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In Cameroon, Walk-out of Parliament When Anglophone Issue Raised, ICP Asked UN About "Dialogue"

By Matthew Russell Lee, UN Audio

UNITED NATIONS, November 23 – A week after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accepted a golden statue from Cameroon's 35-year president Paul Biya in Biya's palace in Yaounde, there were threats of prosecution against people who refuse to celebrate Biya's 35 years in power. Photo of letter here. So is this was Guterres celebrates, under the Guterres Doctrine? What is the relation to the illegal lumber exports signed off on by Guterres' Deputy, Amina J. Mohammed in the #RosewoodRacket? This involves "smuggling from Cameroon." See EIA video, here. There were threats to Inner City Press' accreditation at the UN, here. And while Guterres and his envoy Francois Failing Fall purport to urge dialogue in CameroUN on "the Anglophone issue," when the issue was raised in Parliament in Yaounde, there was a walk-out. some dialogue. Meanwhile the Swiss government has responded in a November 17 letter obtained and published by Inner City Press to issues raised by Southern Cameroonians there. On November 21, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask a question about Cameroon.  In the south-west region, a video emerged basically of authorities ordering people out of their cars and to walk on their knees, very much to humiliate them, etc.  And so, people… one, they've wondered, like, what's the status of the UN's call for dialogue since they don't see this as dialogue?  And, number two, they've seen that the Swiss ambassador has said publicly that he visited the area and is very concerned.  So, the question, I guess, I had is whether François Fall, in his various visits… has he actually gone to those regions of the country?  Does he have an intention to go?  Has he requested to go but been rebuffed?  How can it be that the ambassador of a country based in Yaoundé has more… has greater access than the UN… UNOCA [United Nations Office in Central Africa] representative? Spokesman:  "Well, Mr. Fall works out his itinerary with the authorities as he can.  Whenever we have further travel for him… by him to announce, we will." Well. Meanwhile another part of the UN system -- independent experts whom the UN Secretariat emphasizes are NOT the UN -- has belatedly spoken out where Guterres, Amina "Rosewood" Mohammed and Francois Fall have not. But then Fall essentially undercut the experts, focusing on attacks on security forces and... territorial integrity. Here's from Failing Fall's UNOCA: "The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) continues to closely monitor the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon... Mr. François Louncény Fall seizes this opportunity to recall the commitment of the United Nations to the territorial integrity and unity of Cameroon." On November 17, Inner City Press asked Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Tweeted video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: this François [Louncény] Fall statement.  And the reason I'm asking is that, as you may know five experts of Geneva-based special rapporteurs, including on freedom of expression, defense of human right defenders and others, issued a statement. The statement is largely focused on abuses by the Government of Anglophones, censorship, turning off social media.  They have a[n artificially low] death figure.  They talk about torture.  I know that they're not part of the UN system.  They do give briefings in this room.  They are appointed by the Human Rights Council.  What's the relationship between human rights experts saying the Government is killing Anglophones and François Fall saying territory is important and gendarmes have been killed? It seems like they're two opposing statements. Spokesman:  A, I don't think they're in contradiction of each other, and everybody has a different role within the wide and varied UN system.  The special rapporteurs, as you do note, are independent from the Secretariat and the Secretary-General, appointed by the Human Rights Council.  They are an extremely important part of the UN's human rights mechanism and, as a matter of principle, countries should cooperate with these human rights experts.  I'm not privy to their research or how they get their information.  As I said, they're independent.  We have over the past months, expressed our concern at the violence.  We've expressed our concern at the lack of Internet access.  The basic message that Mr. Fall and that the Secretary-General have reiterated is the fact that the situation in these two regions will best be addressed by an inclusive and genuine political dialogue. Inner City Press: I want to ask one follow-up.  And I asked you before, but I think you'll see the need to actually answer it now.  Mr. François Fall, in an interview played on UN Radio, said that secessionists are extremists and that federalism, which used to be the status of this area, is off the table.  Number one, that's why people don't see him as a credible mediator, but more importantly, the equation of nonviolent secessionists with extremists is exactly the logic that the Government uses to kill people from helicopter gunships, so that's why I'm asking you.  It seems like some of the problems that the human rights experts are criticizing are, in fact… I don't want to say caused by Mr. Fall's statement, but in some way resonant with the logic of… of saying that anyone that says we should be independent is an extremist and should be shot at from a helicopter. Spokesman:  "I don't agree with your logic, and I don't think in any way, shape, or form Mr. Fall should be blamed for what is going on in the country." So why did Failing Fall equate secessionists with extremists? And how can he remain Guterres' envoy to Cameroon? Where is the golden statue? Here is the Experts' full text: "GENEVA (17 November 2017) - The Government of Cameroon must engage representatives of the Anglophone population in a meaningful political dialogue and halt renewed violence in the south-west and north-west, where the country’s English-speaking minority are reportedly suffering worsening human rights violations, a group of UN experts has warned. “We urge the Government to adopt all necessary measures consistent with Cameroon’s human rights obligations to end the cycle of violence,” the experts said in a joint statement.  Up to 17 people have reportedly been killed, and dozens wounded and arrested in demonstrations in the country’s Anglophone regions since 1 October.  The experts are disturbed by reports of a series of measures taken by the national authorities, including curfews, a ban on public meetings, and other restrictions aimed at preventing peaceful protests. Excessive use of force by the security services, injuries, mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill-treatment have also been reported.  Freedom of expression has been reportedly limited by the blocking of internet connections and of access to social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, which a UN expert has previously condemned. “These restrictions must stop immediately, and the Government must ensure a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into all allegations of human rights violations perpetrated during and after the events of 1 October. The Government must take effective measures to prosecute and sanction all those responsible for such violations.” The appeal for action comes nearly a year after UN experts publicly urged the Government to halt violence against the English-speaking minority, following reports that Anglophone protesters in Buea and Bamenda had suffered undue force.  The experts also denounced any use of violence against members of the security forces, after reports that several were killed last week.  Since December 2016, the experts have repeatedly raised concerns directly with the Government of Cameroon and continue to monitor and seek clarification of the alleged human rights violations in the north-west and south-west of the country.  Ms. Annalisa Ciampi, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rappourteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues." What next? When will the UN's Failing Fall go see the Anglophone areas for himself, or be replaced? As Inner City Press asked the UN about on November 16, more than 46,000 people have so far petitioned Guterres to investigate and act on Mohammed's actions with respect (or disrespect) to natural resources in rosewood in Nigeria and Cameroon. But as on Cameroon, Guterres refuses so far to act. Meanwhile in the South West Region, there is a curfew and demand to register and give "weapons" to the government. On November 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: over the weekend, in Cameroon, in both the northwest and southwest, there was a collection apparently in light of not only armaments, rifles and handguns, but even hoes and cutlasses, it said, basically a total disarmament and… and… impinging on even farming work by people.  And I'm wondering, given that François Fall is… calls for a dialogue, what… is the UN aware of this?  There are written orders online that you can see telling people to turn all of these things in… Spokesman:  "I have nothing on these reports as of now." Nor six hours later.  On November 9, Inner City Press asked UN official Najat Rochdi, who was the head of the UN system in Cameroon until earlier this year and is now its deputy in the Central African Republic where Guterres just visited before Cameroon, if Guterres had spoken to her at all about Cameroon. No, she said, he had wanted to optimize his time. Video here. So apparently Guterres gets his information, and gold statues, from Paul Biya, or from Khassim Diagne, who was part of Rochdi's system. It is  closed loop, and a total failure. On November 8, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric (drawing a response of sorts, that "The Anglophones have been doing some shooting today"), UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon, I know that there was a call by François [Lounceny] Fall and, I guess, the Secretary-General for dialogue with the “Anglophone regions”.  It's reported in the press in Yaoundé that the Government has sought international arrest warrants for 15 Anglophone leaders, and I'm wondering if that would be viewed as consistent with this call for dialogue and, if not, if the UN has anything to say about it. Spokesman Dujarric:  I don't have any information on those arrest warrants.  We, obviously, continue to call for calm and reiterate the availability of the UN to support the search for a lasting solution in the Anglophone provinces.  And we call on the… also on the authorities to ensure maximum restraint by security forces.  Evelyn? Evelyn Leopold: Yes.  I think the Anglophones did some shooting today." Video here; Leopold is retired from Reuters, still demands first questions at UN press conferences "on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association," wihch will charge money for an event with Antonio Guterres in mid-December - we will have more on this. On November 7 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Duajrric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you two questions about Cameroon.  One is, since the Secretary-General's visit, one, there's a… there are reports of a crackdown in a place called Jakiri, where one gendarme was killed, and now basically everyone is being told there will be collective punishment unless a gun is turned over.  And I wanted to know, is Mr. [François Louncény] Fall… who… after the visit, who's keeping track of it?  Also, bigger picture maybe, the… the Cross River State Governor in Nigeria, Ben Ayade, has said that the border has essentially been closed for people fleeing the Cameroon… the anglophone region of Cameroon, and I wanted to know whether that's something that either Mr. Fall or on the… you know, UNHCR is aware of. Spokesman:  UNHCR, you can check with them.  I will… I don't have anything on… more on Cameroon. Inner City Press: if Mr. Fall was there on the trip… he wasn't in the photograph with the…Spokesman:  He was there.  We already said he was there. Inner City Press: All right.  So what was the… was any plan reached for continued work…? Spokesman:  If there's a further visit that he's able to make, we will announce it." Nothing.  On November 6, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:has to do with Cameroon, where the Secretary-General stopped, met President [Paul] Biya.  Today, they're celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of his accession to power.  And a letter's emerged that orders all Government employees to participate in the ceremony marking the thirty-fifth year in power of Paul Biya, saying, basically, names should be provided, and they will be punished for not.  Given… I guess I'm just wondering, is the Sec… was the Secretary-General, when he stopped, when he took this golden statue, what did… was he aware of this?  What does he think of… is it… is it permissible, from the UN's point of view, for a Government to order its civil servants to mark the thirty-fifth year in power of a leader or face punishment, or should this be discouraged?  And does he have any comment on it? Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, people everywhere have the right to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly.  Those freedoms need to be respected in all circumstances.  Regarding the gift, Stéphane [Dujarric] made very clear to you that's a standard protocol gift — which happens in many different countries and contexts." The UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on October 20, using as its pretext an undefined violation with Periscope in UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' 38th floor conference room, and publishing audio from a UN stakeout, citing Cameroon. On October 31 at the UN Security Council stakeout, Cameroon's Ambassador approached Inner City Press and issued his own threat. Of the UN's 38th floor, he demanded of Inner City Press, "Who asked you to go to 38? I'm going to call, say for Matthew not to go upstairs. You've started... asking nasty questions." On November 2, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: a statement made by Cameroon's Permanent Representative to me at the Security Council stakeout, in a public area, saying, on 38, "Who asked you to be up there?  I'm going to make a call to make sure Matthew is not up there anymore.  You ask nasty questions."  So my question to you is, if a Member State, in this case a Member State that is subject to questions, nasty or not, were to call the 38th floor and say, I want a particular media to not be up there, why are [they] up there — what would be the response from the 38th floor?  I ask because I've gotten an accreditation threat for being up there.  That's why it’s strange… Spokesman:  Well, I think you're mixing… you know, if an event is open to the press, to the wider press, then everybody is welcome.  We are not… journalists here have to do their job.  There are obviously restrictions placed, depending on the event, but I guess the answer would be no.  Thank you." This from the UN Spokesman who threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing and then from its office, keeping it still restricted. This is today's UN. But can Inner City Press publish this threat, meant to hinder or prevent coverage of mass killing and displacement of Anglophones, without the UN's Department of Public Information's censorship machinery moving to review its accreditation, or using it as its rationale for continuing to keep Inner City Press from its long time office, keep it restricted in movement? DPI boss Alison Smale said she saw the need to respond to petitions to restore Inner City Press to its office and normal access - then her Department issued its October 20 threat. Now this. Watch this site - audio here.  Be aware: the audio is from Smale's own DPI. This UN has become disgusting.  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. What to make of the letter's vague statement, "filming and recording on the 38th floor are limited to official photo opportunities, and recording conversations of others in the room is not permitted. It has been brought to our attention that you breached that rule recently"? It's not only vague as to when, but absurd: once a Periscope is authorized to start streaming, it is impossible to not record someone who speaks loudly at the photo op. 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.  Recently at a photo op, Guterres' adviser on Cameroon Khassim Diagne spoke loudly. Inner City Press later reported, based on sourcing, that Diagne who was previously the representative to Cameroon for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency Guterres ran, speaks in favor of Cameroon's government. Is this letter a response to the reporting? Is it retaliation? Is it intimidation to stop reporting on this threatened genocide? We can't ask the complainant, Maher Nasser: after the threat was delivered, he blocked Inner City Pres on Twitter, here.

  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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