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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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At the UN, No Answers on Sudan's Kalma Camp and UNDP's Rogue Res-Rep in Philippines

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse

UNITED NATIONS, August 27 -- At the UN these days, many questions are asked and few are answered. Monday for example a raid on a refugee camp in Darfur drew no comment. Nor did a growing call in the Philippines for the UN to pull out its resident coordinator, Nileema Noble of the UN Development Program. UNDP has already refused to comment on 13 of its staff members' letter to Administrator Kemal Dervis about Ms. Noble. Now a petition to the wider UN draws no comment. From Monday's transcript:

Inner City Press: There's a report that the Sudanese Liberation Movement had written to Ban Ki-moon asking for an investigation of Sudan's raid on the Kalma Camp.  Have you gotten that request and what is the UN going to do about it?

Spokesperson:  No, I don't have the letter yet.  I'll let you know when it is received.

Inner City Press: Also, and I'm less sure of whether it went to Ban Ki-moon or not, but there's supposedly a petition from the Philippines to seek the removal from the country of the UN's Resident Coordinator, Neilman [sic - it's Nileema] Noble.  It was reported in the Philippine press.  It was petitioned by many NGO’s and ex-legislators.

Spokesperson:  No, we're not aware of this.

Inner City Press: One last thing, sorry, to make it three strikes and you're out. 

            Who's out? Not yet Michael C. Williams. Despite having given notice that he is leaving the UN to become the UK's envoy to the Middle East, still on Monday questions about the Shebaa Farms were referred to Michael Williams.

From right, Williams, Ban and Kim Won-soo, described as Special Advisor (what happened to Deputy chef de cabinet?)

Meanwhile, even a question that was answered in the transcript remains unclear:

Question:  We heard a report that the UN may be considering sending a human rights team to the Ogaden region of Ethiopia to investigate allegations of human rights abuses there.  Do you know anything about that?

[The Spokesperson later confirmed that the Secretary-General had received this letter.]

            Inner City Press subsequent annotation: the question wasn't about a letter, but whether in fact the UN will be sending a team to Ogadan. Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: A follow-up question on that.  There was that New York Times report about a month ago, saying that WHO and UNICEF were going to investigate claims that their polio vaccine program was diverted to military use.  I've tried to ask each of them, what’s the upshot?  If we could just get some kind of update, if they looked into it and what their findings were?

Spokesperson:  Okay.

            But when, oh when?  Watch this site.

* * *

Clck here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540