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For Treaty Event, UN Won't Apply ATT To Arming Syria Rebels, Of Mercury

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- The Arms Trade Treaty is five ratifications short of going into effect, and the UN's Santiago Villalpando, Chief of the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs, told the press on September 19 that the the five will come in soon, during the UN General Debate.

Inner City Press asked Villalpando how the Arms Trade Treaty might apply for example to recent decisions to provide weapons to the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Peshmerga and now rebels in Syria.

   Villalpando declined to answer that question, saying the ATT is only one of more than 500 treaties deposited with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  One of these 500 in the Treaty Event booklet and of interest to Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access is listed under “Chapter XVII,” is “Freedom of Information.”

  This is ironic, in that the UN itself has no Freedom of Information Act or procedure, as Inner City Press has reported and the Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA, presses for.

Actually, though, this treaty is about cracking down on information. Yes, this is the UN.

Masa Nagai, Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions of UNEP, talked up the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Inner City Press asked about push-back in Japan, against storage rather than export of mercury. Masa Nagai called it “evolutionary.” This too is the UN.

Footnote: Inner City Press got the first question, but said, “Let's leave this unbranded,” thanking the briefer on behalf of the journalists present. It only says “for the Free UN Coalition for Access” when the old UN Correspondents Association, turned into the UN's Censorship Alliance when its Executive Committee tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, tries to impose its brand. On September 19, none of them even came, too busy in the privatized world the UN grants them. We'll have more on this.


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