Heller to Meet S.Korea, No Questions on Africa, 70% of Council
Criticism of its Officials, Uses But Seeks Exclusion of New
June 10 -- While the UN is supposed to stand for free speech
and freedom of the press, in its operations even in its headquarters
it has engaged in censorship and remains resistant to new media.
for example a
letter was recently posted on the UN's i-Seek website which
criticized among others the Under Secretary General for Management,
and spoke of filing a UN Dispute Tribunal complaint against Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon, the UN official in charge of i-Seek
unceremoniously had the letter removed. He wrote to the Union
president on June 8:
Kiyotaka Akasaka/NY/UNO@UNHQ, Angela Kane/NY/UNO@UNHQ, Catherine
writing to you in my capacity as Chair of the Editorial Board of
to inform you that "A Letter from the President United
Nations Staff Union", No. 5 (dated 27 May 2010 and posted on
iSeek under "Global Announcements" by the Staff Union and
under "Staff Unions" by the iSeek Editorial team) has now
been removed from the website on the basis of the "iSeek
Guidelines", Section V. Guiding Principles, where the following
may be a forum for presenting differing views on issues of
concern to staff, it should not be used to denigrate any staff
to be vigilant in making sure that content does adhere strictly
to these Principles, and an oversight was made in this case.
your kind attention and regards.
the UN feels
free to remove or censor, as the Staff Union sees it, anything that
arguably denigrates a UN official, the UN in this case is practice a
form of lese majeste, as in
countries which it is a crime to
criticize the monarch.
As UN "celebrates World Press Freedom," bloggers and
criticism not shown
approached Under Secretary General Kiyo Akasaka the same day the
above directive was sent, and asked both about the apparent
censorship, and about the exclusion of bloggers from the UN's Media
Accreditation guidelines. Mr. Akasaka said that a subordinate, soon
to leave to UNESCO, is in charge of i-Seek, and is enforcing the
non-denigration policy that the UN has, apparently without considering
freedom of expression. He told Inner City Press
about his own blog.
the UN talks
about, and even haltingly uses, new media like blogs, its Media
Accreditation guidelines remain outmoded, speaking of "bona
fide" and "registered media organizations." Who
decides what's bona fide? Registered with whom, in a country with a
advocacy, Inner City Press expects soon to finally see bloggers
explicitly included in the UN's Media Accreditation guidelines which
the UN is revising, it is 2010. Censorship and outmoded exclusions
show yet another gap between what the UN says, and what it does.
Watch this site.
* * *
Defense Lawyer Erlinder, UN Silent, ICTR Writes Cautious Letter
5 -- When Peter Erlinder, a defense lawyer before the
UN affiliated International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was
arrested in Kigali for things he's said that are related to the
defense he is currently putting up for opposition presidential
candidate Victoire Ingabire, one expected the UN to protest the
asked, at the UN's June 3 noon briefing in New York, if there was any
response by the Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, or at least the ICTR. UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe
said "I have no information on that, but I’ll take your
came in from the ICTR, attributable to ICTR spokesperson
yet certain that the arrest has anything to do with Professor
Peter Erlinder's work in ICTR as his travel to Kigali was not
connected to his mandate with ICTR. When we learnt about the arrest
we have immediately sent a correspondence in the form of an Official
Note Verbale to the Rwandan authorities to get clarification as to
whether the arrest may have had any relationship with the stance
Professor Erlinder has taken in the context of the Defence of his
client. We have yet to receive a formal reply. Normally, lawyers do
enjoy immunity for the stance they take in legal proceedings."
charged for genocide denial, which is what his client is charged
with. The role of Kagame's RPF is central to the defenses defendants
must put up in the ICTR. But if one can be arrested for this, no
defense or due process is possible.
UN's Ban at ICTR, defense of defense lawyer Erlinder not shown
Erlinder's family thinks the
Rwandan government is seeking to physically harm or even kill
Erlinder. And the UN affiliated ICTR says, "We are not yet certain that
arrest has anything to do with Professor Peter Erlinder's work in
ICTR." Watch this site.
* * *
2, updated -- South Korea will meet with this month's UN
Security Council president Claude Heller on the afternoon of June 2,
about the sinking of the ship Cheonan. This was the news that emerged
from Heller's 45 minute press conference earlier on June 2,
describing the Council's
program of work for June.
for 70% of the items of the Council's agenda, no a single
question about Africa was posed or taken at Wednesday's press
conference. Afterward, two of Heller's aides put the onus on the
press corps. "Africa is not news," a mainstream reporter
told Inner City Press, when asked.
has his role. As chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee, he
traveled to Yemen, Eritrea and other African nations recently. But he
never briefed the Press upon his return. Inner City Press sought to
ask about Somalia -- after, to be fair, asking two other questions --
but could not get the question in.
conference, Heller told Inner City Press he will belatedly brief the
Council about his Somalia related trip "in July." By then,
though, the news is stale. And what about getting food aid back into
Claude Heller and his able spokesman, Somalia not shown
to travel to Afghanistan this month, but Heller wouldn't give the
date, presumably for safety reasons. One assumes that Taliban will
know about the trip if it happens.
On June 14,
all of the UN system's
heavy hitters on Sudan will come to the Council: Ibrahim Gambari,
Haile Menkerios, Djibril Bassole and Thabo Mbeki. What will they say,
including about Sudanese president Omar al Bashir turning himself in
to the International Criminal Court in The Hague?
that topic, after clarification(s) from the Office of the
Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon-- who will, it is now
confirmed since the first Inner
City Press report this morning, be
speaking to the media at 5 p.m. on June 2, after meeting with the
Permanent Five members of the Security Council. Watch this site.
Update of 3:42 p.m.
-- And 40 minutes after the Press set up at stakeout, Heller and two
aides walked into the Council suite of rooms. But where are the South
p.m. -- As S.Korean minister enters with two aides, he's
asked, "do you have a message" for the Council? We have
"nothing yet," he replies as enters. Hmm.
p.m. -- Choi Young-jin, who among other things is Ban
Ki-moon's representative to Cote d'Ivoire, rushes into the Council.
It seems doubtful that Laurent Gbagbo is his topic. So who is Choi
representing? Watch this site.
p.m. -- for the record Choi Young-jin, who among other things
is Ban Ki-moon's representative to Cote d'Ivoire, tells the Press
that he his business in the Council WAS Ivorian. "Tomorrow,"
he says. "The letter?" one reporter asks. Another says,
"What a coincidence." Maybe it is.
p.m. -- Choi Young-jin has come back, and back into the
Council. Is THIS trip about Cote d'Ivoire?
p.m. -- Vice minister Chun Yung-woo emerges from Council. He
tells the Press South Korea is trying to find the right time for the
Council members to begin deliberations. "That is not true!"
one reporter yells. "You can bring your letter any time you
want! Why don't you have your letter in your hand?"
cracks a smile. South Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative leads
him away. We have other appointments, he says. And just after, Choi
Young-jin emerges from the Council. It's a wrap -- onward to Ban
Ki-moon's 5 p.m. presser. Watch this site.
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
Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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
Press are listed here,
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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