NGO's Report on
Conflict Resources, Targeting Rebels, May Let Regimes Off the Hook, Is
Reviled by UN's Doss
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 1 -- The UN is a club of governments. Even the
seemingly idealistic things it does, it does for reasons of state and
with 45 employees, Global Witness came to the UN in New York to lobby
about conflict resources. Two of its campaigners met with the EU, and
later the Press. They talked about the Congo, about Angola, all
Africa all the time.
Press asked about Myanmar, about the
military regimes use of resources to fund its war on the Burmese.
Global Witness is looking at Burma, but only rebel groups export of
timber across the border.
that to merely crack down on rebel groups is just what governments
would want. What about North Korea? What about Sri Lanka, where clamp
downs on financing of the rebels was accompanied by debt relief to the
Rajapaksa government and then a "bloodbath on the beach" in 2009? What about Zimbabwe?
Asked these question
by Inner City Press, Global Witness' campaigner Amy Barry said
another side of their work is anti-corruption.
up with squarely with human oppression. And Equatorial Guinea,
which she cited, is not on the Security Council's agenda. Nor is Sri
Lanka: even during the peak of 2009's bloodbath, inclusion on the
Council's agenda was opposed by China and Russia, and not pushed for by
the UK and others.
indicated it would need more evidence that in a UN Experts' report to
go after companies trafficking in conflict resources. The UK said it
could not rely entirely on reports by the UN Group of Experts. But
few countries can afford to do their own research. If the UN reports
are not credible, according even to an ostensibly human rights
sensitive P-5 member, why are they being funded?
many in the
UN open their ears to Global Witness, the head man in the Congo Alan
Doss showed only anger, it was said. As Inner City Press has
reported, to solve his nepotism scandal he has rolled the dice with
the ex-CNDP. Doss has called Human Rights Watch short sighted. He was
even more brusque with Global Witness.
UN's Doss escorted through ex-CNDP mining territory
the founding and history of Global Witness: three guys concerned about
timber sales in Cambodia. Lo these many years later, all three are
still involved: two working from homes in the warmer part of Europe,
the third and
last still in London. They are still active on Cambodia, urging
donors to impose conditions of transparency and human rights.
sad is that
despite all this heartfelt effort, when Inner City Press quizzed
Security Council Ambassadors at the Chinese end of presidency shindig
on the night of January 28, few had heard of the visit of Global
Witness. Even spokespeople of EU Council members said they were not
aware. Pearls to swine, it seems, at the UN Security Council.
another too ignored NGO, International Commission on Nuclear
Disarmament and Non Proliferation, re-released its report
"Eliminating Nuclear Threats" last week. The first launch
was during the Copenhagen climate change summit, and was largely
ignored. Gareth Evans appeared at the UN last week, saying the report
will have a long tail.
Inner City Press asked about North Korea,
Reuters about Iran. Then Ambassador Gary Quinlan, the Permanent
Representative of Australia who was moderating the press conference,
called on an Italian diplomat, who gave a speech which cut off
journalists' questions. So it is with NGOs, even those sponsored by
governments, at the UN.
Haiti, UN of Two Minds on China, No Guidance on Bullets, Florida
Football Games Blocking Medical Flights
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 29 -- Two days after the UN's spokesman in Haiti
David Wimhurst denied knowing about UN Peacekeepers shooting even
rubber bullets to control crowds of aid seekers, detailed reports
emerged of "UN troops" shooting 50 caliber guns over
asked the UN's humanitarian coordinator John Holmes about these
reports, and what the UN considers the best practice in crowd control
while aid is distributed. "There is no set standard in the
humanitarian lexicon," Holmes said, adding that the main focus
is that nobody gets hurt. Video here,
from Minute 26:03.
okay? Tear gas? Electrified fences? Are these decision left up to
each country's contingent adopting the UN's blue helmets in Haiti,
including a battalion from Sri Lanka, accused of war crimes?
in the statements of David Wimhurst and Holmes was also raised but
not resolved. On January 27, Wimhurst confirmed to the press that the
Chinese search and rescue team, once it dug out the Chinese diplomats
from the wreckage of the UN's rented Hotel Christopher, left the
Chinese diplomats told Inner City Press to check with John Holmes,
who they cited as on record about additional Chinese work in Haiti --
a country with whose government China has no diplomatic relations,
since Haiti recognized Taiwan.
asked Holmes to square this with what Mr. Wimhurt said. "I don't
know what to add," Holmes said. "That's my understanding,
the Chinese information as well." But was he a witness? Video
from Minute 15:34.
UN's Holmes, UNDP's Helen Clark behind:
paying $5 or just $3 a day in Haiti?
that the flights evacuated injured Haitians to Florida have
stopped, due to the upcoming Super Bowl and Pro Bowl of the
Football League. Inner City Press asked Holmes about this. "I
have no idea," he said. "Ask the Americans."
reporter whispered, "Touchdown!" -- referring also to
Holmes "touchdown" space in the UN compound, now that
others in his office have been moved full time to Madison Avenue.
Football is only simulated war. But the UN in Haiti is shooting with
real bullets. Watch this site.