France is Asked about Evictions in Calais and Chad, UN Cuts Off
Questions, Jumps for Kouchner
of UN Jet Fuel Alleged By Congo Ex-Staffer, UN Calls Him Unstable, a
Trend with UN Whistleblowers
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 11 -- In Eastern Congo UN vehicles were used to
transport jet fuel stolen from the UN in Bunia, former UN
member John Dimandja has told Inner City Press, after having
submitted his evidence and photographs to the highest levels of the
the UN to date has been to send New York City Police Department
officers to tell Dimandja to stay away from the UN, after he said he
would step in front of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's vehicle if he
had to in order to deliver his letter.
written, "I keep the pictures of fuel-JA1... the plates of UN
vehicle that transported fuel-Jet-A1 can be identified... MONUC
administration sustained by putting out all those that condemn its
acts of UN fuel Jet-A1 robbery, in this cases MONUC put out some
colleagues from MONUC Bunia security section so that to remove all
traces. The real fuel Jet-A1 robbery managers are supported by MONUC
administration and continue to their work."
that when he arrived in New York after fleeing death threats in the
Congo for his work for the UN disarming militias, he made the UN
aware of these irregularities, but "nothing was done."
written, "UN air crafts Fuel Jet-A1 file is very sensitive, that
continues to put me and my family again in an other insecurity, I am
requesting again the Nations United to assist us by securing my
family, I did not travel to USA with a purpose to accuse MONUC of
its misbehaviors but to save my life as well as of those of my
November 10, a
senior UN official implied to Inner City Press that Mr. Dimandja is
unstable and needs counseling.
Photo of UN plane provided by Mr. Dimandja
We note that the whistleblower about
the UN Development Program's financial irregularities in North Korea
had his photo put in the same "do not let enter" photo
array as Mr. Dimandja is now in. Most recently, in this
whistleblower's case in the UN Dispute Tribunal, he states that the
UN's lawyer said that UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson, who ruled he
was presumptively retaliated against and then denied due process,
would not be "allowed" to testify to the UNDT.
who exposed an e-mail by Alan Doss, the UN's top Congo envoy -- and
Dimandja's boss -- in which Doss asked UNDP to grant him "lee-way"
and hire his daughter for Baroncini's job, after being pepper sprayed
and biting out at Security Officer Peter Kolonias was taken to
Bellevue Hospital to mental observation, and now faces trial in
Criminal Court in lower Manhattan.
is a pattern, then, of the UN describing many recent whistleblowers
as mentally unstable or threatening. We will continue to follow this.
Staffer, Barred from UN, Describes Fuel Thefts, Videos of
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 10 -- Months after the plight of Congolese UN local
staff member John Dimandja was raised to the top levels of the UN,
and the day after Inner City Press wrote
about it, UN Associate
Spokesperson Farhan Haq said first that "we're looking into that
question" then that "the Department of Field Security is
deeply concerned." Video at Minute
7:55 then 10:57.
of November 9,
the UN's concern was that Mr. Dimandja not follow through on his
desperate threat to stand in front of the vehicle of Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon, in order to deliver to him a letter asking that his
family, put in danger by Dimandja's work for the UN, be helped to
escape to safety.
the UN called the New York City Police
Department threats unit on Dimandja. NYPD officers, in front of Inner
City Press, told Dimandja to stay away from the UN.
C. Fernandez of the Threat Assessment Unit suggested to Dimandja that
he try contacting the Congo's Mission to the UN. Dimandja laughed and
said the Congolese government is made up of former militias.
Avenue, Dimandja gave Inner City Press a video tape of his work in
Eastern Congo. It consists of speeches Dimandja gave to groups of
warring ethnic militias, some of whose leaders like Mathieu Ngudjolo
were later indicted for war crimes. (Significantly, Ngudjolo's trial
begins November 24 along with Germain Katanga's at the International
Criminal Court in The Hague.)
That Dimandja had filmed these defendants led to death threats
against him and his family, he says.
he witnessed international UN staff engaged in theft and re-sale of
airplane fuel in the Congo. He surmises, and told the NYPD officers,
that this and other knowledge led some in the UN to refuse him
protection, even to wish him harm.
when he fled to
New York to ask the UN for help, he was given the run around, told to
come back in a week for appointments when he had nowhere to stay.
Only is desperation did he write to Ban Ki-moon, and this resulted in
his photo being put in an array of mugshots of people not to be let
into the UN complex. On November 10, Dimandja asked that this be
Mr. Dimandja's UN i.d. card, protection from death
threats not shown
10, after Inner City Press' story and questions at the day's UN noon
briefing, Dimandja received a call from the Administrative Office of
the UN's Division of Safety and Security Services Joseph Martella.
Inner City Press, meanwhile, asked the head of the Department of
Field Support Susana Malcorra about Dimandja's case. She said it is
sensitive, and seemed to gently imply some instability of Dimandja's
part. But who wouldn't be?
the role of the UN Mission in the Congo, headed by Alan Doss. One
wonders why the Office of Internal Oversight Services, which Dimandja
first approached, has not acted on the theft of airplane fuel. One
wonders at the different treatment the UN gives to its international
versus national staff. Will
Mr. Dimandja's family be offered protection? The UN has promised
answers. Watch this site.
* * *
Calls NYPD On Congo Staffer They Used Against Rebels, "UN Put My
Family in Danger"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 9 -- While the UN Security
consultations Monday about its peacekeeping mission's involvement in
the armed conflict between rebel groups and the Congolese Army, a
related but more personal drama played out just outside the UN on
UN summoned New
York City police officers to deal with John Dimandja Wembalonge. John
Fernandez of the NYPD's Threat Assessment Unit counseled Mr. Dimandja
to "stay away from the UN," following an e-mail Dimandja
had sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reproduced in full below.
and related correspondence to the UN, Dimandja explained
that he was a national staff member of the UN Mission in the Congo
who had fled death threats after helping the UN disarm rebels in
Ituri in Eastern Congo.
family remains in the region at risk. "The UN is doing nothing,"
Dimandja told Inner City Press on First Avenue on Monday night. He
said that the chief of the UN's Department of Field Services Susana
Malcorra had, though an intermediary named Cedrick, told him to bring
in his internal UN employment file, called at PHP, that perhaps a job
could be found for him in New York and then his family brought.
that will be too late," Dimandja told Inner City Press, and
Dimandja, while working for the UN in Ituri he was sent in to meeting
of Lendu militias to convince them to disarm..Dimandja took pictures
and video, and had, he says, much success in disarmament. But when
militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo was indicted for war crimes, Dimandja's
video footage put him in danger.
trying to kill anyone who had taken pictures," he told Inner
City Press. Who? "The militias had become soldiers in the
Congolese Army," he said. It was the same government soldiers
who the UN assists who were trying to kill him.
UN disarmament meeting in Ituri, protection
of UN national staff not shown
says a UN
official, Philip Toulet, advised him to pay a bribe to Congolese
police, and to get
paperwork to flee to the U.S. and seek asylum. He arrived in New
York a year ago, and went straight to UN headquarters. He says the UN
Office of Internal Oversight Services, ostensibly in charge of
investigations, referred him to the staff counsel. He got nowhere,
and lacking the funds to stay in New York City, he went upstate to
Rochester for three months.
in New York, he has sought to meet with Ban Ki-moon. But his e-mails,
culminating in a threat to step in front of Ban's motorcade, resulted
only in interventions by NYPD. "Stay away from the UN,"
Officer Fernandez advised him Monday night. "Perhaps this
gentleman can help you." Here's hoping.
Some of Dimandja's e-mails
Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:51 PM
Ban Ki-moon, Susana Malcorra, DSG Migiro
Mr. Secretary General
afternoon, I am John Dimandja UN staff from MONUC, I would like to
bring up to your attention that I have not a way to contact you due
to multiple obstructions on your way, have prevented me to meet with
you, and the New York local police is already informed about the plan
that I am going to make very soon for meeting you.
Sir, I am going to stop your vehicle everywhere I can, in way to put
myself in contact with you, it will appear like a terrorist act but I
am not a terrorist I am UN staff's member who is looking for a very
reason I am writing this mail to you is to inform you in advance that
this will surely happen, you are kindly recommended to inform your
security body about it, if they gunshot on me believe that you kill
your own staff member, please be advised that this E-mail is copied
to the local police of New York City in charge of the UN premises
security (17 precinct community affairs New York, NY 10022) The way
to avoid this sad event is to respond promptly to my request of
would like again to inform you, Mr. Secretary General that my family
is living day after day in a permanent danger and in fear of death
because the community of rebels that wanted to kill me had his base
in UGANDA this is the reason why my family is hidden in UGANDA.
am expecting to hear very soon from you
* * *
UN, Obasanjo Brags of Deadly Kimia II, LRA Not in Mandate, Mountain
in the Dusk
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 9 -- Only days after human rights groups
documented hundreds of killings of civilians by the UN-assisted
Congolese Army as part of Operation Kimia II, former Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo told the Security Council that "Operation
Kimia II is achieving reasonable success."
meeting, Inner City Press asked Obasanjo how this squares with the
killed civilians, which had so far led even the UN Mission in the
Congo to say it is suspending work with elements of the 213th
Brigade, for the killing of 62 civilians.
you what people told us," Obasanjo said, "operation versus
the FDLR is welcome."
about the 600
civilians who have been killed by the Congolese Army, documented by
Human Rights Watch? Obansanjo, rather than disputing the number,
played the ad hoc democracy card. "If the Congolese people says
its necessary, why should I say to MONUC, or to anyone else for that
matter, that what the Congolese people want they shouldn't get?"
from Minute 7:19.
that popular will trumps or supports the killing of civilians, Inner
City Press asked what Obasanjo's report was based on: a poll? "I
was there," Obasanjo said, as a staffer gestured for the
stakeout microphone to be taken away from Inner City Press.
even inside UN headquarters, walked surrounded by bodyguards and
entourage, it's difficult to imagine him conducting a scientific man
and woman on the street poll in the Kivus. But as they say, you hear
what you want to hear. Obasanjo is stepping back from his UN Great
Lakes gig. We will follow his next moves.
Obasanjo at UN on Nov. 9, dead civilians and LRA not shown
he left, Inner
City Press asked, "What about the LRA," Lord's Resistance
Army? Video here,
from Minute 11:08. "The LRA is not part
of my mandate," Obasanjo said,
even though the Great Lakes include Uganda. If you design a mandate
narrowly enough, success is not so difficult. Many say -- another
scientific poll -- that Presidents Kabila and Kagame would have spoken
anyway. But for Obasanjo, next stop: Mo Ibrahim
Council president Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria read out a press
statement congratulating Obasanjo, as well as MONUC. Inner City Press
asked about the 600 dead civilians, and the report by MSF that the
Congolese Army used them as bait to attack civilians. Video here,
from Minute 1:58. He referred to
the press statement on the first, and said he hasn't seen reports of
the second. We trust he will.
When Inner City Press asked UN Spokesperson Michele Montas about the
MSF as bait story, she didn't answer, except to say that outgoing
MONUC deputy Ross Mountain would be in town this week and should
answer questions. Mountain was seen in the dusk outside the UN on
Monday night. When will the questions be answered?
* * *
UN, Congo Says All or Nothing, Silence on MSF "Bait"
Accusation, New P-5ers
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 9 -- While the UN Mission in the Congo will stop
assisting some units of Congo's 213th Brigade because they killed 62
civilians, according to top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy, evidence
mounts of far more extensive murder by other brigades and units of
the Congolese army.
Inner City Press on November 5 asked the DRC's Ambassador to the UN
Atoki Ileka what he thought of Le Roy's announcement. Ambassador
Ikeka turned the question around, asking "how can you work with
only parts of an army?"
noted to him that this was similar to Human Rights Watch's position,
that MONUC should stop working with the Congolese Army as a whole, at
least as regards the Kimia II operation. Yes, Ambassador Ileka said,
on that we have the same position. Only at the UN.
standing outside the UN General Assembly after the debate and vote on
the Goldstone report on Gaza, Ambassador Ileka told Inner City Press, Alan Doss, he has his own problems, I'm
going to add to them.
the November 6
noon briefing, Inner City Press asked
City Press: Medecins sans frontieres has said in great detail that a
vaccination campaign they conducted in October in FDLR-control areas
of [the Democratic Republic of] the Congo was used as “bait” --
that is the word they used. So that FARDC [the Congolese Armed
Forces] attacked the vaccination sites, killed some civilians and
sent others into the bush. It’s such a graphic allegation on their
part, I’m wondering what is MONUC -- is this a unit MONUC works
with? Does MONUC deny that it happened? What’s MONUC going to do
Michele Montas: I’m going to get more information -- in fact, we
are going to have someone from [MONUC] coming to brief you on the
Congo shortly. Mr. Ross Mountain [Deputy Special Representative of
the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo] is
supposed to come next week and he will be briefing you on the Congo,
so I would suggest that you ask him the questions.
immanently leave the MONUC mission, and more and more people say Alan
Doss should. Is there accountability in the UN system?
In DRC, Obasanjo arrives, FARDC civilian abuse not shown
former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo strode into the Security
Council with an entourage, to brief about the Great Lakes region: how
many trip to how many heads of state. Some mused that one of his last
times at the UN, he was
about his role in now controversial Chinese infrastructure deals in
Nigeria, if that gave him a conflict in deal with Congo's similar
although now somewhat shrunken -- deal. Didn't he get mad? a
correspondent asked Inner City Press, the poser of the Chinese
dealing question. He should have seen it coming. And this time? Watch
footnotes, or bookends: The grandly named new UK Permanent
Representative, Ambassador Mark Lyall "No Hyphen" Grant, is
said to have arrived in New York "at the weekend." He will
get accredited, some face time with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
and then assume his position in the Council. There are some hoping he's
adopt a less exclusive approach, at least to the media, than those
France's Gerard Araud,
who's said in French-only briefings to rebuff questions about poverty
and spending, for
example Sarkozy's on his EU Presidency stint, is still settling in.
And so Russia, with the longest serving Ambassador, and China, which
reportedly blocked consensus on the most recent Sudan sanctions
report, will some say have the P-5 upper hand for a while. We'll see.
* * *
Security Phase Confusion in Af-Pak Shown at Stakeout, Ban and Nambiar
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 6 -- In a press encounter that ended in disarray,
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called the UN security
threat level in Afghanistan confidential, despite it being public in
Pakistan, and then described the reclassification, renovation and
vacating of various guest houses in Kabul.
His chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar rushed to the stakeout and gestured to spokesperson Michele
Montas to end it. Mr. Nambiar then told Inner City Press, we can't
tell them how to attack us.
emphasized the UN is not abandoning Afghanistan, that it cannot
curtail its development efforts there. Inner City Press asked about
northwest Pakistan, where the UN country office issued a press
release putting the threat level at Phase IV and suspending UN
development activities, and asked what the Phase is in Afghanistan.
from Minute 6:42.
Ban said that
security phases are "determined by DSS" [the Department of
Safety and Security] "after evaluating all situations." He
said it "needs not to be known publicly."
asked if there isn't a conflict of interest, like in Algeria before
the UN was bombed there, in which host countries doesn't want the UN
Security Phase raised, even if it's needed. Mr. Ban acknowledged that
this is "very sensitive," that host countries don't like
the level raised because it could effect "national prestige"
and "socio economic activities." He said, however, that the
UN sets its levels objectively.
asked, in light of the UN's pulling out of Iraq after the bombing of
its Canal Hotel headquarters, what are the "red lines" that
would trigger a pull out from Afghanistan. Mr. Ban began to answer.
Inner City Press remarked to a diplomat at the stakeout, yeah, tell
the Taliban what it would take for the UN to leave.
as Mr. Ban
was describing the categorization of the UN's 93 guest houses into
those to be closed and those to be brought to "MOSS"
standards, Mr. Nambiar rushed back to the stakeout and gestured that
this should stop. Some thought this was because of Ban's next
appointment, with his advisory group of businesses on the
environment. But Mr. Nambiar explained, we cannot tell them how to
UN's Ban and Nambiar leave Council,
divergence on disclosure not yet shown
statement was at the stakeout, with no mention of being off the
record or on background, some have since tried to say this was
implicit. For this reason, Inner City Press is not using the direct
quote. But in fact, it is not surprising that even the UN's 38th
floor would have divergent views on how much to disclose. Both
positions in this case could be defended. And
reporting these facts is to show how the UN actually functions.
asked this month's Security Council president, Austria's Thomas
Mayr-Harting, if Mr. Ban had told the Council in its consultations
what the UN Security Phase is in Afghanistan. He said he would rather
not "get into the details." Video here.
remarked to Inner City Press that "it is easy enough to learn
the UN Security Phase." But why then be so secretive? In fact,
Inner City Press is informed that the Phase in Afghanistan, even
after the killing of five UN staff in a commando style raid by the
Taliban, was kept at Phase III, while it was raised to Phase IV in
Pakistan. Is this objective? Watch this site.
* * *
Report Buries Its Icesave Conditionality, Enforcer's Duplicity?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 3 -- While the IMF has acknowledged that its second
round of disbursements to crisis-hit Iceland was delayed for months
by the country's failure to placate those in the Netherlands and UK
who did business with IceSave, the IMF's just released report on
Iceland buries the issue on page 30 of the 98 page report. The IMF
terms and conditions of Nordic loans, amounting to $2.5 billion, have
been finalized. Their disbursement has been linked to resolution of
the Icesave dispute with the U.K. and Netherlands over deposit
insurance liabilities. After protracted discussions, the three
governments have reached an agreement on this"
agreement was reached, on October 18, the IMF then went forward with
a letter of intent and memorandum of understanding for the second
tranche of financing. But, as with the IMF's moves in Latvia for
Swedish banks, some see the Fund operating as an enforcement or
collections agent for creditors who even less would like to show
Iceland / Icesave protest, but is the heartfelt sign true?
the IMF does
not like to admit or reveal its degree of control over the countries
it lends to, the de facto conditions for loans, such as paying off on
IceSave, are often not explicit in what purport to be full agreements
containing all express and implied terms.
fact, the IMF
has claimed that it "no longer" engages in conditionality.
But the Iceland report has an entire chart about conditionalities.
It's just that the most important one was left unsaid. Is this
diplomacy or duplicity?
report continues, about other loan requests including from Russia:
loan from the Faroe Islands ($50 million) has already disbursed, and
a loan from Poland has been agreed ($200 million), and will disburse
alongside the next 3 program reviews. A $500 million loan originally
committed by Russia is no longer expected, but the $250 million in
over-financing in the original program, an expected
macro-stabilization loan from the EU ($150 million), and use of an
existing repo facility with the BIS ($700 million, of which $214
million is outstanding) will more than offset this."
Offset may be the right
word. Last year, in the midst of Iceland's abortive run for a seat on
the UN Security Council, the country announced it had to seek a $4
billion loan from Russia. It was after that that the IMF loan
commitment was made -- an "offset," some saw it -- and
after talks in Istanbul, on October 15 the already whittled down loan
request to Russia was formally rejected.
Then the deal
with the UK
and Netherlands, and the IMF's releasing. While the IMF calls these
types of moves only technical, others call them power politics. Watch
* * *
Plays Ukraine, Zim and Pakistan As "Technical" Questions,
Pushes Tax Hikes in Serbia
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 22 -- Are the International Monetary Fund's
negotiations with countries about the level of taxes and salaries for
public sector employees, the pricing of electricity and the
privatization of social services political, or merely "economic
and technical"? The questions arose Thursday in connection with
Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Pakistan, among others, in the IMF's first
press briefing since its annual meeting in Turkey.
Caroline Atkinson fielded questions for half an hour, leaving
unanswered one submitted by Inner City Press about Serbia, where the IMF's
Paul Thompson has been quoted that "if the Serbian
delegation has a concrete pan for decreasing expenses, we will
support it, if not, they
will have to agree with us and think about
increasing taxes." Left unanswered: how is raising taxes merely
respond to Inner City Press' questions about Ukraine, Zimbabwe and
Pakistan. While a full transcript is available online here,
and video here,
in sum the Q & A went as follows:
City Press asked, In Ukraine, the opposition party is critical of the
IMF as funding the campaign of Tymoshenko. What is the IMF's response
to the opposition's criticism? Ms. Atkinson replied that IMF funds go
to the central bank, and that the IMF has a team on the ground in
Kiev for a third review.
not, it seems, saying that money from the IMF is being used by
Tymoshenko for advertisements or to pay poll workers, but rather "MP
and opposition government's finance minister, Mykola Azarov, said
this at a meeting with delegates of an IMF mission, 'We must say that
the program of cooperation with the IMF has turned out to be
ineffective, and nothing is left but to consider the IMF's
as politically motivated, as funding of one of the candidates running
for the presidency.'"
reporter asked a follow up question about Ukraine, wondering if with
the IMF mission on the ground, the upcoming election "is an
issue," Ms. Atkinson said the IMF does not comment while a
mission is in the field, negotiating a program, but that information
-- and one hopes some questions and answers -- will be provided once
the mission is completed
IMF points the way, in budgets... and politics?
City Press asked, "NGOs are critical of the IMF for, they say,
pushing Zimbabwe to privatize its social services system. Has the IMF
pushed for that, and how does it respond to the criticism?" Ms.
Aktinson, while saying she can get back to Inner City Press with more
information, argued that the IMF does not favor or disfavor
particular privatizations, but must be pushing to strengthen the
social service sector to help the poor.
ahead of civil society's consultative meeting with an IMF team under
Article IV of the Fund's Articles of Agreement, NANGO said
are opposed to some IMF polices such as privatization of basic social
services. We know it from the past that some IMF policies have worked
against people in this country. They have affected the social
services sector and their polices are anti-people and negative'...
[NANGO] said some of the IMF instigated polices which had brought
suffering to the people were the Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP) and Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social
Transformation (ZIMPREST)." It's a pretty specific critique,
and we'll publish the IMF's response upon receipt.
Inner City Press' questions and article from August 2009, it asked
"in Pakistan, the IMF in August extended for a year the
country's time to eliminate electricity subsidies. Now, while the
says 2 price increases will be implemented, others say this is not
possible politically. What is the IMF's thinking on consumer power
pricing in Pakistan?"
replied that "as I believe you know, the issue of issue of
electric subsidy is typically done by the World Bank and Asian
Development Bank," that IMF gets involved due to the budget."we
will be having another review of the Pakistan program in early
November." We'll be there....
* * *
Food Speculation, UN's Expert Says Nothing's Being Done, S. Korean Land
Grabs from Madagascar to Sudan, Brazil on Ethanol
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 21 -- After many speeches at the UN about the need
to crack down on financial speculation in food, nothing has been
done, the UN's expert on the right to food told Inner City Press on
Olivier de Schutter, a Belgian law professor just back
from a visit to Brazil about, among other things, the loss of land
for food to ethanol, replied that "nothing is moving at the
inter-governmental level." This despite a statement by the G-20
in April favoring the regulation of hedge funds which present
systemic risk. The argument is that commodities index funds which
speculate in food present systemic risk to net food importing
countries. But nothing has been done.
about the monopolization of the seed industry, and made a slew of
recommendations for governments. The three top monopolizers --
Monsanto, Dupont and the Swiss-based Syngenta -- are all members of
the UN Global Compact, and claim to comply with human rights. De
Schutter pointed out the antitrust law is directed as national and
not global or subnational markets. It is all very heady but one
wonders what effect it has.
one of de Schutter's claims to impact. He spoke glowingly of
President Lula, saying that Brazil has said that only 19% of land can
be used for sugar cane for ethanol, and has committed to monitor
labor rights. But what about, for example, Indonesia and Malaysia?
De Schutter, action on food speculation not shown
Schutter's briefing, Inner City Press asked his staffer for an update
on the proposed land grab in Madagascar by South Korea based Daewoo,
which was reputed after the coup in that country. De Schutter had
been scheduled to visit, but it was put off by the coup. The same
thing happened in Honduras. So perhaps De Schutter does have an
effect after all, mused one wag.
immediately after De Schutter's briefing, the UN's Haile Menkerios
was scheduled to speak to the Press about Madagascar. While the UN
usually compartmentalizes its work such that a rapporteur looks at
land grabs, while the Secretariat remains on "political affairs"
narrowly defined, this land grab played a role in the change of
government. Now it's said the South Korean deal is being pursued from
India, while South Korea appears to have moved on to 690,000 hectares
in Sudan. Watch this site.
* * *
Indigenous Expert Stymied in Russia, Does Not Engage in Myanmar, Will
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 19 -- Russia blocked the UN's expert on the rights
of indigenous people from visiting the site slated
for the Evenki dam
in Krasnoyarsk Territory, it emerged at the UN on Monday.
Press asked James Anaya, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation
of human rights and fundamental freedom of indigenous people, if he
had in fact been allowed to visit the site. The Russian
quoted Igor Kurtushin, deputy head of the territorial
administration’s department for external relations that "it
would not be easy to visit the Evenki sites due to peculiar weather
asked if Anaya had visit the contested
site, from which indigenous people would be evicted. No, he said,
in the agenda we were able to negotiate. Video here,
this, in fact,
due to the weather, Inner City Press followed up. "The weather
was good was I was there," Anaya answered, describing two
flights in Krasnoyarsk and an outdoor meal of reindeer parts. Video here,
from Minute 36:29.
contrasted to Panama, where the government allowed Anaya to visit the
site of a proposed dam. When Inner City Press asked about Ecuador and
conflicts there, Anaya said he is going in December, invited by the
seems too accommodating of governments. When Inner City Press asked
about Canada's refusal to sign on to the Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous People, Anaya said Canada is moving in the right
direction, that he doesn't criticize countries if there is the
"possibility" of movement.
Inner City Press asked about the position of Botswana that nearly all
people there are indigenous, Anaya responded that he hadn't seen a
need to contest this position during his recent visit there. Given
that the position almost derailed the Declaration, it seems strange
to some to be so accommodative of it now.
Reindeer, UN's Anaya and Russia permit to visit not shown
it is to and
within the UN system that Anaya is most accommodative. Inner City
Press asked about the UN's REDD program, which was protested earlier
this month. Anaya said that the UN agencies want to address
indigenous issues. When Inner City Press asked about indigenous
people in Myanmar, Anaya responded that since there is another
rapporteur on Myanmar, he does not engage in Myanmar. Video here,
from Minute 49:22.
deference is not required: for example, the UN's expert on children
and armed conflict engages with Myanmar, rather than deferring.
Particularly given the issues that have arisen about the UN's special
rapporteur on Myanmar, for Anaya to say he'll do nothing in or about
the country ill-served indigenous people. Watch this site.
* * *
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 19 -- In his first media availability at the UN, new
French Ambassador Gerard Araud marked the International Day for the
Eradication of Poverty with a press conference on October 19.
City Press asked Ambassador Araud about his country's eviction of
immigrants from a camp near Calais last month, about the drowning of
residents of the Comoros trying to get to the French island of
Mayotte, and about mass
evictions in the capital of Chad, where the Idriss Deby government
receives substantial French support. Video here,
from Minute 25:32.
said immigration is an issues throughout the developed world, quickly
equating the drowning of those seeking to get to Mayotte with deaths
of African in the Mediterranean.
He said that
of the camp was because immigration should be restricted to that
which is legal, so that Europeans don't "become violent."
He said it was fair to be critical, he has seen such criticism of
U.S. policies as well, but these countries are democracies.
"answering about Chad is the easiest," and then proceeded
to say that his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the moment he got
the post, took in the lead is setting up peacekeeping mission in
Eastern Chad, first through the European Union and then the UN.
question was cut off by the UN's moderator, Rachel Mayanja. She said,
"before we proceed... I am surprised none of you want to take
advantage" of the boy on the panel, from Dominica, to "expose
his journey." Video here,
from Minute 31:55. But she had begun
by saying that the youth would be accompanied by a chaperrone from
ChildFund Caribbean, who was not on the podium.
compliant correspondent dutifully asked the boy about photography --
ChildFund saved him from being a criminal, he equally dutifully said
-- Inner City Press asked Ambassador Araud about the evictions done
by French ally Idriss Deby, did he have any answer? He shook his head
no. And the press conference was over. Video here,
from Minute 34:49.
the French journalists opined that Ms. Mayanja may have been trying
to protect or please France, a Permanent Five member of the Security
Council, by shifting from questions about France's record to what she
wanted journalists to ask and write about. This has become more
prevalent at the UN.
France's Gerard Araud at the UN on Monday,
Chad eviction answers not shown
note that Ms.
Mayanja's cutting off of questions cannot necessarily be ascribed to
Araud. The UN may offer protection where none is even requested. If
Ms. Mayanja wanted to play up the boy's story, why have him appear at
the French Ambassador's first press conference?
told Inner City Press that Bernard Kouchner called Ban Ki-moon
recently and told him the UN should launch an investigation of the
recent killing of some 150 protesters in Guinea Conakry. Ban did just
that; when Inner City Press asked, his spokesman said that it was at
the request of ECOWAS. But why didn't the UN launch any inquiry into
the tens of thousands of civilians killed in Sri Lanka earlier this
as the UN on
Monday sought to limit questions to the right kind of poverty, it
will only investigate the killings of the right victims: it all
depends on who the perpetrator is, and who provides protection.
also on the Chad evictions, Inner City Press asked this question last
week to Habitat's New York representative, and for an update on what
if anything Habitat did to follow up on supposed commitments by
Angola not to continue evictions. Video here.
A response was promised, but has
not been received. What was that again, about eradicating poverty?
* * *
UN, Iran's Mottaki Says Protesters Are Dealt With, Nuclear Sites All
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 1 -- In Iran "there are some people, a limited
number of people, who look for trouble and want to create unreal,"
Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Press on
Thursday. "It is very clear how they should be dealt with."
from Minute 31:55.
session at the UN in New York, nearly all of which dealt with nuclear
issues, Inner City Press asked Mottaki about a story of
torture, rape and exile, which Inner City Press heard from Ebrahim
Sharifi by cell phone on September 21. Sharifi states that he
the non violent street protests then was picked up, blindfolded and
held for a week.
asked Mottaki if he acknowledged the veracity of any such charges, if
people can file complaints in Iran and what he thinks of the call for
a UN General Assembly special envoy to Iran on human rights issues.
from Minute 25:43, Mottaki's
reponse here from Minute
five minute answer became with calling the June elections "the
most glorious presidential elections in the history of the Islamic
Republic of Iran." Mottaki claimed the skeptics, once they
received an explanation, were convinced. This left a few trouble
makers -- "it is very clear how they should be dealt with."
UN's Ban, Ahmadinejad, Motakki and Zarif, pre election violence
Iran has vibrant NGOs, which rather than complain in Geneva to the
Human Rights Council come to the UN in New York to participate in
workshops about the rights on women.
program, Mottaki said that other than Qom, there are no other sites
not reported to the IAEA. The press conference ended with a report
for a newspaper in Israel calling for the floor, without receiving
it. He was told by the UN's spokesperson that the UN is an
"inter-governmental body... we cannot do anything about what
member states do." Apparently not.
before traveling to DC, wiled away the evening of September 29 at
Indonesia's Independence Day celebration in the UN Delegates' Dining
Room. There were satays, rice and noodles. One attending, chewing,
snarked that at such receptions, the quality of the food is in inverse
proportion to the amount of democracy in the hosting nation.
Inner City Press has previously written about, and
kebab diplomacy, click here for that. Seven thousand years of
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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