal is to get the entire UN mandate on Myanmar eliminated in the General Assembly, by pointing to the new parliament and recycled president. That, the sources say, explains Ban's statements and delay. 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.

* * *

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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