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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Haq About Nigeria FAO Zimbabwe China Cameroon Bahrain Chad Censorship 400+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 29 – 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 29 more than two hours before a UN noon briefing by Dujarric's deputy Haq Inner City Press submitted 681 questions: "There are more than 300+ questions UNanswered. And Monday Sept 17, Tuesday Sept 18, Wed Sept 19 and  Thurs and Fri Sept 21, that whole week, no questions answered. Nor Sept 25, nor 28th - nor October 2 nor 3. While appreciating and using what was sent on March 28 in partial request to Inner City Press' questions about the UN bribery sentence of Patrick Ho of CEFC and CEFC's 2018 attempt to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid the SG, 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. 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 nor 15 nor 18 nor 19 nor 20 nor 21 nor 22 nor 25 nor 26 nor 27 nor March 1 - 27 (!) 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 29-1: On Nigeria, what are the comment and action of the SG and, separately, DSG Amina J Mohammed on that Federal High Court Thursday revoked the bail of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and ordered his arrest? 

March 29-2: On FAO, Mr. Servan from FAO whom Inner City Press asked your about last year has apparently been subject to complaints by women attending an ICSC meeting in Geneva, with the issue been raised to the SG. Please confirm or deny and state what if anything the SG has done. 

March 29-3: On China and Xinjiang / Uighurs, what is the SG's comment and action if any on this account: "The alarm rings at 5am every morning in Yerzhan's overcrowded concrete cell. He dresses in a thin blue uniform before armed guards escort him to a bathroom, where he has minutes to wash under supervision.  At 7am there is breakfast: tea and a single steamed bun for each of the cell’s 18 inmates.  For the rest of the day, Yerzhan is forced to sit straight on a stool, learn Mandarin, sing patriotic songs and memorise ruling Communist Party ideology.   In order to receive a small portion of rice at noon and 6pm he, like all the others, must praise the Chinese president and shout “Long live Xi Jinping!”  Those who refuse are electrocuted with a cattle prod that causes their limbs to spasm uncontrollably"? 

March 29-4: On Zimbabwe, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that alleged supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) were denying some cyclone survivors emergency aid, including food, because they were believed to support the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) political party? 

March 29-5: On the Dominican Republic, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that police in the Dominican Republic routinely subject women sex workers to rape, beatings and verbal abuse, a new report has found? 

March 29-6: On Comoros, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that four people died Thursday in a gunfight at a military camp in Comoros where police had detained an opposition presidential candidate? 

March 29-7: On Bahrain, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that plight of Bahraini activist Najah Yusuf, a critic of the grand prix race who has been jailed by the government since 2017? 

March 29-8: On freedom of expression, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that lawyers in Chad on Thursday presented an application to the courts seeking an order to force government to lift a social media blackout. But the Appeals Court struck out the case allowing the government to continue the blackout which has been in force since March 2018? 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 28-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and belated action, if any, on Biya's Army's attack on Abuh, North-West region, which burned an entire neighborhood to the ground.  A woman in her 40s said she spent three days hiding in the surrounding countryside with her five children after the attack: “When I came back to the village, my house was gone, with everything inside. I am left with nothing but my clothes.” How does this square with UNFPA's current propaganda trip to Yaounde? 

March 28-2: On Sri Lanka, what is the SG's and separate USG Lacroix's response to the Army's statement that "In that effort, Sri Lanka Army and HRCSL maintain strong cordial and professional relations with mutual understanding and respect for difficulty of carrying out their respective roles which are open to the public domain.  It is the opinion of the Sri Lanka Army that we as Sri Lankans, should be proud that UN selected HRCSL, our own organization, to carry out the domestic mechanism in HR screening process. However, the task is not that easy as thousands of applications have to be scrutinized as all three services and the Police are engaged in UN peacekeeping, apart from the duties that HRCSL has to perform according to its prime mandate.  Sri Lanka Army has the highest confidence in HRCSL that it does its utmost to expedite this HR screening process. It is requested that any queries in this regard or any matter with regard to UN peacekeeping by Sri Lanka Army be referred to the Commander of the Army or the Directorate of Media for accurate and current information without resorting to unauthorized persons/entity who would not allow the efforts of the Sri Lanka Army in UN peacekeeping further the image of the country"? 

March 28-3: On Canada and peacekeeping, please immeidately provide SG and USG Lacroix confirmation and explanation of that "One UN official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities, says Canada recently provided a list of conditions about where and when the plane can be used.  Those included a stipulation the plane only fly in daylight and only between Entebbe and five locations that, according to the UN official, either don’t have any peacekeeping units or are easily accessible by road.  As a result, the UN told Canada the arrangement did not meet its needs"? 

March 28-4: On Pakistan and press freedom, what is the SG's comment and action on that Pakistani authorities are investigating five prominent journalists and a blogger for displaying the photo of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s on social media during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan last month? 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 27-4: On Brunei, what is the SG's comment and action on pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children. These punishments are provided for in newly-implemented sections of the Brunei Darussalam Syariah Penal Code that are due to come into force on 3 April 2019, according to a discreet notice on the Attorney General’s website

March 27-6: On freedom of thought and expression and China, what is the SG's comment and action on the law professor at Tsinghua University who openly criticised Chinese President Xi Jinping has been suspended and placed under investigation by the university, according to one of his colleagues and several academics familiar with the situation. Xu Zhangrun, 56, was suspended this month after he wrote several articles criticising Beijing over political and social issues?  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 25-5: On your / Spokesperson Dujarric's recent podcast interview, please immediately explain what was meant by a relationship with journalists of "mutually assured destruction" - and why the podcast links are mostly 404/no longer online. 

March 25-8: On the SG's March 22 appearance on 96th Street, please immediately provide the name of the UN DSS officer who spoke to NYPD on 96th Street to get them to restraint in advance Inner City Press while UN Photo and others like AP walked freely, the basis for this censorship and any and all records regarding it. 

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