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On Oceans Day, Illegal Fishing Stumps UN FAO, Climate Refugees Denied Indonesia Island

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, June 8 -- As World Oceans Day was celebrated at the UN in New York, there was news, some good but mostly bad, about the failure to include oceans in the current climate change talks, and lack of welcome for environmental refugees.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Hasjim Djalal, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, about reports his country might lease one or more islands to refugees from global warming, such as from the Maldives. Video here, from Minute 42:48.

   Hasjim Djalal, after bragging the Indonesia devoted one of its islands "south of Singapore" to Vietnam's boat people, said that now "Indonesians don't want to lose their islands," and so don't want to rent them. You never know what the refugees will leave, he said, to countries of reception. Among these he mentioned Australia which, he said, passes refugees on in turn to Nauru and Christmas Island.

  Indonesia, of course, recently sent Rohingya prospective refugees from Myanmar back to Bangladesh. Indonesia's Ambassador told Inner City Press this is humane and consistent with the Bali protocol. But what about an island?

Hasjim Djalal: no more leasing islands, Rohingya not shown

   Inner City Press asked what is being done to stop illegal fishing, for example off Somalia and Western Sahara. The FAO, it was said, has a plan of action. There are moves afoot to make countries control what companies, flying their national flag or not, do out in the ocean. But the UN is quiet as Morocco and European fish off Western Sahara, and little is done of the pillage off of Somalia. So where is the FAO?

   Also on the panel was professor David Freestone. Inner City Press asked him if Ban Ki-moon or Yvo de Boer should be more to try to put oceans on the UNFCCC agenda in Copenhagen. Freestone said that a special effort should be made. We'll see.

Somalia Pirates Include Pakistanis and Iranians, Russia Says an International Court Needed

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 -- While the campaign of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is portrayed as example of global unity, there are disagreements about setting up an international court mechanism to try piracy suspects. After Friday's meeting of the Contact Group, Inner City Press asked U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary, Political and Military Affairs Greg Delawie if the U.S. favors such an international mechanism. No, Mr. Delawie said. Is this due to the U.S.'s position against the International Criminal Court?

   Ironically, not only Germany and the Netherlands but also Russia favor an international court, or "mechanism within a national court," as a Russian diplomat put it to Inner City Press. He noted that the U.S. arguments against this are similar to those Russia made against, for example, the establishment of the so-called Hariri tribunal for Lebanon. He said that since Kenya, where most trials for now take place, has an Anglo Saxon system, the U.S. and UK are fine with it, Russia less so. He said that recently pirates from Pakistan and Iran have been caught and asked, why turn them over to Kenya?

Pirates? From where? To where?

   Somalia's foreign minister made a pitch for money for his country's courts, and to develop an official Somali Coast Guard. Inner City Press had asked Delawie what the group would do about illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste, two roots or rationales for Somali piracy. Delawie said that things are so dangerous now, he doubts that illegal fishing persists. The answer seemed insufficient.

   Standing to the side of the stakeout was the UN's envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, fresh from a press conference in which after Inner City Press asked about human rights in Somalia, he said the Press is an accomplice in what Ugandan President Museveni has called a genocide in motion. As the UN's Olara Otunu might say, Museveni should know....

  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.

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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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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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