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ICP Asks UN Why UNICEF is “Official Child Rights Org” for Baku 2015: Issues

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- Why would any UN agency, particularly UNICEF, sponsor Azerbaijan's European Games? Inner City Press asked the UN on June 11 and was told, reflexively it seems, that it might not be true.

  But the publicity material has already been released: UNICEF is the “Offical Child Rights Organization” of Baku 2015. Why?

  According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who it the one who at noon on June 11 said it might not be true and didn't follow up on this by the end of the day, the UN likes to be part of big sporting events, “to engage different public on issues that are of importance.” But what issues is UNICEF engaging in Azerbaijan?

  In fact, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, rather than pushing on any of the human rights and freedom of the press issues that many groups are, issued through Dujarric an unequivocal expression of support for Azerbaijan on June 11, pointedly saying the another UN official who raised questions was NOT speaking for the UN. So much for engaging on issues.

  UNICEF, along with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Peacekeeping, and later Ban himself, knew of detailed allegations of child rape by French soldiers in the Central African Republic, and did not even tell CAR authorities - it was, in essence, a cover up. Now this.

  Here's what Inner City Press asked the UN on June 11, and Spokeman Dujarric's responses:

Inner City Press: Your statement on the Secretary-General fully supporting the European Games in Azerbaijan: there’s a controversy about UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has been declared the official child rights organization of the European Games and even some Member States have said it’s inappropriate, given issues that have existed about child rights in the country, in fact a child rights organization that’s been kind of prosecuted by the Government.  So I wanted to know, first of all, for the UN system as a whole, is there a situation in which, sort of, like, Coca-Cola or something else, that a UN fund, program or agency can become the official one, the official child rights organization of a game like this?  And is it appropriate?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I’d have to check with UNICEF as to the very nature of that agreement they’ve signed with the authorities organizing the games and I can answer you in more details.  I think it is… we see often these large sports events having a UN presence.  It’s a good way for the United Nations agencies to engage different public on issues that are of importance.  We often engage in places where things aren’t perfect and engaging is a way of improving that record.

Inner City Press: what the critics say is that it’s one thing to work in a country that has problems but to try to help people.  But it’s something else to basically have this sponsoring—

Spokesman Dujarric:  Like I said, I would not dare disagree with what you’re reading but I would have to check as the very nature of that report.

  Well, six hours later when his Office closed on June 11, there had been no checking or further information. Watch this site.


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