Pirates Include Pakistanis and Iranians, Russia Says an International
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
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?
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?
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.
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
Somali Envoy Says Press Is Accomplice to Genocide, No Info on
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, May 29 -- Testifying about Somalia to the U.S. Senate on May
21, a representative of Oxfam said that "the United Nations
Development Program gave direct financial support for police salaries
and some of these police were implicated in serious human rights
abuses." On May 29, Inner City Press asked the Somali
Transitional Federal Government's foreign minister Mohamed Abdullahi
Omaar to respond. "I'm appreciat[ive] of that worry," he
said, saying that the "concern.. speaks on behalf of the
Somalia individuals who suffer." Video here,
from Minute 21:36.
when Inner City Press less than an hour later posed the same human
rights question to the UN's envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah,
he called the question "irresponsible," the questioner an
"accomplice to.... genocide" and told Inner City Press that
"there will be more killing and anarchy [and] you will be
responsible." Video here,
from Minute 19:44.
City Press pointed about that it was Oxfam's testimony, and that is
seemed fair to ask how the UN is making sure the funding it gives in
Somalia supports and does not contravene human rights principles.
Ould Abdallah, who previously said that the press should not report
on the killing of civilians by African Union peacekeepers, disagrees.
He said the Somali police should be paid even if some "stole
money money" or committed "abuse." This is not the UN
policy. But the UN has become so out of control that no one dares to
reign Ould Abdallah in, or even tries.
Ould Abdallah attacked the media who reported on African Union
peacekeepers firing into a crowd of civilians in Mogadishu, and
compared these media outlets to Radio Milles Colines which stoked
genocide in Rwanda, both Human Rights Watch and press freedom groups
demanded he issue a retraction. Inner City Press asked about it at
the UN in New York, and was later told by senior UN officials that
Ould Abdallah had been told to retract it by headquarters, but had
not do so. So much for accountability.
is the lack of answers on how Ould Abdallah, according to a joint
Somali - Kenyan filing under the Law of Sea's Continental shelf
process, arranged for assistance from Norway and its Petroleum
Directorate. Inner City Press wrote about this and asked the UN and
Ould's spokesperson Suzie Price, but never received an answer.
Friday, the question was put to Ould Abdallah and he said he is "no
specialist," that he was unfamiliar with the filing that states
that he prepared it. "Ask Norway," he said. Video here,
from Minute 12:30. Inner City
Press already has -- click here -- but Ould Abdallah's non answers
on May 29 only raise more questions.
UN's Ban, Ould Abdallah at right, human rights not
this has become a controversy. As first
reported by Inner
City Press, the filing states
that Ould Abdallah
the preparation of preliminary information indicative of the outer
limits of the continental shelf of Somalia beyond 200 nautical
miles... In the preparation of this material the SRSG accepted an
offer of assistance from the Government of Norway... Both the Royal
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Petroleum
Directorate have been involved in the preparation... All of the
expenses related to the preparation of the present submission have
been covered by the Government of Norway."
of course, is a major oil producer. Absent safeguards that do not
appear to be in place, it is viewed as a conflict of interest for
Norway to pay for and prepare a filing about drilling rights for an
African country described as having no government. And yet little has
been said, and the UN has accepted the filing. Call them pirates of
City Press asked the UN spokesperson's office, which begrudgingly
sent the question to Ould Abdallah's spokeswoman, who never answered.
She was in the room Friday, and did not purport to answer. Nor would
they answer which countries are funding Somalia's armed forces. The
UN told Inner City Press
Question on Somalia at Tuesday's Noon Briefing
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
To: Inner City Press
5/27/2009 10:20:50 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
below the response to your question at yesterday's Noon Briefing on
UN support for police personnel of the Transitional Federal
Government, (TFG): The UN Development Programme has provided
training to civilian police officers in Somalia, under
internationally approved guidelines with emphasis on community-based
far, 2,775 police personnel have undergone this internationally
approved training by UNDP for the TFG. These are the only police
personnel who are eligible for the payment of stipends which is paid
according to strict human rights and financial accountability
donors are supporting payment of stipends to UNDP-trained police.
who are the donors? It appears that Ould Abdallah, whenever he
doesn't like or doesn't want to answer a question, particularly a
financial questions, calls the questioner an accomplice to genocide.
And so it goes at the UN.