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On Iran, ICP Asks Shaheed About His Sanctions Quotes, Murky World of Spin

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 -- What are the effects and place of sanctions and "de-SWIFT-ing" on countries, as relates to human rights? Inner City Press on October 27 asked the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, for this view, both in his formal reports and as reported.

  Specifically, Inner City Press asked if the removal of Iran from SWIFT made the purchase of medicine more difficult, and about a comment attributed to him the day before by Reuters, in an article that did not disclose where or in what context Shaheed said he favor travel bans and other "smart" sanctions.

  Shaheed said he does not favor general sanctions; to another question he appeared to step back from supporting sanctions on individuals. Inner City Press asked him directly where and with whom (at least, which countries' delegations) he had met the day before.

  The Reuters quotes (and a related CBS "humble-brag" in the UN's October 27 noon briefing, which may not have given rise to any actual reporting) he said were from a "breakfast with media" sponsored by Human Rights Watch. HRW unlike other NGOs does not disclose or open such session, nor would it tell Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access, when they asked, what HRW had raised to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

 Shaheed said he met met with the Missions of the US, (South) Korea, UK and Canada. Seeming to note the lack of balance, he added, "Iran." Oh.

  Still, Shaheed is one of the more transparent Rapporteurs; Inner City Press briefly asked him about Maldives afterward. Watch this site.


On October 26 when Idriss Jazairy, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights held a UN press conference, Inner City Press asked him about sanctions on Sudan and Eritrea, his proposal for a registry, and about the use of SWIFT to in essence impose sanctions. Tweeted photo here.

  Idriss Jazairy declined to comment on Eritrea, saying Security Council sanctions are being his jurisdiction. He was critical of unilateral measures on Sudan, which he said he will visit in November. He likened his registry proposal to that in place for conventional arms.

  On SWIFT, he said he its use makes it impossible, for example, for cancer patients in Iran to get medicine. Earlier on October 26, the past president of UNCA, now the UN Censorship Alliance, bragged about UN Rapporteur Ahdmed Shaheed's "preview" of his presentation on Iran, which Reuters later channeled without saying where Shaheed spoke. Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked the OHCHR spokesperson, who said he didn't know. We'll have more on this.
 

On October 20 when the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mťndez held a press conference, Inner City Press asked him for his view of the only partial release of the US Senate's report on CIA torture, about Guantanamo Bay and whether he thought President Barack Obama's visit to a prison might make his long-pending request to visit US prisons move faster. Video here.

   Mendez said there should be more release(s), and accountability. He said he had had to request the US' conditional offers to visit Guantanamo Bay and US prisons, as he would not be allowed to speak with all prisoners. He praise Obama's visit, but still - Mendez can't get in.

On October 16 when the Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Benyam Dawit Mezmur held a press conference at the UN, Inner City Press asked him about US President Barack Obama's decision to continue to provide military aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan, despite all four being on the UN's (and US') lists on children and armed conflict. Video here. 

    Benyam Dawit Mezmur said that while the US is the lone holdout on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the issue can still be gotten-at under the Optional Protocol. Inner City Press asked about the sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic by French and UN peacekeepers.

   Benyam Dawit Mezmur replied that the Committee is asking France about the alleged sexual abuse of children, and will conduct a review in January. We aim to have more on this.

  At the press conference, there were only two correspondents, as there was an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Palestine at the same time. Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access thanked Benyam Dawit Mezmur for the briefing but suggested that in the future postponement of briefings, so that more journalists could attend, be considered. UNCA wasn't present at all; nor has it disclosed the extend of funding and connection by indicted David Ng and Frank Lorenzo and their affiliates.

 Also on the UN, when the UN find a staff member using the UN's email system to trafficking in sexual images of minors, a crime, what does it do? On October 16, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about this paragraph from a UN report it had dug up:

ď49. A staff member sent, through the Organizationís e-mail system, pornographic material, including pornographic material involving a minor, and failed to report that another staff member had sent the staff member inappropriate material though the Organizationís e-mail system. Disposition: dismissal.Ē

  Inner City Press asked, was that all that happened, dismissal? Such that the person could, for example, work in a day care center? Haq said in instances the UN waives immunity.

  Inner City Press asked, how would law enforcement know that the person had used the UN's email system for child porn? Haq said there have been cases in which the UN told local authorities. Inner City Press asked, did it do so in this case? Apparently, the UN will not answer this. For now. Here are other paragraphs:

46. A staff member stored pornographic material, including pornography involving a minor, on the staff memberís United Nations computer, distributed other pornographic material through the Organizationís e-mail system and failed to report that another staff member had sent the staff member inappropriate material through the Organizationís e-mail system. Disposition: dismissal.

47. A staff member sent, through the Organizationís e-mail system, and stored on the staff memberís United Nations computer, pornographic material involving a minor and, on other occasions, distributed, through the Organizationís e -mail system, other pornographic material. Disposition: dismissal.

 48. A staff member sent, through the Organizationís e-mail system, pornographic material involving a minor and, on three other occasions, distributed other pornographic material through the Organizationís e-mail system and stored pornographic material on the staff memberís United Nations computer. Disposition: dismissal.

 The report is entitled "Practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters and cases of criminal behaviour, 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015."

We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

 

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