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In Burundi, Nkurunziza's Nickel Deal with CVMR Facilitated by "World Sports Alliance," UN Links

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, November 21 – While UN Human Rights chides Burundi for threatening its experts and the UN Security Council stays quiet, the Pierre Nkurunziza government on November 20 announced a nickel and other minerals deal with a Canadian firm, CVMR Energy Minerals Inc.: "for exploring mineral concessions in Waga-Nyabikere and Mukanda areas. The latter have proven and estimated reserves of Nickel, Cobalt, Iron, copper, PGMs, Vanadium and titanium." CVMR's "in" for this project with Nkurunziza, according to the company's own 2014 press release, is the World Sports Alliance, which bills itself as an inter-governmental organization affiliated with the UN, as for example Ng Lap Seng's South South News was (and is), or the NGOs exposed in the November 20 indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York involving Patrick Ho, Cheikh Gadio, Idriss Deby, Yoweri Museveni and former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, click here for that. That is about oil; this is about nickel. Watch this site. The day after the situation in Burundi was relegated by the UN Security Council to the informal reading-out to Inner City Press of what would have been said if a UNTV stakeout had been given, UN Human Rights spokesman in Geneva Rupert Colville belatedly criticized the country's ambassador Albert Shingiro for comments against UN expert(s), below. Colville did not note Shingiro's reference to "presumed genocide" in Rwanda in the same meeting, just as Secretary General Antonio Guterres, when Inner City Press asked his spokesman, had no comment. Here however is what Prince Zeid's spokesman Colville, who never answered Press questions on the Internet cut-off by Cameroon, said on November 21 about Burundi: "Most recently, in New York, during the interactive dialogue on the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Burundi at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Ambassador of Burundi stated that the Government categorically rejected the report of the Commission of Inquiry, declaring it to be biased and politically motivated. He also threatened to “bring to justice” to the authors of the Commission’s report for defamation and attempted destabilization of Burundian institutions. The High Commissioner has informed the Government that he finds it unacceptable that the members of a Commission mandated by the Human Rights Council are threatened with prosecution for performing the task set for them by the Council. This threat by the Government of Burundi constitutes a clear violation of article VI of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, which applies to experts performing missions for the UN. He has urged the Government of Burundi to review its policy of refusing to cooperate with the independent International Commission of Inquiry and to cease threatening its members." We agree - and urge the UN Security Council and Secretary General to review any role for Uganda's President Museveni in the Burundi "process," given the statement by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York on November 20 that bribes were paid to him, through his relative (and UN PGA) Sam Kutesa, click here for that and watch this site. As the UN increasingly turns away from the crisis in Burundi, Inner City Press on October 26 put Burundi questions to the UN Commission of Inquiry, then to the Ambassador to the UN of France, the Security Council's "penholder" on Burundi. Video here. On November 20, after reclusive envoy Michel Kafando briefed the Security Council in the open chamber then in closed consultation, there was still no read-out given at the stakeout. Inner City Press returned at 3 pm, and then at 4 after the India's Bhandari won the International Court of Justice election after the UK's Greenwood withdrew, still seeking a readout. And here, Inner City Press was told, is what the President of the Security Council for November had prepared to say: that the members of the Security Council support the EAC-led dialogue, William Mkapa and Michael Kafando (who left without doing a stakeout); that the remain concerned at the lack of progress and underline the importance of adhering to the letter and spirit of the Arusha agreement. But, Inner City Press would have asked the president if he had delivered these remarks, the Nkurunziza government is revising the Constitution inconsistent with Arusha. But, it seems, the Security Council and the penholder, France, don't care. On November 9 the ICC announced its judges' "decision authorizing the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside Burundi since 26 April 2015 until 26 October 2017." Later on November 9, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Burundi, as I'm sure you've seen, the ICC (International Criminal Court) judges have voted to open an inquiry into events between 2015 and '17 until recently.  Given that the Secretary-General has an envoy and is involved in it, do you have any comment on it?  And I'd sort of expect you to actually read it out.  I've seen you bef… in the past, although the ICC is a separate entity, you know, say…Spokesman:  The… as you say, the ICC is a separate entity.  What is important for us is that we welcome any steps that will bring some accountability for the crimes done against civilians. Inner City Press: Has the Secretary-General or Mr. [Michel] Kafando seen the statements by, I don't know which Nyamitwe it was, but calling this the last [d]ance for the West and really denouncing the decision to open an investigation. Spokesman:  It's… the decision was the ICC's and I say… and, as I said, we welcome any steps that would help us bring closer to accountability.  " Really? There is certainly a lot of evidence. Here is Inner City Press' exclusive on French Mission lawyer Beatrice Le Frapeur du Hellen leaking a Security Council draft resolution on Burundi, including mocking accountability provisions, to Luis Moreno Ocampo. We'll have more on this. On November 8 the UN Peacebuilding configuration on Burundi met, and heard Ambassador Albert Shingiro brag that everything is going well, no mention of the move to keep Pierre Nkurunziza in power through 2034. These constitutional changes, when subsequently raised ever so gently by other Ambassadors, were questions only with regard to Arusha, not Nkurunziza's attempt to stay on and on in power. What was that again, about the UN looking at underlying causes of conflicts? Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this would be his focus, so far UNseen in places like Yemen and Cameroon. He said he was for transparency, but keeps the Press restricted and even threatens again. We'll have more on this. On November 6, Inner City Press asked Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the fifth French chief of UN Peacekeeping in a row, why none of the 228 police the Council mandated for Burundi more than a year ago has in fact been deployed. Lacroix, who should speak more at the stakeout, to his credit answered, saying that this was due to the lack of responsiveness of Burundi but that efforts to deploy continued. How? Earlier on November 6, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Burundi.  The President, Pierre Nkurunziza, had solicited a proposal for a constitutional amendment.  And, under this amendment, basically [he] would be able to now remain in power until 2034.  It would involve two seven-year terms, but it's not retroactive, so it would basically start the clock again for 14 years.  I know Mr. [Michel] Kafando… I've seen at least a photograph of him there with Mr. Foreign Minister [Alain Aimé] Nyamitwe.  Does he have any view given that a lot of the bloodshed has been about this contested current term, what about until 2034?  What'shis view on that? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, Mr. Kafando was, in fact, in Burundi, I believe, last week.  We'll try to get an update about his activities there." Six hours later, nothing. The CoI's press conference at first had only one media: Inner City Press, whose accreditation is again being threatened by the UN of Antonio Guterres and Alison Smale, as the former mishandles Cameroon as well, and the latter runs interference. The UN called and emailed upstairs to those whom they haven't, as they did with Inner City Press, evicted from their offices. Finally a lone media, French, joined Inner City Press - and was called on first by the UN. When it was Inner City Press' turn - there was no one else to call on - Inner City Press asked about the failure to deploy the 228 police the UNSC mandated, about the "disappeared" journalist Jean Bigirimana, and about Pierre Nkurunziza staying in power back 2030, as the UN is also blessing in Togo. Commisioner Françoise Hampson said she was surprised by the failure to follow through; she said Bigirimana's disappearance is before the relevant UN Working Group. Reine Alapini-Gansou said the African Union human rights observers should be deployed. Fatsah Ouguergouz acknowledged that Guterres' part time envoy Michel Kafando hasn't even met with the Commission. Inner City Press ran to the Security Council and asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre about Burundi- he didn't answer, despite answering on four or five other issues. Video here. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press on October 23 asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the reported extradition or abduction of Burundian opponents of Pierre Nkurunziza from Tanzania to Burundi. While at the noon briefing Haq had no answer, less than an hour afterward his office sent Inner City Press this: "Further to your question at noon, we have the following to add: We have learned of the reported arrest and extradition, still to be confirmed, of four senior leaders of the Popular Forces of Burundi (FPB) in eastern Tanzania on Saturday, 21 October 2017. We are aware of concerns over the circumstances of the arrests and extradition and are seeking further details.  If the events are confirmed, we call on the concerned authorities  to ensure that due process is followed and the rights of those individuals are respected. We also stress the need for transparency in this matter." Does the UN see no role for anyone but Nkurunziza forces, or the Tanzanians' allegedly involved, to investigate? We'll have more on this, while under the UN's October 20 threat to Inner City Press' accreditation for actually covering UN news with Periscope, here. When Guterres met on September 25 at 4 pm with Burundi's foreign minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe (as well as his brother Willy Nyamitwe, with whom Kenya Foreign Minister confused him, Ambassador Albert Shingiro and others), Inner City Press went to cover it. Attending for the UN was rarely seen or heard from part-time envoy Michel Kafando, as well as Department of Political Affairs boss Jeffrey Feltman. But there appeared to be no one from UN Human Rights, despite or perhaps because of attacks on the OHCHR in country. Inner City Press uploaded photos to Alamy, here - but waited to issue a written report until receiving read-outs. But the UN Spokesperson's Office of Stephane Dujarric called its end of day lid at 6:30 pm, having issued a read-out for a meeting that happened after Burundi, but still nothing on Burundi. Kafando got your tongue? It was 9 pm when the UN issued this: "The Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Alain Aimé Nyamitwe, Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi. The Secretary-General expressed condolences over the Burundian refugees recently killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and hoped that the authorities of both concerned countries will be able to shed light on the tragic incident. The Secretary-General and Minister Nyamitwe discussed the inter-Burundian dialogue process. The Secretary-General exhorted the Government to seize the current momentum to fully engage in an inclusive dialogue. He reiterated the full support of the United Nations, through his Special Envoy, to the East African Community (EAC)-led facilitation. The Secretary-General encouraged the Government to address the concerns related to human rights in Burundi and ensure more effective protection of civilians."


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