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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Haq of Cameroon Germany Mali Uganda Egypt Censorship 300+ UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A, NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 18 – Inner City Press on July 5 was banned from entering the UN, the day after it filed a criminal complaint against UN Security for physically removing it from covering the meeting about the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' $6.7 billion peacekeeping budget, as witnessed and essentially cheered on by senior UN official Christian Saunders, tearing its reporter's shirt, painfully and intentionally twisting his arm and slamming shut and damaging his laptop. On August 17, Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale issued a letter banning Inner City Press from the UN - for life. With no due process. She and Guterres have put the UN in the US Press Freedom Tracker, here. Smale said, again, that the UN would answer Press questions to the Spokesman Stephane Dujarric and his Office; Dujarric said the same on camera. On February 18 before a Farhan Haq briefing in which he got no questions about new rape allegations about Cameroon peacekeeper rape in CAR but instead one on Heather Nauert, to which he replied by bringing up the death of Vitaly Churkin, Inner City Press submitted 526 questions "There are more than 300+ questions UNanswered.  While appreciating and using what was sent on January 29 after it was read out in the briefing room, no answers on Dec 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 - another FIVE days in a row, even as SG's direct conflicts of interest and failure to disclose emerge, and a newest low. While appreciating the lone partial response to Question Feb 8-8, nothing on Dec 24 or Dec 26 or Dec 27 or Dec 28, or January 2, 3 or 4 or 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 or 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 or 18 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 24 or 25 or 28 - that was FIFTEEN week-days in a row, apparently under orders, then a simple post-facto answer. Now what? No answers on January 30 nor 31 nor February 1 nor 4 nor 5 nor 6 nor 7 nor 11 nor 12 nor 13 nor 14 or 15. No answers at all during those four days of the US v Ho trial showing corruption in the UN says it all. This ban is just censorship - and Inner City Press must be allowed back into the noon briefing to ask its questions in person and follow up on them. 

February 18-1: On sexual abuse and exploitation, Cameroon and the UN's increasing lack of transparency, please immediately provide all if-asked and other information about the allegations including attempted rape allegation against Cameroon peacekeepers in CAR and the South African in DRC. Again, what is the SG's comment and action on the report today from Serbia that "The United Nations states that it was a complaint that was received in January, that it was an alleged victim and that the proceedings against the suspected leader were also within the UN and Serbia. The Ministry of Defense did not answer the question of the Whistleblower whether an investigation and a disciplinary procedure is being conducted against that member of the Serbian Armed Forces.... the case of sexual exploitation for which the suspected Serbian soldier was first reported by an independent American journalist Matthew Lee, who has been writing about abuses in the United Nations for years." Explain why you have refused to provide the if-asked information Inner City Press requested. 

February 18-2: Also on CAR, on which your Office has refused to answer questions including about the corpse dragged by Mauritania peacekeepers Inner City Press has repeatedly asked you about, what is the SG's response to MSF's complaints that Batangafo in October and November, at least 15 people were killed and 29 others injured in the attack on the town, some 400km north of the capital Bangui, according to the report published on Monday.  It said the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR or MINUSCA, failed in its primary responsibility in the country? 

February 18-3: On Mali and Germany, please immediately state what the UN is doing about that a Malian soldier has been seriously wounded in an apparent friendly fire incident with German troops serving as UN peacekeepers. The incident occurred in the dark as German troops were returning from a mission.  A Malian soldier was seriously wounded during an exchange of fire with German troops serving as UN peacekeepers in the West African country, the German military said Sunday.  The incident occurred the night of February 16? 

February 18-4: On Uganda and peacekeeping, what is the UN's explanation of that " United Nations weapons and other cargo stuck at the Uganda border with DR Congo has been moved to Kampala in an effort to end a deadlock that has lasted nearly two months now.  The move follows a visit by a team of officials at Vurra on the Uganda-DR Congo border. The cargo brought to Kampala has been placed at a warehouse pending negotiations to pay the drivers.  The arrival of the UN officials saw the consignment that includes weapons and other accessories, containers of medical equipment, wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and Land Rovers bearing UN labels first moved from the no-man's land to the Uganda side before five of the now nine trucks were escorted to Kampala by the military."? 

February 18-5: On freedom of expression, what is the SG's comment and actions on that Egyptian authorities have not released of a human rights lawyer who has been detained since 10 December for “inciting social unrest” by posting a picture of himself on Facebook wearing a yellow vest, of a hearing to renew his pre-trial detention tomorrow.  Mohamed Ramadan shared the image after Egyptian authorities restricted sales of the vests - similar to those worn by demonstrators in France - in a bid to prevent copycat protests in Egypt. And AGAIN, please immediately explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.

February 15-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action on that "More than 150 people have been charged with "hostility to the homeland" and "insurrection" for their role in anti-government protests in Cameroon, the vice-president of the country's main opposition party said.  The president of the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC) opposition party, Maurice Kamto, was among those charged on Wednesday in a crackdown criticized by human rights campaigners.  He and around 150 other people were arrested in late January and have been held for nearly three weeks by police in the capital Yaounde.  They have gone before a judge in groups, starting with Kamto overnight Tuesday to Wednesday. He was charged with "rebellion, insurrection" and "hostility to the country".  Around twenty of those detained have been released on bail, MRC's vice-president Emmanuel Simh said.  "Hostility to the country" is punishable by the death penalty in theory, but the penalty has not been carried out in Cameroon for more than 30 years"? 

February 15-2: On South Sudan and SG's UN's faux feminism, please immediately provide the SG's comment and action on UNMISS whistleblowers' statement to Inner City Press about the recent " recruitment, a total of 131 candidates sat for the written test. 31 passed to the competency based interview stage which for all intents and purposes could not be classified as a competency based interview given that the whole exercise was a farce. 15 out of 31 passed the oral interview. All but one of the internal candidates were rostered. There had to be a sacrificial lamb to show that the exercise was not to roster the internal or former internal candidates so some one had to be failed and that was none other than the nemesis of the Chief of Staff. Four candidates were recommended. 2 males and 2 females for a position that had been cancelled and re-advertised on the basis that they wanted to get female candidates. All the four recommended candidates miraculously rejected the offer and so Mr. Guy Bennett became the automatic beneficiary before the Nigerian who had hitherto been acting for almost two years before he was ejected in order to preposition Guy Bennett. So for a position that was supposed to be filled by a woman it was now filled by Mr. BENNETT leaving other women on roster." 

February 15-3: On Haiti and UN impunity, again, what is the SG's comment and action on accountability after the death toll of UN driving into a collective taxi has hit four? "A traffic accident involving a United Nations armored vehicle killed four people and injured nine in Port-au-Prince on Saturday...The vehicle of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) lost the use of its brakes while driving in the capital and collided with a collective taxi — known as a tap-tap — according to witnesses" 

February 15-4: On Burundi, what is the comment and action of the SG and separately SRSG Kafando to the report that " "President Pierre Nkurunziza says he has given wealth to Burundians since 2002, he wants to be thanked. Thus, offerings in money, livestock or food products are collected throughout the provinces and have been used for some time. A crusade of prayer and collection of offerings was organized from 24 to 27 January 2019 in Gitega province where President Pierre Nkurunziza was in person. At least 1.8 billion Burundian francs were collected during this crusade. In Gitega province, the young Imbonerakure have traveled the town of Gitega from 21 January 2019 to raise money and food. From boutiques to boutiques, from shops to stores, from pharmacies in pharmacies, kiosks in kiosks, ... they required between 2000 and 5000 FBU in failing which they closed the doors. In Rumonge province, the provincial secretary of the ruling party, Diomede Niyonsaba sent invitations to all heads of public and private services, organizations 21 non-governmental organizations and association leaders working in the province for their ask to participate in this presidential crusade"? And AGAIN, please immediately explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.

February 14-1: On Western Sahara, what is the comment and action of the SG and separately Horst Kohler to the EU agreement with Morocco regarding fishing off Western Sahara? 

February 13-2: On Cameroon, again, what is the SG's comment and action on the now formal charges of "rebellion" against Maurice Kamto, which could carry the death penalty, in light of what your Office says Biya's FM told him in Addis? Simarily, what is the SG's comment and action on the filmed recent mass arrest of youth in the Anglophone regions? 

February 13-3: What is the SG's and OIOS' comment and action on whistleblowers complaint to Inner City Press that Moin Karim uses UNOPS and his authority as regional director, to ‘hire’ consultants in Geneva on symbolic lump-sum contracts that pay ‘contractors’ symbolic fees (few hundred to few thousand US dollars) who then use their contracts to obtain Swiss work permits and stay in Switzerland for several years. It is said that a number of individuals, who otherwise would not be eligible to reside in Switzerland, have entered the country on those fake contracts and are now seeking citizenship, or are temporarily hiding from their respective authorities? 

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