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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Dujarric of Cameroon Haiti Somalia Kenya Albania Egypt Philippines SG Censorship 600+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, June 11 – 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 June 11 three hours before a UN noon briefing in which Stephane Dujarric fawned over Mary Robinson who helped cover up abuse by UAE royals, Inner City Press submitted 927 questions, including why it continues to be lawlessly banned from entering to ask questions in person: "There are more than 500+ 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 belatedly sent on May 20 about sexual exploitation allegations and 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 (!) And now April 1, 3-30 (one answer in the entire month - corrupt), and now May 1-13, 15-17, 21-31, June 3-10, many questions. 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. 

June 11-1: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on this report from Chinese state media: "YAOUNDE, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Cameroon's House Speaker of National Assembly Cavaye Yeguie Djibril on Monday denounced foreign interference in the country's internal affairs which he referred to as "conspiracy."  "Cameroon has become an object of conspiracy intended to destabilize the country. To justify their interference in internal affairs, the conspirators pretend to denounce it." Again, how many offices / desk does the Secretariat give to Chinese state media inside the UN? 

June 11-2: On Haiti, beyond the Inner City Press questions about the UN cholera cert petition and amicus brief in US Supreme Court under Jam v IFC that you have left entirely unanswered, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that protesters denouncing corruption blocked roads and paralyzed much of Haiti’s capital Sunday as they demanded the removal of President Jovenel Moise, while police reported two people killed and five injured? 

June 11-3: On Somalia and Kenya, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that Mogadishu has unilaterally preempted the ICJ's decision, according to a leaked Somali government report “Offshore Somalia 2019” which shows that in early February Somalia had exhibited seismic oil block data off the Kenyan port of Lamu to potential buyers in London? Somali diplomats were banned from attending an international conference in Nairobi. In return, all NGOs operating in Somalia but based in Nairobi were ordered by Mogadishu to either relocate to Somalia or cease all operations completely.  

June 11-4: On Albania, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that Albania’s president has canceled coming municipal elections, citing the need to reduce political tensions in the country?  President Ilir Meta said on Saturday that he had acted because the circumstances did not provide “the necessary conditions for true, democratic, representative and all-inclusive elections,” which had been scheduled for the end of this month. 

June 11-5: On Egypt, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that on June 8 the sentence of Ahmed Saddouma, who was 17 when he was arrested and accused of terror offences and the attempted murder of a federal judge, was reduced from the death sentence to 15 years in prison.  However, the Egyptian Supreme Court upheld the penalty for Bakr Abo Gabal, 37, who was being tried in the same case.  Gabal is being held in Wadi Natroun prison near Alexandria where his health has deteriorated and his pleas for medical intervention ignored.  The ruling brings the number of Egyptians who have exhausted all litigation and could be executed at any time, to 83. 

June 11-6: On press freedom and the Philippines, what is the SG's comment and action if any on the that the Philippine police arrested  Davao Today columnist Fidelina Margarita Valle on Sunday at the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro while waiting for her flight home to Davao City?  She was reportedly taken to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) where she was held incommunicado for almost ten hours... In the UN, what has the accountability been for Lt Ronald E. Dobbins and those those refused on camera to give their names? What is each of yours - particularly the SG's - response to the letter written and sent by Burundi activist Manisha Lievin? To the April 15 letter to the SG, DSG and USG Smale for which receipt has not even been acknowledged, other than a single lawless line from MALU: "Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M66561081, has been declined"? This is a formal request for the UN's explanation of grounds for this denied, and since SGcentral, the SG's chief of staff and Deputy SG and USG Smale haven't even confirmed receipt of the April 15 letter much less responded, for reconsideration. 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.

June 10-6: Relatedly, with the SG making excuses for living alone in a $15 million mansion, please confirm his orders to  downsize or merge agencies by Sept. 2021, including IFAD and WFP as well as UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO and UNEP... 

June 7-1: On Liberia, what is the SG's comment and action if any on today’s Save-the-State protest and the incident Monday that saw a member of the national legislature, the controversial Rep. Yekeh Korlubah come under protest as he left a talk-show appearance on Sky FM’s 50-50, and youths were beaten by authorities?

June 7-2: On DRC and UN failure, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that the UN has failed to deliver justice for the killing of at least 30 civilians in Mutarule, South Kivu province, in June 2014? UN peacekeepers stationed in the area were aware of the attack but failed to intervene. What has the UN done?

June 7-3: On Cameroon, as Inner City Press asked on the morning of June 5 (a day on which the deputy spokesman while not responding on Cameroon did respond, at least partially, to a DC-based correspondent), and again on June 6, what is the SG's response, after receiving Biya's golden statue and multiple meetings with Tommo Monthe only about his the chairmanship of the UN Budget Committee, on NRC now saying NRC: "Cameroon tops the Norwegian Refugee Council’s annual list of the world’s most neglected displacement crises launched today.

June 7-4: On UN impunity and having brought cholera to Haiti, what is the SG's comment and action for UN accountability, if any, now that a cert petition and amicus brief have been filed to put the UN's impunity in Haiti before the U.S. Supreme Court? What is is response to amicus brief argument that absolute denial of redress.  Notably in Jam v. International Finance Corp., 860 F.3d 703 (D.C. Cir. 2017), the D.C. Circuit held the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”), head- quartered in Washington, D.C., was immune from civil liability in a case arising out of an IFC-funded project. In Jam, the D.C. Circuit struggled to deter- mine the exact extent of IFC immunity....The amicus brief is certified as served on the head of OLA - please immediately confirm that he / OLA have received the brief.

June 7-5: On press freedom and Nigeria, what are the comments and actions if any of the SG and separately DSG Amina J Mohammed that  Nigeria's broadcasting authority shut down private radio and television stations owned by a key opposition figure who hours earlier said his media operations were being targeted in a crackdown.  

June 4-3: On UN sexual abuse and exploitation, AGAIN as requested on the morning of June 3 immediately disclose what IS the new "allegation of SEA" which the UN on the morning of June 3 announced by e-mail. Clicking through to the UN website, the previously announced case against South Africa peacekeeper is no longer at the top of the page, and it is unclear what the new allegation is. This lack of clarity is unacceptable.

May 15-3: On the Public Financial Disclosures for 2017 belatedly published over the weekend of April 27-28, please state why Mohammed Ibn Chambas, like the Executive Secretary of the UN Biodiversity Convention, Cristiana Paşca-Palmer, UNICEF's Henriette Fore, with documented links to ExxonMobil and others, USG Mark Lowcock (undisclosed while the Secretariat's speaker at the UNSC Arria on Cameroon), UNCTAD's Mukhisa Kituyi, UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNOG chief Michael Moller, UNDP chief Achim Steiner,  Heidi Mendoza, Adama Dieng, UN Security chief Peter Drennan, Rosemary DiCarlo and Nicholas Haysum, is not even on the list. OIOS chief Inga-Britt Ahlenius reported - why not Mendoza? Where IS Mendoza? Isn't it a bad practice for the UN's head (anti) genocide definition official to conceal from the public even cursory financial disclosure? Did DiCarlo decline to make any public disclosure despite being the UN's top political officer? What is the even plausible applicability of this line from SG Guterres' web page: "Please note that given the multi-cultural environment of the UN and the often security sensitive locations where UN staff are either working or come from, full public disclosure may not always be a viable or sensible option for certain staff members"? Why has Guterres changed the previous system in a which a "choosing not to disclose" statement was upload and listed, to one which helps conceal who reports and who does not?  Again, state why considering the UN bribery conviction of Patrick Ho of CEFC, and CEFC's attempt to purchase the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid Mr. Guterres in 2016 was omitted from his online public financial disclosure covering 2016, and why Guterres has not even started an audit of CEFC in the UN. 

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