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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric About Cameroon China UNOG Tanzania Halibut Censorship 300+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 7 – 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 March 7 hours before a Dujarric briefing to a nearly empty room, for a Kenya government official, Inner City Press submitted 595 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 28-3, 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 nor 18 nor 19 nor 20 nor 21 nor 22 nor 25 nor 26 nor 27 nor March 1 nor 4 nor 5 nor 6. 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. 

March 7-1: On Cameroon (and Nigeria), what are the comments and actions of the SG and separately DSG on whether the Nigerian court decision that Ayuk Tabe and 46 others were illegal sent to Cameroon and should be returned? This as Ayuk Tabe Jet al are expected at the Military Court in Yaounde today while Professor Maurice Kamto and his MRC supporters are making a Habeas Corpus plea at the Mfoundi High Court. 

March 7-2: Immediately explain the arrangements between UN Office in Geneva and the Shenzhen World Health Foundation, including explaining why as staff complain interpreters at UNOG were also asked to allow interpreters from SWHF to play with their equipment - how is this acceptable? What other outside parties have this right? How much does a government NGO have to pay for this right? Again, why was Gulbenkian Foundation not listed on the SG's most recent online financial disclosure form which says it covers 2016? When will these be updated? Where is USG Smale's form, after all this time? 

March 7-3: On Tanzania what is the SG's comment and action on that government authorities notified editors of Tanzania’s major English language newspaper, The Citizen, that the paper would be suspended for seven days. The newspaper had published two articles, one about US lawmaker, Bob Menendez, raising concerns about “the gradual spiral of respect for civil liberties in Tanzania” and another reporting that the Tanzania shilling was falling against the US dollar. Authorities say the articles were one sided? 

March 7-4: AGAIN - immediately state who, with public funds, the SG invited to eat halibut with him on March 4, and why it was not on his public schedule. Please state whether the UN considers "The Century Fund" to be a media and if so, why - and, AGAIN, 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.

March 6-1: Please immediately provide the SG's comment and action on the travel waste of the head of UN Women leaked to Inner City Press by whistleblowers there: "UN women spent $240,567 in expenses for travel of our executive director in 2018.  This does not include the journey of anyone who is traveling with her and security costs or other costs paid by the local offices.   During the last 2 years UN women spent more than $467,000 in travel of ED which is almost identical to Mr. Erik Solheim of UNEP but UN women is a much smaller agency.  UN women has spent more than $1,255,550 on travel for the director since Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was hired in September 2013.  Some of her flights have cost as much as $37,057!  Also the UN Women ED traveled for 170 days in 2018.  That's over 65% of the time not including annual holidays or public holidays of the United Nations!  She also had strangely four visits to her home country of South Africa paid by UN Women." 

March 6-3: Please immediately provide the SG's comment and response to the Staff Unions' complain that DSS funds are being diverted to for profit events of CulinArt and USG Smale's DGC: " "the Department of Safety and Security is currently ceding some of its funding to serve profit-making ventures, both a contractor, CulinArt, and another Secretariat department, the Department of Global Communications, by providing security services for their ventures, that is, Friday nights activities at the Delegates Lounge and United Nations Tours, respectively. The funds to provide those services from the UNDSS’s annual budget are substantial and are not reimbursed. Why should UNDSS continue to provide those services out of its budget free of charge when cuts are being made elsewhere?" 

March 6-5: Please immediately provide the SG's comment and action on the decline at UNIS, and that the UN is subsidizing affluent New Yorkers: " fees at the school have risen by 92% in 12 years. The average rise has been 5.6% a year, compared to an average rise in UN salaries of around 1.5% a year. The school claims that half of its students are children of UN staff or related diplomatic staff (mainly children of staff at UN missions), but UN parents suspect the number is closer to 30%. And the number gets lower each year as more and more UN parents are forced to leave the school. The problem is especially acute for UN parents on lower grades. Because, although the education grant subsidizes the cost, it still leaves parents with a crippling bill as they struggle to pay the 25+% required of them. Recent changes in the education grant are making that even more difficult...a parent with a child in high school at UNIS will pay up to $42,975 a year for tuition for the 2019/20 school year. The education grant now tops out at $40,600, so not all of that is now subsidized. The result is that the UN now only pays around 70% of that, where it used to pay 75%. That leaves these parents having to pay more than $1000 a month for the school, which is beyond the means of many... rich New Yorkers have spied a way to give their kids an expensive education on someone else's dime - the UN's." 

March 5-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the continued detention of Michèle Ndoki has been been held by the  Special Operations Unit in Yaounde since she was arrested by security forces under unclear circumstances? Again, as not answered, on Cameroon and Nigeria, what are the comments and actions of the SG and separately of the DSG on the Nigeria court decision that the refoulement of Mr. Ayuk Tabe and 46 others was illegal and they should be returned to Nigeria from Cameroon? What is the SG's comment and action on the reported burning down of Bamunkumbit in NW Cameroon by government soldiers? 

March 5-2: On Saudi Arabia, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that Saudi Arabia is moving to prosecute a group of women’s rights activists who have been detained for several months, its state news agency has announced? 

March 5-3: On CAR in light of the UN Secretariat's bragging about the Khartoum deal, and your Office's refusal to answer questions about what the outgoing SRSG told Inner City Press about UN sexual abuse and exploitation in CAR, what is the SG's comment and action on that the peace agreement in CAR, signed in early February, has been in turmoil since the establishment of a new government on Sunday: five out of the fourteen armed groups that signed it have expressed their disagreement with the new government team? 

March 5-4: On SEA, UN harrassment and impunity, what is the SG's comment and action on that on Prashanti Tiwari, on whose case Inner City Press has previously repeatedly asked your office about without answer, Bihar Police's CID has ordered the investigating officer to file a charge sheet against him.  In the FIR filed in February last year, Prashanti had also accused the UNFPA country head for India and Ena Singh of assault. What did the SG every do about this abuse? 

March 5-5: On China, what is the SG's comment and action if any on reports that  Chinese hackers have targeted more than two dozen universities in the U.S. and around the globe as part of an elaborate scheme to steal research about maritime technology being developed for military use? 

March 5-6: On Japan and due process, what is the SG's comment and action if any on Carlos Ghosn now having been detained for more than 100 days without charges? 

March 4-3: On India and Pakistan, what is the SG's comment and action on a UN system Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, tweeting "Jai Hind" after India's airstrikes on Pakistan, and on the petition that she be removed from any UN position? 

March 4-5: On Sudan and Qatar, what is the SG's comment and action on whistleblowers telling Inner City Press that UNAMID staff improperly share information with Qatar's intelligence service? 

March 4-6: On Sudan, what is the SG's comment and action on that ICC-indicted Omar al-Bashir on Friday delegated his powers and authority as head of the ruling National Congress Party to its deputy head, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun - who is also indicted by the ICC? Again, how many times has Mr. Guterres met Bashir, and why? Has he met Ahmed Haroun? 

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