Ambassador On Lack of Venezuela Freedom, Russell Simmons On
Slavery, Yes UN Passport
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News
NATIONS, May 20 – On a day at the UN when the slaughter in Sri
Lanka was discussed, and the impending re-imprisonment of Aung San
Suu Kyi in Myanmar, two celebrities spoke at the UN and were, some
thought, a study in contrasts. Venezuelan actress Patricia Velasquez
, who is already an Ambassador for UNESCO, was given a “Women
Together” award for her work with indigenous people. Inner City
Press asked her, as UNESCO Ambassador, if she thinks the Organization
does enough about press
freedom in Latin America, particularly in
Venezuela. Video here,
from Minute 16:57.
replied that Venezuela right now has many problems and discussions
about freedom of the press, but that to wait for a bureaucracy to act
was not the right approach, both journalists and civil society should
say, “This cannot be.” That is, she did not duck the question.
Simmons appeared, newly named a UN Ambassador on issues surrounding
the trans Atlantic slave trade. With him with the Permanent
Representative of Jamaica, Raymond Wolfe. Inner City Press asked
Simmons to describe what he would do as Ambassador, and would he get
a UN passport? Simmons and his entourage laughed; Simmons said, “I
already have a passport.” Video here,
from Minute 1:09.
Ambassador Wolfe then came to the microphone, arguing that Simmons'
appointment has nothing to do with getting a UN passport. Simmons
whispered, “No passport?” Wolfe answered, “It comes, later.”
from Minute 2:39.
Russell Simmons and Ambassador, UN Passport Not Yet
Simmons made reference to modern day slavery and other “atrocities
committed today,” Inner City Press asked him to given an example of
the former, and on the later something about Sri Lanka. “I won't
want to muddy the waters,” Simmons said rather than answer. “Today
is about the slave trade.”
then retired to the Indonesian Lounge to shake the hands of waiting
Ambassadors. Meanwhile the Ambassador of Indonesia sat, serious
faced, in the hallways talking on his cell phone. It emerges that
there is a draft Presidential Statement for the Security Council
about Aung San Suu Kyi, for now “deploring” the government's
trail of her, which the UN Country Representative is now allowed to
attend (but apparently not speak publicly about).
She is charged with
violating the terms of her house arrest for allowing an American
swimmer to stay in her compound. Since the timing helps the
government, led by General Than Shwe, Inner City Press is calling
ASSK's uninvited guest “Than Schwim.” The prediction is that it
will be watered down to the ASEAN position, “gravely concerned.”
Only at the UN.
May 13 Inner City Press debate on Sri Lanka, here
Ambulance aflame in "No Fire" Zone, May 13, 2009
In the final week of
fighting we ran this message, from Dr. Sathiyamoorthy
Sir / Madam,
battle started since 5.30 am. Many wounded civilians were brought to
hospital and hospital is not providing services because hospital was
under shell attack. Few staff reported duty. nearly thousand patients
are waiting to get daily treatment. But even simple wound
dressing and giving antibiotics problems. So many wounded have to
die. In the ward among patients many death bodies are there.
Looking hospital seen and
hearing the civilians cry really disaster. Did
they make any mistake do the world by the innocent. But the
important sta[keholders] are just listening the situation and not
helping the people.
director of Health Services
(Now at No Fire Zone)
From the UN's
May 18 noon briefing transcript:
City Press: on Mr. Nambiar. Can you say whether while he is there
the issue...there are some saying that there are many people that are
now injured in the (inaudible) care in what had been called the no
fire zone; and that the ICRC has no access. Is this something
that...is this in the case there some doctors who used to report on
the casualty figures who have gone missing as reported in the
Guardian and the Independent. Are these issues, I mean you mentioned
he’s talking about the IDPs instead of post-conflict; what about
people that are actually at this moment sort of dying without medical
Spokesperson Okabe: Well, that’s the subject that I think John
Holmes is going to come and talk to you about right now.
City Press: Burt can you say whether Mr. Nambiar, I guess I am just
wondering... -- John Holmes is not there, Mr. Nambiar is -- is this
an issue that the UN is urgently raising with the Government or not?
Spokesperson Okabe: The Chef de Cabinet’s visit, as we mentioned
to you, focuses exactly on the same issues that I just mentioned;
which are the United Nations’ and the Secretary-General’s
concern. Now, obviously the immediate humanitarian needs on the
ground are the utmost priority for all of us.
what about the doctors?
May 7, Inner City Press
asked Associate UN 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.
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. 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.
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