Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As Ban Ki-moon Moves For 2d UN Term, Human Rights Groups Go Silent To Keep Access, Press Controlled

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 -- Ban Ki-moon has been subject to critiques for being weak on human rights for nearly all of his four and a half years as UN Secretary General. While such weakness is surely a comfort to many UN member states, to others at least on paper it should be a problem, in supporting him for a second term. So how did Ban seek to turn this around?

  One way is to control what people say. In the run-up to Ban's drive for a second term, Human Rights Watch had been critical of Ban's record. But after HRW director Kenneth Roth met with Ban this Spring, and Inner City Press asked HRW on the record if Roth had brought up Ban's record in Myanmar, Sudan or Sri Lanka, the response by HRW's UN Director,a former journalist, was:

To preserve our ability to have frank discussions with UN officials and advance our advocacy goals, we don't typically communicate on the content of discussions we have with them.”

  UN officials, of course, should not condition listening to or acting on human rights concerns on the silence of their interlocutors. (Separately, it is unclear to whom HRW would communicate what it raised: only donors?)

  But such a non-answer, delivered less than ten days before the June 6 campaign kick off for a second term as UN Secretary General, is certainly better for Ban.

Ban & book; rights communications withheld to keep access

  Earlier this Spring a group of ethnic Tamils came to the UN trying to deliver a petition calling for an international investigation into what they -- and Ban's own Panel of Experts -- call the killing of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians by Sri Lanka's government.

  They asked Inner City Press to cover their demonstration across First Avenue from Ban's office. The Ban administration told them that a mid level official would be willing to accept the handover of their petition in the lobby of the UN General Assembly, but that no members of the press should be among their group.

  Inner City Press stood to the side, to not hear anything that was said, and took two photographs of the handover. Shortly thereafter, Inner City Press was told that if photos of the handover were published, the Ban administration would not meet again with that group.

  There are in the wider world worse ways to silence people. But questions exist as to whether these actions are appropriate to the UN, not only for the past five years, but for five to come. Watch this site.

* * *

Amid Ban's 1 Candidate Anointment, Global Model UN Had 10, Staff Union Charged With Just What Ban Does

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- With the UN Secretary General for the next five years about to be anointed with only one candidate and no competition, the ironies abound. Even the Global Model United Nations had ten candidates to lead its upcoming meeting in Incheon, South Korea.

  At a June 10 briefing, Inner City Press asked the winner, Tatiana Makarova of the Russian Federation, about the competition. As written up by the UN itself, “Asked how she had been selected to be Secretary-General and if there had been more than one candidate, Ms. Makarova said that 10 people had been nominated from around the world in a long and difficult process. Debates and interviews had followed.”

  For Ban Ki-moon, by contrast, there have been no debates at all. He made his pitch in closed door meetings with regional groups, and now awaits a Security Council rubber stamp vote on June 16, when he won't even be in the country but rather visiting Security Council member Brazil.

  A Caribbean nation's Permanent Representative told Inner City Press later on June 10, “once the Big Five signed off on Ban, it was a done deal, the rest of us are just window dressing.” He referred to the second stamp, even more rubber, set for the General Assembly on June 21.

  But even without competition, sources in Ban's office tell Inner City Press that recently the re-appointment has been the focus of that offices work, putting pressure on member states to get instructions from their capitals within 24 hours and issue statements.

Deal signed for GMUN in Incheon, other deals not shown

  Ironically, in the contested UN Staff Union election held from June 7-9, the incumbents who have been critical of Ban are charged with using their UN offices on 48th Street for campaigning - meanwhile, Ban's Office just to the south has long been devoted to politicking. What could happen, before June 16 and 21? Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, Ban Ki-moon 2d Term Set June 16 in Council, June 21 in GA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 10 -- The final steps of the one candidate reannointment of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General have now been scheduled. The Security Council met behind closed doors on June 10 and decided that they will vote -- or merely “gavel” -- Ban has their single recommendation on June 16.

Then, they say, the General Assembly will take final action on June 21. There was no such scheduling of date for other candidates to be presented, as even the International Monetary Fund did. The IMF said candidates by today, June 10, interviews and a decision by June 30.

At the UN, Ban announced on June 6 in a press conference at which Inner City Press asked him if he didn't think there should be more than one candidate, given what he's said about democracy and the Arab Spring. Ban said it's up to member states.

Ban & Assad, both in the news, one set to be re-annointed

After Ban held closed door meetings with regional groups, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky if he would be giving a speech or taking questions in the General Assembly.

Nesirky referred back to the meetings with regional groups and others, all of which were behind closed doors. Those, apparently, were the interview, except for commitments the Permanent Five members who could block Ban have extracted.

Among many of those working for the UN there is dissatisfaction with Ban for making the UN lower profile, less independent, more partisan. Many diplomats too, have voiced that, for example when the scathing review of Ban by outgoing Office of Internal Oversight chief Inga Britt Ahlenius was leaked.

But in the world of diplomacy, once the fix is in few see an upside to speaking out. “What can we do?” one Latin American country's Permanent Representative asked Inner City Press.

The deciders are the Permanent Five members, and clearly they like a relatively quiet and pliant Secretary General. To go otherwise would be akin to allowing a sixth veto. And so it goes.

* * *

At UN as Ban Pushes for 2d Term, Sees No Need or Time for Other Candidates

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 6 -- Ban Ki-moon on Monday told the press he is seeking a second term as UN Secretary General. Inner City Press asked Ban if he thought the UN should have a more formal process of soliciting more than one candidate, holding interviewed, developing a short list.

  “It's up to member states,” Ban said, then said it would be natural if both the Security Council and the General Assembly took up his request for a second term this week, while the Presidents of Nigeria and Gabon are at the UN. So, no time for any other candidates to declare.

  Ban intends to meet with the African Group Monday at 3, then on Tuesday with the Eastern European states then Western European and Other Group and GRULAC.

  Ban's first move was to tell the Asia Group, at a breakfast Monday morning, that he wants a second term. Ban said they have supported him.

  After Ban's press conference, Inner City Press interviewed a Deputy Permanent Representative who attended the meeting. He said that no vote was taken, but rather “acclamation.”

Ban & Gaddafi: one candidate elections not shown

 Inner City Press asked if Sri Lanka spoke, and the DPR said yes, Syria as well. He did not see any North Korea representative in the room, he said. We will have more on this.

Update of 1:30 pm -- US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo, exiting the Security Council, answered about Ban second term by saying the US will be issuing a statement. In the IMF race, Timothy Geithner hedges on whether US supports Christine Lagarde, there being a Mexican candidate Agostin Carstens in the race. So why this one-candidate process at the UN?

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -