Uzbek Human Rights, UN Won't Compare, Sting Sings, But Not For UNICEF
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 29 -- When the UN's Human Rights Committee reviews the
record of a country like Uzbekistan, of what value is it? Uzbekistan
persecutes political opponents and religious minorities: for example,
it has locked up a UNICEF-funded AIDS activist by calling his
week Inner City Press asked Committee members if Uzbekistan's record
was getting better or worse. "That's not the way we address it,"
replied Krister Thelin, a Swedish member of the Committee. "I
will not engage at this time in any grading exercise. I hope you can
respect that." Video here,
from Minute 32:43.
Uzbekistan's record better or worse than New Zealand, which was also
being reported on? We don't compare, was the answer, along with a coy
pointing to the fact that Uzbekistan has been asked to report again
in three years, while New Zealand has been given five years, the "top
it's this garbled or non-speak which for example allowed former
Police bassist Sting to recently take money to play a concert for the
daughter of Uzbek strongman Islam Karimov.
Krister Thelin at UN, comparison of Uzbekistan and
NZ not shown
When confronted, Sting
said he thought
the concert was "sponsored by UNICEF."
Inner City Press asked UNICEF spokesman Chris de Bono, twice, and
both times was told the UNICEF had nothing to do with Ms. Karimova's
concert featuring Sting.
so little said at the press conference, one had to go back to the
UN's own write up of the Committee's proceedings on Uzbekistan.
Therein, at page 9, one finds the blissfully unaware comments of one
"Hellen Keller" of Switzerland who "said she was
particularly impressed by the blue booklet the delegation had
provided to the Committee." You might ask, how did she know it
was blue? Or, what would have has thought of the requirment by
neighboring Turkmenistan that all children read the leader's book,
* * *
Omitted From UN Study of Internet Access by ITU, No Comment on
Cuba, Dissident's Death
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 24 -- Access to the Internet in 161 countries was
compared by the UN's International Telecommunications Union in a
recent report, Measuring the Information Society 2010. Inner City
Press asked ITU's Susan Teltscher whether her agency considered the
quality and content of the internet provided -- that is, censorship
-- noting the exclusion from the final data tables of such countries
as Turkmenistan, Cuba and North Korea.
that ITU did not consider internet censorship. Why not? It "cannot
be captured in statistics," she replied. Video here,
some, any UN
study of access to the Internet should take into account the
varieties of Internet censorship, from China's Great Firewall to more
total bans in countries like North Korea. The press conference's
moderator, ITU's New York representative, said that the ITU like the
rest of the UN system supports Article 19, on access to information
across frontiers in all media.
Ki-moon's two envoys Lynn Pascoe and Kim Won-soo recently visited
Pyongyang, they did not even raise the issue of press and internet
freedom. Click here
for that story. Likewise, in November 2009 when
protesters raised a banner about China's net blocking at a UN
conference in Egypt, UN security removed the banner. Click here
for that story.
that someone study the pricing of Internet access. But an entirely
amoral investment bank could do that, as a business proposition. For
the UN to fail to include some measure or mention of censorship in
its more than 100 page study of
ITU's Susan Teltscher on Feb. 23, internet
censorship not shown
while Cuba was omitted from the ITU final tables, on February 24 UN spokesman
Martin Nesirky was asked:
On Cuba, yesterday, a Cuban political prisoner called Orlando Zapata
Tamayo died after 85 days on hunger strike in prison. And people in
Cuba and Latin America in general are very shocked by this event and
they consider it as a clear human rights violation. My question is,
does the UN have a comment on this issue or will have a comment on
Nesirky: The Secretary-General is aware of the case. We don’t
have anything to say at the moment. But he is aware of the case. We
don’t have anything to say at the moment.
But will you say something?
Nesirky: I said he doesn’t have anything to say at the moment
Zapata Tamayo is dead. Even Raul Castro has "lamented" it. But the UN's
Ban Ki-moon is aware but silent.