At UN, Exclusion of
Press Still Unaddressed, Nepal and Impunity Questions Unanswered
Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
4 -- While cleaning up BAN
Ki-moon's Austria-over-Iceland mess, the UN
Office this week dodged questions on Nepal, impunity, visas, staff
plans, Somalia and Afghanistan, among others. While we'll review it
we'll begin with a failure to follow-up, on the exclusion
of the press from the
General Assembly's Committee on Relations with the Host Country.
Back on April
24, the spokesman for the President
the GA was asked of the Chairman of
that committee, "Could he be a guest at noon? Is
there some formal way we could actually have
an answer to these questions?"
Spokesman said, "I'll certainly convey that,
see where it goes."
on May 1 he was
asked "Have you invited the Ambassador of Cyprus to come? I spoke to
Mission and they said, if they're invited by you, they'll come."
Despite the April 24 certainty, on May 1 he said, "I have not
talked to them because I left it up to you to approach the Chair (of
Committee). But if you insist, I will convey this message."
Yes. Especially on World Press
On Tuesday, April
29, Inner City Press asked "there’s a report of a petition given to the
UN's Human Rights Office in Kathmandu... Are you aware of that? And
UN going to do about it?
Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe answered,
"I'm not aware of the petition, but we can look into that for you as
well." But five days later, no response at all was received.
BAN in Vienna with Austrian officials, Iceland
is far away,
but UN Headquarters’ attempts like many U.S. corporations to cut back
employees' health benefits is an issue on which the Spokesperson’s
presumably get an answer easily. But the question was dodged two days
in a row.
On Headquarters' award of visa status and
City Press asked, "Is there a
list -- I know I've asked
this before -- a list of the dollar-a-year and the individuals that
still have G-4
visa status and immunity? There seems that there's kind of a murky
people that seem to be gone from the system but are still benefiting
Marie Okabe answered, "I don't know if it's available, but I'll look into
it for you."
But days later, there was no response. And so
it goes at the UN.
On May 1, Canadian
minister Chuck Strahl gave a briefing about how much his country is
indigenous people, despite what attendees at the Permanent Forum on
Issues were saying. "No one can question our commitment," Strahl
said. Oh but they do, Inner City Press
in the briefing's first question, asking for an explanation of Canada's
to the Declaration and to similar moves in the Organization of American
was not easy to understand, and when it was pointed out that several
chiefs were confined to watching Strahl's claims from outside the
room, Inner City Press headed out to join them. A day later in the
the Forum ended with some grumbling about those who had wanted to but
permitted to speak.
* * *
Beyond the daily sturm
und drang, we note with
sadness the passing of the point-man on the UN Declaration of the
People with Disabilities, Thomas Schindlmayr. When last we
his needed work, he was "taking the high road" and promoting
implementation of the Declaration. Article and photo here,
He will be missed.
* * *
These reports are
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
here 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 National
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA
Reporter's mobile (and weekends):
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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