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On North Korea, ICP Asks UNSR Quintana of Seafood Sanctions & Previous Myanmar Stint

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 –  When Tomas Ojea Quintana, for a year the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), took questions on October 27, Inner City Press asked about his contacts with DPRK officials, his view of the impact of sanctions on for example the seafood industry and whether UN Special Rapporteur should all consider the impact of sanctions, as is not done for example on Eritrea. Quintana said he is reaching out through humanitarian groups; he seemed to grow frustrated with all the questions being about sanctions - first one given automatically to the UN Correspondents Association a/k/a UN Censorship Alliance in fine North Korean style. Afterward Inner City Press asked him to reflect on his previous stint as rapporteur on Myanmar. Unsure if it was entirely on the record, and under pretextual threat by the UN trying to cut off reporting on Cameroon and Antonio Guterres' failure there, we'll for now only say: the alarms on Myanmar were sounded, but those atop the UN ignored them. When Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, took questions on October 26, Inner City Press asked her about the government not approving a replacement for UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien, who is now leaving at the end of October. Ms. Lee confirmed that the government has rejected a UN Assistant Secretary General being sent, not wanting that special attention. She said a person already in the country could be interim Resident Coordinator and that while a new UN Special Adviser might be necessary, it would be important who that person is. Some might ask, why not her? Two hours later on October 26 Inner City Press aske UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar and the UN's presence there, the Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, in a press conference this morning, you know, acknowledged that the UN had asked for an Assistant Secretary-General to replace Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien and had been rejected by the Government.  She's… would be in a position to know.  So, I take… given that, can you say, one, why hasn't… why… you know, can… will you confirm it as a Secretariat representative? And where does it stand… given that we're now 26 October and the… the Resident Coordinator is leaving by the end of the month, where does it stand in terms of having a replacement? What did Mr. [Jeffrey] Feltman leave the country… what was his understanding in terms of who would be running the country team in less than a week? Deputy Spokesman:  I do expect, in the coming days, we'll be able to have an announcement about who will be the Officer-in-Charge of our operations in Myanmar.  We're not at that stage yet, but, like I said, I do expect to have an announcement shortly, and we'll have the details at this point. Inner City Press: Given that she's now said that an ASG [Assistant Secretary-General] was proposed… I'd asked you about Mr. Magdy of… of UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], whether he was the one, but it seems like… do you have a problem confirming that?  She's also a UN system official or Special Rapporteur.  Is she wrong? Deputy Spokesman:  I'm not going to dispute the words of the Special Rapporteur.  We don't go into the discussions that we're having on various positions.  Once we have an announcement to make, like I said, we'll make it.  We're not at that point just yet. Yanghee Lee directed Inner City Press to the Flickr photographs on her mandate's website; they are here, including the toddler she described in her closing statement to the Third Committee on October 25. This is one side of the UN on human rights; here is another: the UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on Friday afternoon at 5 pm. The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.

  It also comes after Alison Smale the head of the Department of Public Information which would “review” Inner City Press' accreditation has ignored three separate petitions from Inner City Press in the six weeks she has been in the job, urging her to remove restrictions on Inner City Press' reporting which hinder its coverage of the UN's performance in such crises as Yemen, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic where Guterres travels next week, with Smale's DPI saying its coverage of the trip will be a test of its public relations ability. But the UN official who triggered the complaint is Maher Nasser, who filled in for Smale before she arrived.

UN's Letter Threatening to Review Inner City Press' Accreditation for Audio Report While Staking Out on Cam... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

His complaint is that audio of what he said to Inner City Press as it staked out the elevators in the UN lobby openly recording, as it has for example with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, here, was similarly published

A UN “Public Information” official is complaining about an article, and abusing his position to threaten to review Inner City Press' accreditation. The UN has previously been called out for targeting Inner City Press, and for having no rules or due process. But the UN is entirely UNaccountable, impunity on censorship as, bigger picture, on the cholera it brought to Haiti. And, it seems, Antonio Guterres has not reformed or reversed anything. This threat is from an official involved in the last round of retaliation who told Inner City Press on Twitter to be less "negative" about the UN - amid inaction on the mass killing in Cameroon - and who allowed pro-UN hecking of Inner City Press' questions about the cholera the UN brought to Haiti and the Ng Lap Seng /John Ashe UN bribery scandal which resulted in six guilty verdicts. We'll have more on this.


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