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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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Ban Ki-moon's Son in Law Denies Censorship by Threats, Dodges on War Crimes, Cc's UN Spox

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19 – Ban Ki-moon, days after he left being UN Secretary General, saw the indictment for bribery of his brother Ban Ki Sang and nephew Dennis Bahn, who worked at the UN's landlord Colliers International, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

As to Dennis Bahn, this was and is a case of nepotism, including given his employment at Colliers International of which Inner City Press repeatedly asked Ban's spokespeople, here in 2015. But the nepotism issue became much earlier, when Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee was repeatedly promoted in the UN system under Ban, more recently by Ban himself to the top UN job in Kenya in August 2016.

   In September 2016 Inner City Press asked to interview Chatterjee and he refused. On Sunday February 19 -- precisely one year after Ban, his Office of the Spokesperson and his head of Communications Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press physically thrown out of the UN with no hearing or appeal for seeking to cover corruption in Ban's UN in the Press Briefing Room -- Chatterjee had an underling three times telephone Inner City Press.

   As we reported in 2009, Chatterjee got an article removed from the Indian Star website - there's more to be reporting on how - and Chatterjee when asked to "confirm or deny that you acted to get an article about yourself removed from a publication, on information and belief the Indian Star" states he "did tell [the reporter] that what was published in the Star  was untrue and libellous." That he was promoted? Under his father in law whose other relatives have now been indicted for using their connections to him for financial gain?
  Censorship runs through this family.

    Asked if Inner City Press would commit sight unseen to publish something from Chatterjee, Inner City Press posed four sample questions, asking that they be answered and again requesting an on camera interview to be broadcast live and in full.

    On the late evening on Sunday February 19 -- the middle of the night in Kenya -- Chatterjee sent a narrative, copying it to Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq, who were spokesman and deputy spokesman for Ban Ki-moon and current hold (over) the same position for Antonio Guterres. Chatterjee demands that his narrative be published in full, something that CNN, for example, would never do - they in fact bar from their broadcasts officials they deemed to be untrustworthy. But we nevertheless publish it, below.

   Inner City Press responded, nearly immediately, with reiterated questions for Chatterjee to answer:

Inner City Press is request from you, again, answers to questions including:

what was your involvement in the IPKF's military operations in Jaffna including but not limited to its hospital;

confirm or deny that you acted to get an article about yourself removed from a publication, on information and belief the Indian Star;
confirm or deny that you offered or purported to offer a media member a job in the UN Secretariat, and if that was in the Office of the Spokesperson;

please state the last three times you have spoken with Ban Ki Sang (indicted and subject to an extradition order), Dennis Bahn (indicted) or Ban Ki Ho. Also, given your cc's, please summarize your most recent five conversations with Ban Ki-moon.

[Chatterjee states, on the record, "I don't know anything about the question you ask and have had no such conversations.  Mr Ban ki Moon is my father in law and I speak to him regularly." But no other family members? And, Chatterjee claims, no mention in these "regular" discussions of the irregular promotion to the top UN job in Kenya? We'll have more on this.]

please state whether you were the first selection to be UN RC in Kenya, and any and all agreements you reached with the Kenyan government to accept you.

  These are the questions, as I told [your intermediary] when you had him call me today, and when I requested to interview you, including in September 2016.

Please explain your cc to Stephane Dujarric and confirm or deny you have told UNON staff members they would be fired if they spoke to Inner City Press.

There are more questions, but this is the response to your [intermediary's] three calls this morning on Sunday and you 11 pm NY time email. Awaiting your response.

 Here is Chatterjee's narrative; watch this site.


For a decade now, you have been on a protracted campaign to publish allegations against me, accusing me of various wrongs including perpetrating war crimes and benefitting from nepotism.

You are a journalist and that is your right and your prerogative.

I am convinced based on your writings that you pursue the truth and therefore you are interested in presenting facts to your audience. Therefore I hope you will publish this response in its entirety with the same prominence as you have placed your accusation against me over time.

Let me start by stating unequivocally that it was a privilege and an honor for me to serve my country India, in a Special Forces unit. My alma mater the National Defence Academy and my time with my unit prepared me for taking on every challenge intellectually, physically and emotionally. I attribute my personal growth to the foundation that were laid in these two fineinstitutions, inspired by the credo of, “service before self”

Your accusations against me about my role in Sri Lanka are utterly false and I believe misinformed. I was a young Lieutenant when I joined my unit in Sri Lanka where there is a chain of command. The credit/responsibility you attribute to me are just impossible in the military command structure.

The fact is that I arrived in Sri Lanka having cut short a specialized combat under water diving course with the Indian Navy on October 16, 1987. The raid at Jaffna University took place on 12 October 1987. That in itself means I was not present with my unit on that day where Indian Peace Keepers from another unit took many casualties.

You have also alleged that I drove tanks over civilians. Please understand this, I have never been trained to operate a tank and have never attempted to operate one. My unit was nowhere near Jaffna Hospital and besides I come from a Special Forces unit and not a tank regiment. There was no question of my driving tanks over civilians, because our unit had no tanks and no ability or right to have one.

You allege that you got information that I stood over dead Tamil Tigers and took pictures. Again this is an absolutely baseless allegation. If you have the proof please publish such images. The ethos of the Indian Army is about honor, integrity and service, which my unit and all parts of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Sri Lanka upheld. No such incident ever happened. This violates the Geneva conventions and above all good soldierly conduct. The Indian military chain of command gave significant emphasis on good conduct.

My commanding officer in Sri Lanka, Major General Dalvir Singh, a highly decorated and widely respected general officer, has responded to your allegations, in his article, titled Siddharth Chatterjee is a man of honour.

[Chatterjee, again cc-ing his father in law's two spokesmen, complained there was a problem with the Internet links in the narrative he sent in in Microsoft Word. Singh's defense of him, link fixed, says "A blogger of questionable credentials, poor ethics and a filthy office, who runs a blog out of the United Nations in New York, has hurled scurrilous, unfounded and mendacious accusations of human rights violations against Chatterjee" - the office reference being to Ban's Department of Public Information raiding Inner City Press' office, taking photographs and having them leaked.]

I have my own views about the entire Sri Lanka event and this I have stated publicly. Please refer to my article, ‘A Good Neighbor”.

The above are the facts.

As regards my appointment as the UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, perhaps a bit of background may help. Every Resident Coordinator has to pass a UN Resident Coordinator Assessment. Failure rates at the assessment are quite high. A private human resources company from Canada undertook the assessment during my time. I passed the assessment in 2008 and was proposed by UNICEF (the agency I served with) to become the UN Resident Coordinator to Namibia in 2009. I declined that opportunity and instead opted to go to UNOPS, where I was selected to become the Regional Director for the Middle East and Europe. As the Regional Director in UNOPS I also turned down an opportunity for a promotion to D 2 (the positions of Regional Director had been reclassified as D2s by the Executive Board effective from 01 January, 2010) and opted to stay at the D-1 level, the rank at which I was recruited.

Forbes a reputable and reliable news source published this article following a thorough analysis on the accuracy of articles purporting that my success in the UN was due to nepotism. Misread Nepotism in the UN: Why Siddharth Chatterjee’s well Earned Appointment Deserves Explanation.

I applied for the UN Resident Coordinator role to Kenya in 2016 having got the support of UNFPA (I was the UNFPA Representative to Kenya) to do so, and went through a selection process called the Inter Agency Appointments Panel. Regardless of the decision being taken, the final decision rests with the Government of the country where an RC is being proposed to. Here is the announcement of my appointment in the Inter Press News Agency, once the Government of Kenya gave the green light following a request for an Agrément.

I am honored the Chair of the UN Development Group Ms Helen Clark, the UN system in Kenya and the Government of Kenya found me suitable for this role.

I have served 20 years in the UN system having started as an IFLD 4 in the UN mission in Sarajevo in 1997( 10 years before Mr Ban joined the UN) and became a P-5 in November 2004, as UNICEF’s Deputy Representative.

I met my wife in 2004 in Sudan during the Darfur crisis and married in 2006. This is well before Mr Ban became the United Nations Secretary General.

Here is my full and complete bio. This bio also includes a confidential and personal 360 degree performance review of my role as UNFPA’s Representative to Kenya since 2014.

I know that since 1997, when I started my UN career, there are some I may not see eye to eye within the UN. But as Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” And I have, without fear or favor.

Finally, you allege that, I have remained silent regarding human rights issues. I have always spoken out, publicly and privately. Here is the proof.

I have pressed the Government of Kenya on civil society space and passing of the Public Benefits Organization Act. Here is my speech.

Here are some of my articles in the public domain.

Obama And Putin Must Stop The Appalling Slaughter Of Syria's Children

For Child Soldiers, Every Day Is A Living Nightmare

Political contests must not push Kenya over the precipice again

Time for tough action to stop sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers.

Can India’s military veterans join the fight for women’s rights?

Here is a recent profile of my work to uphold human rights done by Forbes in Kenya.

Passionate Leader of UNFPA Kenya Battles Violence Against Women, FGM and Child Marriage

And here is a piece by the Star newspaper in Kenya.

Changing Kenya’s narrative as one of the most dangerous countries for women to give birth

Let me address a few specific issues you have raised in your articles:

1. My trip to Addis during the AU summit in late January 2017. I was in Addis at the specific invitation of the Government of Kenya to debrief on the ongoing Kenya-Ethiopia cross border initiative. I was not there to lobby for the Foreign Minister of Kenya and that is not my role as the UN Resident Coordinator. My trip to Addis was fully approved by my line managers.

2. On the issue of the two South Sudanese, I have raised this in private with the Government of Kenya interlocutors. A formal letter was also sent to the Minister of Interior in Kenya by UNHCR Kenya as one of them had a refugee status. Here is a press release by OHCHR which was done in full consultation.

3. Job Offer: In your most recent article you mention that I made a job offer to someone to take off the internet any information about a promotion and about my time in Sri Lanka.

This is a ludicrous allegation. I would urge you to please authenticate your sources.

I count on your sincerity and integrity as a journalist and hope you will publish this response as it is, and without any edits. I respect the work you do to hold people accountable. I expect the same of you.

If you need further clarification, I will sit down with you for a live TV/Facebook live interview when I come to New York.

Best regards,

Siddharth Chatterjee
UN Resident Coordinator Kenya

For now,
Regarding alleged war crimes in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, on which Chatterjee today in response to Inner City Press' question "what was your involvement in the IPKF's military operations in Jaffna including but not limited to its hospital" says "I am not a spokesperson for the IPKF and not qualified to answer that question," we note there was the Jaffna hospital massacre ten days later on October 21, 1987. 

Here is the Wiki-time line

"October 21, 1987 - 11h – The hospital environment came under cannon fire from the vicinity of Jaffna Dutch Fort and from overhead helicopters.

11h30 – A shell fell on the Outpatients Department (O.P.D) building.
13h – The chief consultant on duty was informed that Indian troops had been sighted at nearby Shanti Theatre Lane.

13h30 – A shell fell on Ward 8, killing seven persons. The chief consultant who went out with another doctor to survey the situation spotted some empty cartridges, suggesting that persons had been firing from inside the hospital premises.
14h – The chief consultant's attention was drawn to the presence of some armed LTTE fighters inside the hospital. The chief consultant went with Dr. Ganesharatnam and asked the group to leave the premises. The leader of the group agreed and they left.

14h5 – The chief consultant was informed that another group of LTTE men had come inside. Dr. Ganesharatnam requested that the chief consultant go with another doctor to speak to the LTTE group and ask them to leave. It is not clear if the LTTE men ever left the hospital.

14h, 16h – A few staff members left the hospital for lunch through the back door.

16h – Staff heard shooting for 15-20 minutes from the vicinity of the gasoline station on Hospital Road. No retaliatory fire from the hospital was heard.

16h20 and onward – According to an eyewitness, the IPKF entered the hospital grounds through the front gate, came up along the corridor and warned everybody inside the hospital. The IPKF fired into the Overseer's office and other offices. The eyewitness saw many of his fellow workers killed, including the overseer and an ambulance driver. The eyewitness also saw a soldier throw a grenade at a man, killing several people.

According to another eyewitness, the IPKF came into the Radiology room, which was filled with people including the patients evacuated from Ward 8, and fired indiscriminately. Those who pretended to be dead by lying on the floor escaped the attack.

Throughout the night a few bursts of fire and grenade explosions were heard.

October 22, 1987 - 8h30 – Dr. Sivapathasundaram was seen walking out of the hospital with three nurses. They were walking with their hands up shouting, "We surrender, we are innocent doctors and nurses."[3] Shots were fired; Dr. Sivapathasundaram was killed and the nurses injured.

11h – An Indian Army officer turned up at one of the wards and was confronted by a doctor. The doctor explained the situation to the officer and later, with help of the officer, she called out to her colleagues and those who were injured to come out with their hands up. About 10 staff members who were alive were escorted out. They found their colleague Dr. Ganesharatnam dead. Later in the day all the dead bodies in the hospital were collected and burned."

Amnesty International's 1988 annual report cites reports of the Indian Peace Keeping Force's rapes of Tamil women and extra-judicial executions. Was it from his son in law that Ban took his advice on Sri Lanka, before sending Vijay Nambiar, brother of general Satish Nambiar, for the “finish” in 2009?

   More to the point, what is the relationship between Dalvir Singh's screed and Ban Ki-moon? Ban's son in law has grateful re-tweeted Dalvir Singh's article; beyond the continued stonewalling and eviction of Inner City Press, the Guardian wrote that the only time Ban got upset in their interview was in defense of his son in law Siddharth Chatterjee. So Ban Ki-moon is responsible... We'll have more on this.


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