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UN Rights Office Ignores Critical Questions and UN Disparities, Demands Public Funds

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 – How UNaccountable and arrogant has the UN system become? Consider today the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Under Commissioner Prince Zeid and his spokesperson Rupert Colville, it has become known for retaliation against whistleblowers and for hypocrisy, both on display this month.

  After chasing out of the UN Anders Kompass who exposed the rape of children in the Central African Republic by French "peacekeepers" and Miranda Brown, Zeid next retaliated against staff member Emma Reilly. Inner City Press covered the story and was nearly immediately condemned, along with the DC-based Government Accountability Project, in a tweet and press releases by Zeid's spokesperson Colville, who never responded to a simple question.

  On February 14, Inner City Press sent Colville questions about OHCHR's ongoing gagging of Ms. Reilly, and about Colville's refusal to answer a simple question from Human Rights Voices:

"Hi. Inner City Press has a few questions it'd like answers to as soon as possible: whistleblower Emma Reilly tells us that “OHCHR now claims I can't speak because of the staff rule that 'in no circumstances should [staff members] use the media to further their own interests, to air their own grievances, to reveal unauthorized information or to attempt to influence their organizations’ policy decisions.' No response to my email on how this squares with OHCHR airing grievances against me by falsely stating my claims had been found to be unsubstantiated.” Is that in fact OHCHR's position?

In terms of OHCHR calling things unsubstantiated, on social media and in a press release, is OHCHR denying that the Ambassador of Morocco financial supported the sale of Mr Eric Tistounet's book?

Finally, for now, to understand OHCHR's communications strategy etc, is it true that you refused to answer a question from Human Rights Voice's Anne Bayefsky and told her, “You distort so much I'm not interested”?

Relatedly, please state what happened at the HRC organizational meeting yesterday, with regarding to the settlements-related list and otherwise. Please answer these asap. Thank you."

  Not only did Colville, a UN spokesperson well paid with public funds, not answer any of these questions before the February 14 noon briefing they were posed in advance of (and at which rankly unprofessional deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called Inner City Press an "obsessive" a*hole) - now the next day, past noon in Geneva, Colville still hasn't answered a single question.

  Meanwhile Zeid has today asked the public for over $250 million dollars.

   In 2016 when Inner City Press was physically evicted (and remains restricted) at the UN as it covered UN corruption since confirmed in two prosecutions in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, including against just-left UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's brother and nephew, nothing was done by "UN Human Rights" commissioner Zeid, nor his then New York deputy Ivan Simonovic, nor his new murkily promoted NY deputy. The official who ordered the eviction Cristina Gallach without once speaking to Inner City Press, and no appeal, remains in place, with virtue-signaling tweets about human rights.

  This hypocrisy ranges from communications -- yesterday OHCRC condemned a "smear campaign" on social media against the UN in Guatemala, while smearing their own gagged staffer Emma Reilly on Twitter -- to the killing of civilians. Zeid and Colville has correctly called on the DR Congo to investigate its army's killing of civilians, while saying nothing about UN Peacekeeping's use of helicopter gunship to kill three civilians, and one combatant, in the Central African Republic. On February 14 France, which has controlled UN Peacekeeping four times in a row, for twenty years, was given the Department yet again, in the person of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, while US holdover Jeffrey Feltman was extended for more than one year. This is today's UN. Watch this site.


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