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As Thailand Admits Sea-Dump of Rohingya, UN Hasn't Studied as Trafficking, Costa in Uganda

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 12 -- For weeks, scandal has swirled around Thai's practice of pulling boats of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar out to sea and leaving them to the elements. It widely reported that some of the flow of Rohingya is attributable to human trafficking. Thailand's prime minister on Thursday admitted the towing had happened. In New York, the head of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime Antonio Maria Costa while launching a report on trafficking was asked about the Rohinya's plight. We did not look at this, Mr. Costa said. You're not kidding.

  Costa was more expansive in his answer to Inner City Press' question about the abuse of human trafficking investigations to identify and deport undocumented migrants.  It is a grey zone, Costa said. Just as there is a difference between a twelve year old girl chained to a bed made to "perform" a hundred times a time, he said, and a sex worker, so there is a different between an illegal migrant who wants to come, and a trafficked person who does not. Laws can be abused, in short. But does the UN sound alarms?

Rohingya pulled out to sea by Thais per CNN, UN not shown

  Apparently not. Inner City Press asked Costa to name the banks which, he says, have been infused with drug money in the wake of the financial crisis. We work with governments, Costa said. We are not here to criticize governments but to work with them. So what about Myanmar, which pushes the Rohingya out, and denied they ever lived there?

  After his briefing, Costa told Inner City Press about his trip to Uganda, and about his blog. He appeared looser than before; he had signed a Compact with Ban Ki-moon. Some say there is trouble at the UN in Vienna. But on Thursday, Costa smiled.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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