UN, Indigenous Question Obama and UNDP's Clark, Canada's Fowler's
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, May 18 – Three countries, including the United States,
remain formally opposed to the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous People. The other two are Canada, with major mining
interests around the world including, notably, Niger, and finally New
Administrator of the UN Development Program, Helen
Clark, was previously the prime minister of New Zealand. The
chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Victoria
Tauli-Corpuz, told a press conference Monday that she hopes that this
former position will not influence Ms. Clark's work at UNDP. Inner
City Press asked, has she met with you and the Forum yet? No, came
the answer. Nor has Inner City Press received from UNDP a long-promised
answer about its use of funding in Cyprus.
Ms. Tauli-Corpuz said
she has spoken with the U.S. State Department's
negotiator on reducing emissions to find if the Obama Administration
will reverse Bush' opposition to the Declaration, without getting a
clear answer. Most invective, however, was reserved for Canada, under
Harper opposed to the Declaration, and involved in controversial
mining projects all over the world.
week, Inner City Press asked Canada's Ambassador to the UN about the
abduction in Niger and release of former Canadian diplomat Robert
Fowler, who while ostensibly serving as a UN envoy was visiting a
Canadian owned mine in Niger at the time of his abduction. On this
and the question of Tamils' protests in Toronto, Ambassador McNee
said that he had not come to the UN press briefing room prepared to
answer on Canada and UN issues. We will pursue answers to these
Lars Anders Baer, when Inner
City Press asked about the “inclusion”
theme of this year's UN Commission on Social Development meeting,
scoffed that inclusions means different things in North America and
Africa. During the passage of the Declaration, at Western powers'
request it was said, some African countries opposed the Declaration,
stating that they have no indigenous people, or that everyone there
is indigenous. The issue arose during a recent
review of Rwanda's
human rights record. Click here for that story.
UNDP's Clark with Maori, meet with PFII and
answers on Cyprus not yet shown
City Press asked about the roll of the UN's Department of Economic
and Social Affairs in the functioning of the Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues. Previously, there were allegations that DESA
canceled a scheduled scening of a documentary about indigenous people
in Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand, faced by a governmental request.
This question was not answered, but will be pursued while the Forum
is in town, through May 29. Watch this site.
Two years ago the following was
And there's a question on DESA, I
believe. A formal complaint by the Permanent Mission of Viet Nam
to the United Nations was received on 18 May by the Chairperson of the
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues regarding the scheduled screening
of two films on UN premises on 22 and 23 May. The Ambassador of
Viet Nam expressed in his letter to the Chairperson of the Permanent
Forum grave concerns about the contents of the films as being
alarmingly biased against the State of Viet Nam. Given that the
United Nations is an organization of Member States, and in light of the
formal protest of a Member State, DESA was of the view that screening
these films on UN premises would be inappropriate and that the films
could be screened off the UN premises.
Other topic of the day: Sri Lanka
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 14 transcript:
Spokesperson Okabe: ...the very fact
that he’s sending his Chef de Cabinet again to underscore his message I
speaks loudly on what the Secretary-General in his personal capacity is
to do to bring an end to the situation on the ground.
A follow-up on the Chef de Cabinet. There
has been substantial criticism, not just that
because Mr. Nambiar
comes from India, but because his brother, an Indian
General [Satish] Nambiar
recently wrote an op-ed praising the offensive of the Sri Lankan Army
north and General [Sarath] Fonseca who’s led it.
Is the Secretariat aware of this criticism
and how does it address it? Also, that
Mr. Nambiar went before he got a commitment to visit an open conflict
it never took place. What’s the, I
guess, the response and why isn’t Ban Ki-moon himself going if he’s
the French and others have said he should go ASAP?
Spokesperson Okabe: Matthew, as you know
the Secretary-General’s position on going to Sri Lanka has been
this podium many times this week. And
the fact that Mr. Nambiar happens to be of a nationality does not in
get in the way of his work as a UN official. As
you know, everybody from the UN does come from
one country or
another; but once they sign on to work at the UN they go as UN
Isn’t there generally a sort of an unwritten rule of not, for example,
when Mr. Gambari was going to do Nigeria, are you unaware that they see
within diplomats in the UN often say that a person from a country too
a conflict is not the right person to be sent.
Spokesperson Okabe: Mr. Nambiar is not
from Sri Lanka.
he's from India which has a major stake in
the Sri Lanka conflict.
Watch this site.
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.
Ban Ki-moon is working on his issues as a trip to Manama, Bahrain,
after a news-less trip to Malta, the killing of civilians accelerates
in Sri Lanka. On Friday
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, did not respond to the
invitation to visit Sri Lanka, or the accelerating rate of civilians
death over the weekend, during which no statement issued about Sri
Lanka. 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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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