Foreign Press, UN Empties “Good Offices” for Other
18 -- As Myanmar
bar foreign journalists
and elections observers from its impending November 7 polling, the
on Monday churned out a prepared statement that did not directly engage
exclusion of the media.
asked acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny that
staffers of the UN's “Good Office” on Myanmar operation, set up
by General Assembly resolution, have been even at this critical
juncture been redeployed to other non-Burma work within the UN
Department of Political Affairs, despite being in GA voted budget
lines not supposed to be changed by DPA.
wouldn't comment on “budget lines,” but said that the prepared
statement showed that Good Offices work continued. That wasn't the
question, of course. And the UN's Myanmar and other such statements
are largely cut and paste.
is informed by well placed sources that the Department of Political
Affairs under B. Lynn Pascoe had “made a play” for staffers of the UN
Good Offices on Myanmar, “under-occupied”
with Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambair "monlighting" in the
position since the departure for Darfur of Ibrahim Gambari. These staffers have
been assigned work for Tamrat Samuel of DPA.
Vijay Nambiar & Lynn Pascoe, "Good Offices"
power play not shown
problem, however, the sources say. The Myanmar office is not directly
under DPA, and
its resources, specifically approved by the General Assembly, are not
supposed to be redeployed in this way. It is unclear why Haq feels it
is legitimate, in this context, to minimize and refuse to answer
“budget line” questions.
of separation of powers -- and of coddling a dictatorship.
Under Ban Ki-moon, these sources say, the GA's Myanmar office has
been turning into a husk. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Ban No Comment on Crimes Against Humanity, Nambiar Can't
2010 -- On Burma, after his Group of Friends
on Myanmar met on Monday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took two
questions about the meeting.
Press asked for his views of
the call by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar for
a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity by the Than Shwe
regime, and if his envoy and chief of staff Vijay Nambiar is able to
even get into Myanmar.
he has no comment on the question of crimes against humanity in
Myanmar. He said that Nambiar -- who stood near him at the stakeout
-- is not able to get into the country, and he regret it. As he
spoke, Nambiar left the stakeout.
who it was said might speak after the meeting, left during Mr. Ban's
UN's Ban with Gambari and Nambiar, 1 got into Burma,
the other can't
City Press asked the UK Foreign Minister about
Myanmar -- he called it Burma -- and he issued some strong criticism.
So did US
State Department PJ Crowley last week, but on Monday here's
what Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said:
Security Council members, including at times the U.S.,
have called for a U.N. panel of inquiry into war crimes committed in
Burma. And a lot of people have said this can't happen until after
the election. Is that a possibility the U.S. is considering, when you
talk about new relationships after the balloting?
think I'll have very much to say on that issue at this
time. I think what we have tried to indicate is that we have not
ruled anything out, either on this issue or others, including
sanctions on the way forward. We are looking at what transpires in
November, in terms of the way forward. And we reserve the right to
take steps either to respond to positive steps or negative ones.
told, diplomatically, that while Myanmar wasn't formally invited,
it was told it could attend if it asked to. It did not -- why should
is the UN's
transcript of Inner City Press' !Q & A with Mr. Ban:
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar has
called for a Commission of Inquiry into possible crimes against
humanity by the Government of Myanmar. Several of the Friends have
also supposedly joined that call. What do you think of that call?
And, also, is your Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar, is he able to get
into Myanmar, if he so requests? And if so, why hasn't he gone?
taken note of that report – this is the report of a
Special Rapporteur that I have just taken note of. This is something
which needs to be decided, determined by the Member States. I do not
have any comment at this time on that particular point.
about your Chief of Office being able to visit the
country or not, can he visit or not?
trying to visit, somehow this year, it has not been
possible. I expressed my regret about that fact.
* * *
UKUN Documents, Myanmar Now Darfur
UN's Ibrahim Gambari was humiliated by
the military rulers of Myanmar
in 2009, internal documents of the UK
Mission to the UN obtained by Inner City Press show. For example, of
Gambari's 2009 trip the UK Mission wrote:
visit on 26-27 June lasted a mere 32 hours. As on previous
encounters, his programme was revealed to him on arrival. He was
driven directly to the new capital, Naypyitaw, a 4-hour drive from
Rangoon. A flight to Naypyitaw would have taken an hour.”
the September 2009 meeting
Group of Friends on Myanmar meeting (similar to the forthcoming
meeting on the sidelines of this week's UN General Debate) came to
very little. In 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest and
her NLD party has been dissolved.
subservience to Than Shwe and others in
Burma's military regime, the documents will raise more questions
about Gambari's questionable engagement with Sudan's Omar al Bashir
government, from which Gambari as head of Darfur's UNAMID
peacekeeping mission awaits permission before even sending troops to
documents of the UK Mission to the UN and of the UK Mission in
Yangon, which Inner City Press is exclusively
putting online here, include
Gambari's visit in early 2009
during which a “meeting was attended by the members of the CEC but
the Burmese/Myanmar authorities insisted on the exclusion of Win
“did acknowledge that there were now
cross-border implications to the issue, as a result of the situation
in the Kayin State;” and
that “Than Shwe had pointed
out the challenges facing the country, including the underdeveloped
border areas, and the role of the military. Gambari commented that
he thought Than Shwe would like to re-engage with the international
community, and to turn a new page in relations with the UN.”
wake of Cyclone Nargis, the Than Shwe government took up
to 25% of the UN's aid by means of scam foreign exchange conversion
which the UN covered up, until exposed by Inner City Press.
UN's Ban & Gambari spin on Myanmar, UK docs and
Darfur not shown
in Darfur, seeking permission before protecting civilians and
reportedly angling to turn over to the government rebels who support
Abdel Wahid Nur, the Myanmar documents provide a glimpse some say
into the pro dictatorship leanings of a diplomat who formerly
represented a military government at the UN.
Gambari documents here, and
imagine what similar internal documents about the (in)actions of
Gambari's successor Vijay Nambiar will show. Watch this site.
* * *
ICC Strategy Pitched, UN Ban Meeting
& US Quote Followed by Inaction
or UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Group of Friends on Myanmar, have a place in the upcoming
UN General Debate week. In the run-up, fifteen blocks from the UN,
there was a film screening and panel discussion about the
International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma, held at the
glitzy Paley Center for Media on September 16.
Initiative told an auditorium packed with well
dress and well meaning New Yorkers that they should write to US
Permanent Representative Susan Rice to thank her for President
Obama's belated joining of a call for a international inquiry into
war crimes in the country.
in US position, after Obama first changed policy to one
of engagement with the Than Shwe military government. It's easy for
an unnamed US official to join a call for an international inquiry
which will never happen, these skeptics say.
on and from the UN Security Council, can attest
that the US these days rarely even tried to raise the issue of
Myanmar. A senior US official who met with the Press earlier on
September 16 confided not being briefed about the upcoming Group of
Friends on Myanmar meeting.
propounded at the September 16 session was to press for Myanmar to be
referred to the International Criminal Court. Since Myanmar is not a
member of the ICC, this could only be accomplished by a referral from
the UN Security Council.
it is crystal
clear that any referral of Myanmar to the ICC would be vetoed by
China, as well as Russia. Strangely in Thursday night's discussion,
the word China wasn't once used.
be promoting a strategy that has no chance of
success to such high profile and high income New Yorkers. But perhaps
that's not the goal?
UN's Ban, Jody Williams, Thin Thin Aung et al
on March 4, 2010, follow up not shown
Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma in March
2010, Jody Williams and several others including Thin Thin Aung of the
Women's League of Burma met with Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon. So far, no read out appears to have been given, nor follow up
taken. Watch this site.
movie “This Is My Witness: Women of
Burma Break the Silence” was screened, and afterward Jody Williams
urged moderator Pat Mitchell to do what she can to get it screened at
Sundance. Also, a portion of “Burma Soldier” by Annie Sundberg
was shown, in which a former Burmese military officer described the
routine rape of ethnic women in Myanmar.
Security Council resolution 1820, about sexual violence
and conflict, which may be more promising that the UNSC to ICC
strategy. But will UN sexual violence and conflict official Margot
Wallstrom, asleep at the switch during the recent Congo rape scandal,
do anything about Burma?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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