UN, Sickle-Cell Day Sees Dodging on Casamance, Congo's Kouchner
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 19 -- The health ministers of three African nations
spoke Friday to the Press about sickle-cell anemia. Inner City Press
asked how outreach works in the restive
Casamance region of Senegal,
and on both the island and mainland of Equatorial Guinea. The health
minister of Equatorial Guinea, whose now oil-rich leadership
reputed to torture its opponents, answered that the country's
system is weak.
His Senegalese counterpart, Therese Coumba, did not
answer the Casamance question. Video here,
from Minute 43:22. A recent shoot out killed three in the
region; the local rebel group lost its spokesman in a ship sinking.
The talk Friday was anemic, and not of political diseases.
on the podium was the minister from Republic of Congo. Her department
has been named as making payments
to Bernard Kouncher's for profit
consulting companies. The press conference, largely held in French,
was too positive for that.
At UN, Equatorial Guinea across from Gabon, Ban and adviser
The First Ladies of Congo-Brazzaville and
Senegal were praised. An Indian doctor spoke of "tribal"
people in Gujurat having a ten to fifteen percent change of being
carriers of sickle cell anemia.
City Press asked about any medicines to combat the disease, hoping to
explore whether they are made to expensive for people. Last week,
Inner City Press asked World Health Organization head Margaret Chan
about the policy of Novartis not to donate any vaccine it develops to
the H1Ni virus to poor countries. Video here.
How is it with sickle cell anemia?
The three ministers' expert said there is no cure for the disease.
from Minute 41:51. Later he came to Inner City Press and denounced
Benin for making a
hero of the investor of something called VK-500, which he said is
snake oil scam.
UN spokesperson Michele Montas was asked about two damning studies of
the UN system's use of members states' health care money. Ms. Montas
insisted that both studies were by the World Health Organization, and
that it is good for the UN to be criticizing itself.
praise has not recently been extended to whistleblower, including in
the UN Medical field. Second, the statement wasn't true: one of the
studies' only connection to WHO is that its author worked at WHO in
the 1990s. The UN reflexively defends itself, whether or not it is
UN, Dutch Talk On Child Labor But No Action on Haitian Slavery and Uzbek Cotton, No
Comment on Melkert to Iraq
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 12 -- The Dutch Mission to the UN held a press
conference on June 12 about the scourge of child labor, but when
pressed had few answers. Inner City Press asked what the Netherlands
and the European Union are doing about the government of Uzbekistan's
use of school children to pick cotton, and in Haiti about what others
in the UN system have called the slavery of poor rural children
working in the homes of more affluent urban families.
Deputy Permanent Representative Piet de Klerk criticized the UN
Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, saying its "paradigm is not right"
but acknowledging that his answer was "too general." Video here,
from Minute 40:25.
Mikov of World Vision added, in response to Inner City Press'
question about the work on new UN envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, that
"we would urge him to pay particular attention to children in
Haiti, child labor as well." Mikov later stressed to Inner City
Press that the global financial crisis can make child labor worse.
Uzbekistan, Inner City Press asked about Dutch and EU policy and IMF
lending. Video here,
from Minute 31:11. Peter de Ruiter, author of A World for Children:
Growing up without Child Labor, referred Inner City Press to page
154 of his book, a paragraph mentioning an employee of the Dutch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had taken an interesting in child
labor in Uzbekistan. But what are the Dutch doing?
Klerk, polite but vague
answers on Haiti and Melkert
Klerk said that the Netherlands has made a request to the European
Commission to analyze incentives and "other trade actions."
He said that on the economy and trade, there is a comment European
the EU has eased up on Uzbekistan, even after reports of political
opponents being killed. Sometimes the EU talks a good game, but does
far less than money is involved. Watch this site.
at the conclusion of the press conference, Inner City Press asked
Dutch Ambassador de Klerk to confirm or deny that Dutchman Ad Melkert
is being considered as the UN's envoy to Iraq, after twice losing out
for the top post at UNDP. De Klerk said that the UN is looking for
ways to keep Ad Melkert, but would not specify. Inner City Press
stands by its
story and will continue to inquire.
Mulls Sending Melkert to Iraq, Local Staff in Pakistan Shortchanged,
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
NATIONS, June 11 -- Inside the UN system, staff were angry Thursday
night. First came indications that beyond the international staff
killed in the bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, at least three national
staff were killed as well. Not only where they barely spoken of, but
the benefits package for them is slated to be a fraction of that
offered to the internationals. Also barely mentioned was the UN's
evacuation of some but not all staff from Peshawar to Islamabad.
UN Mission in Iraq, the staffers said, is slated to receive a new
manager from New York. Ad Melkert, the Associate Administrator of
UNDP who twice lost out in races for the top job, is reportedly being
sent to Baghdad. As such, he would be rewarded for publicly
disagreeing with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call for public
financial disclosure, and for breaking away from the UN Secretariat's
Ethics Office and what whistleblower protections exist.
UN staffer Solecki returns home, local staff
and red flag not shown
staff union head Dmitry Samaras was present Thursday in the Church
Center across from the UN, at the funeral for former staff member
Joseph Owondo, who died in the crash of the Air France flight from
Brazil to Paris. Owondo's death is a loss: if the UN had more
whistleblowers like him, it would be a better place. Click here for
Inner City Press' previously story on Owondo.
Speaking at his funeral
were Emmanuel Goued, Regis Onanga Ndiaye and Raphael Mbadinga. Samaras
knows where many UNDP skeletons are buried, but what is the
interest in exposing them? From now on, do it for Owondo. The UN is
full of conflicts.