Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Ban and UNICEF Quiet on Uzbek Human Rights, Popov, as Karimov Closes Border

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 15, updated -- As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he's trying to get assistance to Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov, who has closed his border to the ethnic Uzbeks fleeing violence in Kyrgyzstan, it has emerged that Ban never pushed Karimov on human rights, the incarceration of AIDS education activist Maxim Popov, much less on border closing.

  Only last week, the chief of UNAIDS told Inner City Press that Ban had been slated to raise to Karimov, during his trip through Central Asia, the incarceration of Popov based on his UN system funded AIDS education pamphlet. [Note: UNICEF says it was not the funder, but has apparently not sought corrections from AFP, CPJ or IFEX; there are indications that UNDP was the funder.]

  Inner City Press asked Ban's Associate spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban had, in fact, ever raised this issue to Karimov. Haq did not say then, nor since.

  On June 14, Inner City Press asked Ban's top political adviser Lynn Pascoe, who has asked Uzbekistan to open its border? Our focus is on getting humanitarian supplies into Kyrgyzstan, said Pascoe, on his way to Sri Lanka, viewed as another low point in the Ban Ki-moon human rights regime.

UN's Ban dines with Karimovs, Popov and fleeing Uzbeks not invited

  Inner City Press asked UNICEF what it has done for Popov, and to respond to reports that it has let itself be intimidated by Karimov's move to problematic its Tashkent location(s). Days later, UNICEF provided these terse responses:

"'UNICEF's office in Tashkent is being relocated due to a major urban redevelopment. Another site has been identified and UNICEF is finalizing the move with representatives of the Government of Uzbekistan.'

'Here is the answer we received from the UN Country Team on Popov:

"The UN has approached the government to seek clarification about the Popov case. The United Nations Human Rights Council – through its Special Rapporteurs – has engaged with the Government of Uzbekistan in this matter. With a view to ongoing proceedings, the United Nations will refrain from providing any further comments.'"

But Popov's AIDS education brochure was funded by UNICEF. And on the office "relocation," it has been reported that

UNICEF executives, mainly foreigners, will temporarily relocate to other UN offices in Tashkent, but local personnel who were already said to be crowded into inadequate quarters before the order are apparently being sent on a forced vacation for an undetermined period....

Last month during a visit to Central Asia, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited the UNICEF building together with Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, but only for five minutes, and the staff was unable to alert him to the issue of the move... independent observers in Tashkent are concerned that the UN agency could be under some pressure, as other international organizations have been in the past, as they operate in some sensitive areas of human rights and humanitarian affairs.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) are in the midst of a massive innoculation campaign of some 3 million children against polio, and the Uzbek government has closed the border to Tajikistan as 32 polio cases have been confirmed by WHO there. UNICEF has been careful to avoid critical statements of the government, and the state-controlled Uzbek media is not mentioning the campaign.

When a UNICEF grant recipient, HIV/AIDS campaigner Maxim Popov, was sentenced last year in part on allegations of mismanaging donor funds and "corrupting youth" with a sex education book, UNICEF remained silent about his case, despite repeated pleas by human rights groups to speak out. UNICEF, together with PSI (Population Services International) Central Asia, had supported a book Popov distributed on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and the use of birth control.

To be sure, Tashkent has been undergoing a general reconstruction which has sparked public controversy with the removal of century-old sycamore trees from the center of Tashkent and the creation of parks and walkways that some activists have seen as deliberately designed to prevent the gathering of large demonstrations in the public squares. The current UNICEF office building is slated to be replaced by a park

Inner City Press specifically asked UNICEF to respond to the report above, but received in return only two platitudes. Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon has yet to offer anything but "help" to Islam Karimov, even after he closed the borders to ethnic Uzbeks fleeing Kyrgyz violence.

  Again, why would Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov close "his" country's border to fleeing ethnic Uzbeks? Well, some of the Uzbeks in and around Osh fled there after Karimov's crackdown on protesters in Andijon. To ensure that none of them return to Uzbekistan, Karimov is willing to block tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks and leave them in harm's way. And the UN says... nothing. Watch this site.

* * *

As Uzbeks Plead for Safety, UNSC Perm Reps Leave Briefing, No Help on the Way

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 14, updated -- With over 120 killed in Kyrgyzstan and the border to Uzbekistan now closed to those fleeing the violence, the UN Security Council met for a briefing late Monday afternoon. The ethnic Uzbeks, alleging that Kyrgyzstan's government is allowing or assisting in their slaughter, had asked for outside peacekeepers.

But even as the UN briefing started before 6:30 pm, Susan Rice of the US and Gerard Araud of France left the meeting room. Their focus, it was clear, was on the briefing by South Korea, that North Korea sunk its ship Cheonan earlier this year, killing 46 sailors. But what about the more than 120 Uzbeks killing only this weekend?

At 6:45 pm, a departing Council Permanent Representative told Inner City Press "they are just getting started on Kyrgyzstan but I have to leave."

Why would Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov close "his" country's border to fleeing ethnic Uzbeks? Well, some of the Uzbeks in and around Osh fled there after Karimov's crackdown on protesters in Andijon.

UN's Ban dines with Islam Karimov, fleeing ethnic Uzbeks not shown

 To ensure that none of them return to Uzbekistan, Karimov is willing to block tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks and leave them in harms way.

"Never again," the UN and Western Council members often say. But when examples come up, or ever fire drills, the warning are rarely heeded. Watch this site.

Update of 7:18 p.m. -- As Kyrgyzstan meeting lets out, Pascoe rushes out. Inner City Press asks, has anyone asked the Uzbeks to open their border? Pascoe commends Uzbekistan for initial opening, says will try to get them assistance. But what about the border closing? Pascoe leaves.

Update of 7:33 p.m. -- Council President Heller said the members condemn violence. Inner City Press asked, what about the closing of the Uzbek border? Heller: concerned about internationalization, countering on regional organizations. But CSTO will send no peacekeepers. Does the closing of the border KEEP it from being an international issue? Who does that benefit? To be continued.

Update: from the Mexican Mission to the UN's transcription:

Inner City Press: ... Uzbekistan has closed its border and people have tried to flee the violence…

CHeller: There’s an expression I made, I expressed my concern and of other members of the Security Council about the risk of internationalization of the crisis, if there is a border situation with Uzbekistan. That’s why we think it is very important that the UN and other regional organizations have a follow up on this.

Inner City Press But CS[T]O says they’re not sending any troops, they’re only sending logistical support. So is anyone gonna send anyone to that specific region?

CH: I don’t have any information on this.

* * *

Amid Kyrgyz & Uzbek Bloodbath, UN Gave No New Money, Just Along for Ride

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 -- In Kyrgyzstan over 100 people have been killed in the southern region of Osh in what's being described as ethnic violence. 75,000 Uzbeks have fled Kyrgyzstan, making it a cross border threat to international peace and security.

  Central Asia is fraught with water wars and border closings, problems that as Inner City Press has documented, the new United Nations "preventive diplomacy" center in Turkmenistan has done very little to address.

  When interim president (and former UN staffer) Roza Otunbayeva asked Russian President Dmitri Medvedev for military help, he said there was no legal basis to intervene in this "internal matter." Russia took this position as tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Sri Lanka, so what's a hundred Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan?

  Medvedev referred Otunbayeva's request to the Russia dominated regional group Collective Security Treaty Organization, made up of former Soviet republics including Uzbekistan and Belarus, where overthrown President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, is in exile.

Some say that it is Bakiyev, his family and supporters who have stirred up ethnic strife in order to return to power, or to create a diversion from attempts to prosecute Bakiyev for corruption and for killings by security forces during his tenure. There had been a request for UN help with an investigation of and tribunal on Bakiyev, but then no follow through.

Miroslav Jenca of the UN's Regional Center for Preventative Diplomacy announced loudly that the UN would give $12 million for elections in Kyrgyzstan. But when Inner City Press inquired it was told by the UN that

"Further to your Q&A with Martin earlier this week on UNDP/Kyrgyzstan... the $12 million refers to projects already being or to be implemented in the immediate period leading up to elections in order to help address the constitutional crisis facing the country (i.e. constitutional referendum and elections) and to support the country’s most vulnerable groups that are directly affected by the situation - the kind of groups being helped include rural youth, students, women, and unemployed in all provinces of the country."

So it was no new money at all.

UN's Ban and Speaker of Kyrgyz Parliament on violence against women, Uzbeks not shown

 Now on June 13, the UN puts out a statement that

"The Secretary-General said the United Nations was urgently assessing humanitarian aid needs. The Secretary-General and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office agreed their respective special envoys and that of the European Union would coordinate their response to the crisis. The three envoys are either ready in Bishkek or on their way."

So is Jan Kubis there or not? Jenca? And who is talking to Bakiyev? Watch this site.

Footnote: Uzbekistan's Ambassador to the UN, meanwhile, has been most focused on his country's water war with Tajikistan. He recently called Inner City Press aside about a Tajik water event at which, he said, the Tajik government cravenly paid all travel and hotel expenses. We have other questions pending about Uzbekistan, including with UNICEF. Stay tuned.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -