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Sept 24, 2013

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Exclusive: UN Staff Union Concerned As UN Spreads COVID in South Sudan, Guterres & Spox Won't Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon Video Q&A
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - SDNY/FOIA Pod

UN GATE, Dec 23 – Each day, the current United Nations less accountable. It has refused to answer Inner City Press' questions why it sponsored a press conference by Ghislaine Maxwell even after her collaborator Jeffrey Epstein served a too-brief prison term for pedophilia. On COVID during UNGA week, an unvaccinated Brazilian diplomat who flew into New York and entered the "honor system" UN General Assembly on September 21 then tested positive for COVID.

 Now the day after December 22 when UN President of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid tested positive for COVID, Inner City Press has been robtained a leaked copy of the UN Staff Union concern about the handling of Omicron, as UN Tours are canceled and UN Spokespeople refuse Inner City Press' questions about UN's mishandling of COVID in South Sudan (see below) and elsewhere. Here's the Staff Union: " STAFF UNION BROADCAST New York Wed 12/22/2021 5:10 PM   Dear colleagues,   The Staff Council met on Tuesday 21 to discuss the increasingly alarming reports on the new wave of COVID-19 hitting the New York area and the simultaneous increase in cases reported at the UN workplace. The Staff Council appreciated the message of 18 December 2021 from USG Michaud, Chair of the OSH Committee, announcing reinforced preventive measures (namely, allowing all staff to work remotely where functions allow), as well as the responsiveness demonstrated by a majority of managers in the week starting 20 December.   After discussing the evolving situation and the foreseeable outlook for the coming weeks and months, the Staff Council felt it was important to call for: Clarifying the current status of working arrangements, for the benefit of all staff and managers, by requesting the reinstatement of Alternate Work Arrangements (AWA) Extending the current measures through 31 Jan 2022, as this most recent surge is unlikely to abate in three weeks. Recognizing the additional risk and burden placed on essential on-site staff, who have been on the front line of the pandemic for nearly two years, and to make this recognition effective through danger pay, special leave when required to isolate due to close contact with positive cases, and preferential parking access for those required to come in to work every day... stay safe!   Aitor Arauz President, UNSU General Secretary, UNISERV."

Another Inner City Press exclusive, put to UN spokespeople without any answer after Inner City Press was contacted by UN whistleblowers in South Sudan with this, exclusive: "Hello Matthew, here is an update concerning sudden surge of covid in UNMISS camp. Covid has been very kept low profile in South Sudan in past few months. Only 40% of staff are strictly following protocols. Of course there is no strict policy to those who are not followed Covid measurements. Very few staff follow to wear mask. True story: a staff was returning from leave . He did rapid test on 4th day and was advised to return home until his results were clear. He didn't listen and went to an end of the year party and spread covid. In some regions,  end of the years party was celebrated, then many tested positive.   UMISS is just pretending that they follow the covid measuress, in reality the senior management doesn't know how to control and prevent COVID.  The senior management will never follow CDC updated instructions. They only care to secure their jobs." Sounds like Guterres, who has banned Inner City Press 1367 days.

  On September 21, even while banned Inner City Press covered what it could of the entrances to the lawless "honor system" UNGA, for example Nigeria and Bangladesh, then Bolonsaro and Biden. Since July, NYC-based Inner City Press has asked the UN in writing why it would hold this super spreader event, after bringing cholera to Haiti. No answers.

Later on September 21, this: Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for Covid-19. He will be quarantined for 14 days in New York, in isolation, and will not return to Brazil for the time being. The information was confirmed by the Special Secretariat for Social Communication (Secom) on Monday night.  The minister is in New York, where he accompanied the delegation of President Jair Bolsonaro... Queiroga stated that he will remain in quarantine in the US.   He was at the UN General Assembly today.

Back on September 18, in violation of NYC COVID law and of basic free press principles, this: "Dear colleagues,  MALU has just informed us that there will be a stakeout on Monday, September 20th at 11:40 am with the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson. A limited number of only five (5) RESIDENT media, as well as a couple of photographers will be accommodated.   RSVPs will be taken on a first come first served basis. Please send your name to no later than 4:00 PM TODAY (09/18) with the subject line "STAKEOUT RSVP" if you want to attend.  The first 5 names will receive a confirmation from the UNCA Office and will be sent to MALU.  Thank you for your attention and cooperation.  Valeria Robecco President, United Nations Correspondents Association."

 Note: The UK Mission to the UN refuses Press questions, including about its failure on its failures in its former colony Southern British Cameroons (Ambazonia).

 The UN has neither responded to or offered any explanation when a lawyer's letter - to UN official Fleming, and Tal Mekel, and to each UNCA Executive Committee member - urged them to have a dialogue about ending the UN's banning and censorship of Inner City Press.

On August 9, an independent (minded) journalist asked Dujarric about the letter, video here,

The letter was received by the UN's Melissa Fleming, Maria Luiza Vioti and Tal Mekel and to each UNCA Executive Board member, to them citing UNCA's stated goals that it has a charter to supposedly uphold.

What's next? Since the letter, Inner City Press has published exclusive stories not only from the U.S. court systems but about the United Nations, including its agencies UNOPS, UNFPA, UNITAR and UNESCO. (Also credited in AP, Daily Mail, and Nigeria's Sahara Reporters, amid answers from the IMF.)

But none of its written questions have been answered by the UN Spokespeople, and it remains banned from entry to the UN's briefings. This must end.   


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