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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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As UN Bans Inner City Press E-Asks Spox Soto Nino of DRC Cameroon HK Kuwait DSS UN Sex Abuse CSW Cambodia SG Fleming MALU SG Censors 700+ UNanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 30 – 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 August 30 more than three hours before a noon briefing by Assistant Spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez in which there was not a single question by anyone let it about Africa, after the July 26 noon briefing had no questions at all, video here, Inner City Press submitted 1169 questions, including why it continues to be lawlessly banned from entering to ask questions in person: "There are more than 700+ 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 August 7 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 3-28, and July 1-2, 8-31 and August 1-5, 8-29 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.

August 30-1: While the SG is in DR Congo, what are his comments and action if any on that a Catholic bishop in the Democratic Republic of Congo says illegal logging in the south-east of the country is threatening the rare mukula tree? "While the whole world decries the ravages of the Amazon fires, an ecological disaster is under way near us," Fulgence Muteba Mugalu said. The bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga, in Haut Katanga province, blamed intensive lawless activities by the Chinese and people close to the Congolese government.  The bishop fears the illegal activity will spread into the Kundelungu National Park, a protected area The mukula, with its distinctive red colour, is popular in China where it is used to make furniture.  The slow-growing tree is already threatened with extinction in neighbouring Zambia. 

August 30-2: On Hong Kong and China, what are the SG's comments and actions if any on the detention of Joshua Wong,Agnes Chow, Andy Chan, Althea Suen, Cheng Chung-tai and others, amid crackdown on planned peaceful protest against extradition law changes, etc? 

August 30-3: On Sierra Leone, the environment and the law, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that people living next to Sierra Leone's biggest diamond mine have taken the government to court over failing to protect them from alleged environmental problems caused by the company that runs it.  The complaint, filed at a West African regional court, said water had been contaminated and houses damaged by blasts at the mine.  It also said the government had failed to ensure the company, Octea Limited, relocated hundreds of families away from the site. 

August 30-4: On press freedom, the courts and Cambodia, what are the SG's comments and actions if any on that a verdict has been delayed in the espionage case against two Cambodian journalists, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin who are accused of undermining national security by supplying information to a foreign state, an act punishable by up to 15 years in prison?  The two men and others were sitting inside the courtroom awaiting the verdict Friday morning when a court officer entered and announced the delay. The officer read a statement saying the judge who was set to announce the verdict was busy because of a meeting in the justice ministry. The officer said the new date for the verdict would be announced later. 

August 30-5: On Liberia, alleged arms transfers and investigations, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that police in Liberia say they are keeping watch over a woman in hospital who has been drugged and violently assaulted after publishing a video online accusing officials of a secret arms deal.  The woman said she was on a trip with the officials in Mali when they bought weapons.  One of the people she accused of leading the trip to Mali, Monrovia city mayor Jefferson Koijee, has denied the claims.  The police have said they are waiting for her medical treatment to be complete before investigating both the attack and the weapons haul. 

August 30-6: On UNSC member Kuwait, what are the SG's belated comments and actions if any on that more than a dozen Bidun activists detained in Kuwait since July 2019 began a hunger strike on August 22 to protest human rights violations against themselves and the Bidun community. The detained activists, over a dozen of whom are on hunger strike, include Abdulhakim al-Fadhli, Awad al-Onan, Ahmed al-Onan, Abdullah al-Fadhli, Mutaib al-Onan, Muhammed al-Anzi, Yousef al-Osmi, ِNawaf al-Bader, Hamed Jamil, Jarallah al-Fadhli, Yousif al-Bashig, Ahmed al-Anzi, Hamoud al-Rabah, Khalifa al-Anzi, and Reda al-Fadhli.    

August 30-7: On Cameroon and press freedom, what are the SG's belated comments and actions if any on that Amadou Vamoulke, the head of the Cameroon Radio Television for nine years in which he repeatedly spoke out against the government’s monopoly on television coverage and the criminalization of media workers, officially arrested and detained at the Yaounde Kondengui Prison in 2016? 

August 30-8: Regarding a statement sent on August 28 by the Under Secretary General of DSS, copied to Hua Jiang and others, please immediately explain  a) why, since DSS states that it does not have a ban / bar / block on me but only enforces that I not exercise the rights of a UN accredited journalist (which were stripped from me without any hearing or right to appeal), I have in the past year been blocked from entering the UN even with invited with a ticket, and  b) why, since DSS states that it does not have a ban / bar / block on me but only enforces that I not exercise the rights of a UN accredited journalist (which were stripped from me without any hearing or right to appeal), my August 24 application to enter the UN like 100s of other correspondents to cover the upcoming UNGA high level week has not yet been granted, and  c) with regard to USG Michaud writing that  "On 10 July 2018 UNDSS escorted Mr. Matthew Lee from the UNHQ complex after he attempted to gain unauthorized access to a locked area" - explain, at long last, what this "locked area" was, since it was only the (unlocked) Vienna Cafe outside the UN Budget Committee meeting which by the rules I was allowed to cover, and  d) with regard to USG Michaud writing that the "DSS role is now limited to ensuring that unaccredited individuals do not enter the premises," how it is that tourists, and NGO visitors, who are not accredited by DPI/DGC are allowed in by DSS, but I have not been for the past year. Again, please immediately explain wny my August 24 application to enter the UN like 100s of other correspondents to cover the upcoming UNGA high level week has not yet been granted 

August 30-9: Please respond to complaint received by Inner City Press, about which we asked in writing on August 29: A group called "USA Mali charitable association of New York” also known as UMACA obtained a 501c3 which they used to get CSW status at the United Nations. The problem there is they used that status to bring in many many people to the UN grounds in NYC by getting them UN passes. More disturbing is the amount of people they traffic in to the USA with their status as CSW members by the UN General Assembly. A few years back, the UN gave them over 50 computers as a donation, in turn they shipped them to Africa for sale. 

August 30-10: On Burundi and Tanzania, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that Tanzania plans to send back Burundi refugees to their homeland soil as at October 1.  According to Tanzania Interior Minister Kangi Lugola  an agreement was stroke with the Burundian government such that the refugees will be repatriated in groups as at October 1 until they are done with the process. In a statement issued to the media, the Tanzanian government said that they were working with the United Nation (UN) to secure their return effect effectively. Question: how is Tanzania working with the UN? Do the UN and SG agree with this forced refoulement?  

August 30-11: On UN sexual exploitation as banned Inner City Press asked each of you yesterday morning without any response, "On UN sexual exploitation and abuse - alleged - this is a request that you immediately provide the "if asked" information supplied about other cases in the past before Inner City Press was banned, about the cursory update this morning listing a SEA case by a Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) peacekeeper at MINUSCA in CAR. Also, again, what is Guterres' answer, which you refused to provide after banned Inner City Press asked you and others in writing on the morning of August 19 that you "immediately provide all if-asked and additional information about the new allegation of SEA announced at 11:01 am today, of child rape by a Cameroonian "peacekeeper" in DR Congo

August 30-12: On Mali, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that hundreds of lorries and other vehicles have been blocked from entering the capital of Mali, Bamako, on the fourth day of a protest over the poor state of the country’s roads. The protests started on August 23 in the western city of Kayes and have spread across Mali, with demands for improvements of dilapidated roads and railways. 

August 30-13: On Cameroon, what is the SG's comment and action if any on that thousands of residents of Cameroon's two English-speaking regions after the life sentences given to 10 of their leaders, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe. More than 500,000 people have been forced from their homes in the crisis. 

August 30-14: On the repatriation of Rohingya from Bangladesh to Myanmar, what is Guterres' position on the system that will give returnees non citizen, "Bengali" ID cards? National Verification Cards (NVCs), which do not confer rights nor citizenship and, through an NVC application process, effectively identify Rohingya as “Bengali” or more generally as “foreigners"? What has been the UN system's, specifically UNHCR's, role in this in the past?   What did Guterres do on this while at UNHCR? 

August 30-15: In light of the death of Jeffrey Epstein, now on August 27 multiply accused of sex trafficking along with Ghislaine Maxwell who was allowed to promote her now closed charity in the UN Press Briefing Room, as Inner City Press asked without any UN response on July 22, please immediately disclose all UN interactions with his Ghislaine Maxwell's TerraMar Project and relatedly, with Paolo Zampolli. 

August 30-16: Given that the SG's public schedules for August 2, August 5, August 6, August 7, August 8, August 9, August 13, August 14, August 15, August 16 and August 19 were entirely blank, not even "all appointments internal" as before but just blank, where WAS the SG and how much did it cost the public? How much will his three country trip cost? Who is going on it? Since public officials from Trump to de Blasio to Corey Johnson all disclose where they are, and given the UN system travel scandals at UNRWA, UN Women and previously UNEP, explain why Mr. Guterres' lack of transparency is not part of the problem. Given the Secretariat's communication failures, state when exactly Ms. Fleming takes over from Alison Smale, whether Ms. Fleming is still has stated on her profile at UNHCR (Chief Communications  @Refugees as of August 30) and if she is answering some/any of her e-mail there. She is being written to there was a second time today, well before the Sept 5 deadline for UN "approval" to cover UNGA week. 

August 30-17: On press freedom and Cameroon, on which you refused to answer on August 13 despite saying the office was staffed and answering, now more specific: what is the SG's comment and action if any, post golden statue, to that Paul Atanga Nji, territorial administration minister, says Cameroon's journalists are becoming highly unpatriotic.  "They have one main objective, just to sabotage government action, to promote secessionist tendencies," said Nji. "I urge them to be responsible. Those who do not want to respect the laws will be booked as being recalcitrant and will be treated as such"... Now that the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled against public officials blocking critics on Twitter even if the official claims their account is private, what is the justification for UNSG Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, with the UN flag in his profile photo and Guterres promoting content, blocking Inner City Press? What is SG Guterres' response / reaction to UN DSS and Guterres' actions on Inner City Press being listed in the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, here.  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 - and respond that Inner City Press on August 24 applied like 100s or 1000s of others to cover the upcoming UNGA high level week, including now formally offering to answer any quesions the UN / DSS might have, having been vetted and accredited elsewhere since, as both USG DSS Michaud and MALU have formally been timely informed -- and how it is possible that a media that closely covers and uncovers the UN could be denied entry, other than (SG) censorship.

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." Again, how many offices / desk does the Secretariat give to Chinese state media inside the UN? 

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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