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On Trafficking, ICP Asks UN Of Burundi Girls to Saudi, Immunity Loophole, Rajoy Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 -- On December 20, Spains's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy chaired a UN Security Council all day debate about trafficking in persons in conflict situations.

Yazidi victim turned activist Nadia Murad Basee Taha asked why the Council and its members are not acting against ISIS. When Rajoy spoke in the Council, he praised the questioner but did not answer the question. Nor did he answer the Press at the Council stakeout.

On December 21, Kristiina Kangaspunta of UNODC took questions on the  Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Inner City Press asked her a question it posed to Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople in June 2016: the documented trafficking of girls by Burundi's government to Saudi Arabia and Oman. See previous Inner City Press story here.

    Kangaspunta said that under UNODC's definition, the only trafficker is a legally convicted trafficker. Since governments have immunity - like the UN - they by the UN's definition cannot be traffickers.

  Inner City Press asked if this isn't a blindspot or loophole. Kangaspunta opened a larger report than the one handed out and showed a half page on Burundi. But when found online, its most recent information was from 2013. And so the UN goes.

  On December 20 when Rajoy came to the UNTV stakeout, he read a long speech about Spain's accomplishments in its now-expiring Security Council term. But when Inner City Press asked, what has Spain accomplished on its former colony Western Sahara, Rajoy was already walking away.

As he left, Inner City Press tried to ask the longer, previously requested question: is Spain at least reviewing the arms sales to Saudi Arabia exposed recently in El Pais? No answer.

Even getting to the stakeout, Inner City Press was late, since the no due process eviction order by Spain's highest UN offiical Cristina Gallach required it to go through the tourist / metal detector entrance every day, and hinders its editing of the video of Rajoy's stakeout.

But see this video of Inner City Press' Periscope camera being smashed on December 16 by those Gallach works with, whose event in the UN Press Briefing Room in January she Banned Inner City Press for trying to cover. Gallach created this climate in which the critical Press' camera can be smashed with impunity.

This Vine of Rajoy, post camera smashing, was produced.

And here's a sample Inner City Press scoop, from December 20, the type of journalism Gallach evicted and is restricting.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 25, more here -- Amid charges that the UN in Sudan, including Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping in Darfur, has colluded with the authorities in Khartoum to cover up rapes and killing, now the UN's Resident Coordinator Ali Al Za'tari has been ordered to leave Sudan by January 2, Inner City Press first reported earlier today.

  On December 24, Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported and then asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle being ordered out of Sudan, citing her and Al-Za'tari's e-mails. Video here.

  A full day after that, Reuters reported on Helle's ouster -- typically, for Reuters, with no credit to the Press' prior exclusive story. (Reuters' UN bureau chief has said he has a policy of not crediting Inner City Press' exclusive, and has gone to far as to censor, Sudan-style, his "for the record" anti-Press complains to the UN, click here for that, via EFF's

 Now, after UN Spokesman Dujarric issued two statements on the afternoon and evening of December 25 responsive to the question Inner City Press asked at the December 24 noon briefing, Reuters has run a piece with no fewer than eight journalists listed, and of course no credit. This is policy, untransparenty (when Inner City Press asked top Reuters brass including Stephen J. Adler for Reuters policy on crediting, none was provided.)
 But eight journalists?

  The above-referenced Reuters UN bureau chief, it must be noted, under his own byline sought to exonerate Ladsous, reporting without context complaints made to Ladsous about another UN staff member, without mentioning Ladsous' own role in covering up rapes in the DR Congo and now Darfur. Reuters has not reported the complaints against Ladsous, even as a Permanent Three mission on the Security Council has confirmed to Inner City Press its receipt of the letter.

   On December 24, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Sudan having just similarly "PNG-ed" or declared persona non-grata the Sudan Country Director of the UN Development Program Yvonne Helle, with Za'tari barely pushing back against the government.

  Dujarric said that host countries' ordered to PNG a UN staff member are treated seriously and should be sent to, and considered and acted on by, Ban's Secretariat in New York. But Dujarric in the 18 hours after Inner City Press asked about Helle has not returned with any information or answer. Then Reuters published its story, with no credit.


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