Myanmar Exchange Rate Is
"Difficult," UN's Holmes Will Review in Yangon, Council June 24
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
July 16 -- In Myanmar in the wake
of Cyclone Nargis, the UN system had "serious losses of 20%"
exchanging currency with the military government, as well as making
purchases from state-owned petroleum enterprises, record seen by Inner
show. A week after asking head UN humanitarian John Holmes to describe
currency is converted in Myanmar, on Wednesday he said he will be
next week and will check on the issue.
re-launched a Consolidated Appeal for
funding on Wednesday, alongside Rudy
Von Bernuth of the International Save the
Children Alliance, who said that Save the Children following Nargis has
received $29 million from the UN for its Myanmar work. Afterwards,
Press asked Von Bernuth how and at what rate Save the Children exchanges money in
Myanmar. "You have to ask our London office," he answered. We have,
but the answer is strange, from International Save the Children
after a statement at the UN about receiving $29 million from the UN.
humanitarian who passed through the UN on Wednesday was Eric Laroche,
the World Health Organization, previously
humanitarian coordinator in Somalia,
and further back with UNICEF in Myanmar.
While he has committed now to explain how WHO
exchanges money in
Myanmar, when Inner City Press asked if he thinks it legitimate to
accept a low
exchange rate from a government in order to have access, he stayed
silent for a
full eight seconds before saying, "It's a very difficult question, and
more difficult answer. It has to do with principles." Video here,
Minute 51:46. He said that when he was in the country with UNICEF,
were told about the exchange rate arrangements with the government.
UN car in Myanmar, June 2008 Than Shwe exchange rate not shown
Sir John Holmes' report-back from Myanmar, it can also be reported that
internal UN documents show that much of the rice purchases by the UN
cyclone was bought from Myanmar itself. Later a shift was made to
attributable to "government image and not availability" of rice,
according to the records.
month's Vietnamese president of the
Security Council stated on Wednesday that an agreement has been reached
Council to have a briefing on Myanmar before the end of the month.
Press is told it will be on July 24... Watch
And this --