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On Cameroon, ICP Asked Guterres Who Welcomes Dialogue That's Dead, Mis-Advised

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio,  Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 – Amid the killings by Cameroon's Paul Biya government, Inner City Press on October 18 asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, "there have been hundreds of people killed there. Your envoy, François [Louncény] Fall, has said he was going to go but hasn't gone. People are extremely concerned. And I'm just wondering, are we missing something? Are you preventing conflict in this instance or, or what is the UN doing?" Video here. Guterres did not answer that part of the question - his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres told him he had not heard the question - but on October 19 when Inner City Press asked another question, Dujarric had a statement ready, below. It welcomed Prime Minister Yang's trip and dialogue, and said Fall's visit is now only possible. On October 20 Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy (Dujarric was apparently in DC with Guterres who intoned about a "strong, reformed and modernized UN") about the failure of the dialogue, and to confirm that Guterres is advised by Khassim Diagne, previously close to the government in Yaounde when with UNHCR, the refugee agency Guterres ran. Video here. Haq called the "dialogue" a first step, and said Guterres gets information for example also from Francois Fall. How? The October 19 statement, video here, praised a visit to the west that is widely mocked, but noted the reporting killings. The UN put stock in Cameroon's self-investigation, again dubious and now referred to a visit by UN envoy Fall as merely "possible." Inner City Press told Dujarric it will have further questions, and it will. Watch this site. Inner City Press on October 11 interviewed the government's ambassador to the UN, Tommo Monthe. He contradicted what UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, that "Mr. [Francois] Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.  The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him.  It's now a matter of finding the dates." Inner City Press two days after Dujarric's quote - which Dujarric has twice refused to expand upon - asked Cameroon's Ambassador Monthe who replied of Fall,"Why he should visit Cameroon?” Audio here. While there is still no date for Fall to visit Cameroon, people are being summoned in to see the police, in a campaign of intimidation. There are new mass graves. On October 16 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon, since we’ve heard now for this Fall visit for almost two weeks since the mass killings of 1 October, I wanted to ask you, over the weekend, a mass grave was found near Buea, and documents have emerged of people being summoned into the police.  And what’s reported is that people are being told what to say and not to say if and when… which I guess it’s now when… UN investigators arrive.  So, I just wonder, is the UN aware of this? How do you explain that if… if Mr. Fall was going to go, like, it’s extremely serious situation.  Is there some… the ambassador here said that there’s no reason for him to go.  You’re saying he’s totally welcome; it’s just a matter of dates.  Who… is the problem with Mr. Fall’s schedule or the Cameroonian schedule?  Because people are very upset… [Inaudible] Spokesman:  I think, as with any visit from a UN senior official or anyone from the UN, it needs to be done in agreement with the Government. Inner City Press: So his team that went there before — I’d asked you this before — is it possible to know the level that they were and if, in fact, they went to Buea, the city in which bodies are being found… [Inaudible] Spokesman:  "I’ll see what I can get.  Okay?" No, not OK. Six hours later, nothing, while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid was being praised by Cameroon, and saying nothing about the country.  Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to inquire into torture in Southern Cameroons, video here, and then submitted to his office a formal request for action. (He said he can act on requests by journalists). Meanwhile Inner City Press' journalism on Cameroon is being hindered in the UN by restrictions continued by the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Small, see here and here and watch this site. Several but not all of the human rights violations by Cameroon authorities on which Inner City Press has asked and reported are confirmed by Amnesty International. So Inner City Press on October 13 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I have a number of other ones, but I wanted to ask you about Cameroon.  Some of the things that, I guess, I have asked you about, there's now… now, I would assume that you've seen the Amnesty International study, which says that… that hundreds of people are detained without charge, packed like sardines, paying bails, people shot in the legs so they can't protest, people fleeing the hospital to avoid the authorities.  So they obviously got in, were able to gather this evidence and they've called for other international organisations to send people.  Has the UN sent anyone, and if not, why not? Spokesman:  We have… as you know, we have a presence in Cameroon.  We've seen the Amnesty report, which raises a lot of issues of great concern to us, and I should have… hopefully have a bit more for you later. Inner City Press:  Including on the [François Louncény] Fall visit? Spokesman:  Yes.  Well, when I have something on the Fall visit, I will share it with you." Eight hours later, nothing. AI confirmed for example: At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest... In Bamenda, the capital of the North-West Region, at least 200 people were arrested and the majority transferred to the prison in Bafoussam. In Buea, the capital of the South-West region, at least 300 people have been arrested since the 1st October protests, including a series of mass arbitrary arrests between 6 and 8 October. On Sunday 8 October, for example, police arrested up to 100 people walking to church in the Mile 16 area of Buea, and entered the building to arrest church staff. In one incident on 3 October in Buea, a police officer threw a teargas canister into a vehicle containing a dozen protestors, who had to smash the window to let in air. In one facility run by a mobile police unit, the Groupement Mobile d’Intervention (GMI), in Buea, detainees were described as being 'packed like sardines.' A young man who was left with multiple fractures after being shot in both legs by member of the armed forces was taken home by his family before he could be stabilised. According to a doctor treating the patient “he had lost more than a litre of blood. I do not know whether he is still alive, he may likely die.' On October 12, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman, now Deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Cameroon.  Stéphane has said a couple times that Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall is… he's definitely going.  The Government has welcomed it.  It's just a matter of days.  Yesterday, I spoke to the Permanent Representative of Cameroon, Tommo Monthe, and he said:  “Why should he visit Cameroon?”  So, I'm just wondering, have you gotten… has… has… one, has the UN spoken with the Cameroonian mission here in New York?  Because they don't, at least according to that, seem to be on board with the visit.  And two, when will the visit take place?  And will it include the Anglophone areas? Deputy Spokesman:  We are in touch with the Cameroonian authorities about a visit.  They have agreed in principle to that, and we're working out the dates and arrangements. Inner City Press:  Do you think, because there… there… there are commemorations of the 1 October killings scheduled for this Sunday, 14 October… is… does he intend to go before then?  Does he… is he aware of the potential for a repeat of what took place on 1 October?  Because the… what's alleged now is that people were thrown out of helicopters, that live individuals picked up in the Anglophone areas were flown in helicopters and dropped to their death. Deputy Spokesman:  "We want to make sure that all parties respect the rights to freedom of assembly, the rights to freedom of expression and, at the same time, of course, want to make sure that all protest is carried out peacefully.  Regarding Mr. Fall's travels, we'll provide further details once we have an announcement to make." Eight hours later, nothing. On October 11 Monthe, his usual talkative self, told Inner City Press of the Anglophone zones, "There are three groups: the corporate interest... that's good, that's legitimate... The second group is hooligan, that's casseur, the people who burn the flag... the third group, they are entering political campaign.” Of the recently announced Anglophone candidate to replace Biya, Monthe said, "He will have problem with the secession people.... traitor. People say that his father was a traitor." Inner City Press asked him about documentary evidence of money paid to pro-Biya associations for support during the General Assembly week: 'That guy is now with the tribunal, he said, 'I'm guilty.' He went to PNC Bank, we are no longer with that bank, we sued the bank..." On Inner City Press' questions during GA week to Nigeria's foreign minister, Monthe said: "Nigeria helps us, they do not want Biafra..." We'll have more on this. When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres on September 22, before he went back to the Hotel Inter-Continental in Geneva, he was accompanied by his state media and... Inner City Press. Biya, still in Geneva, directed his forces to use water cannons and more in Buea, as they shoot to kill from helicopters in North-West and South-West Cameroon and once again cut off the Internet and social networks, see below. On October 9 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about raids on churches, gunfire from helicopters, and corporate complicity in censorship. Video here; from the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  I want to ask you about Cameroon.  Over the weekend, several churches in Buea and… and other places in the Anglophone areas were raided by the military.  And up to 200 people were arrested, and high bail is being charged to release them.  There's also now some footage of the Government firing from helicopters on unarmed civilians on the ground.  So I'm wondering, does the UN still stand behind this ten dead figure that was used by Prince Zeid last week? What… what's the status of Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall going? And… Okay.  Go ahead. Spokesman:  Sorry.  Mr. Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.  There was a team that went last week at the working level from his office.  But we're still in discussions with the Government.  The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him.  It's now a matter of finding the dates.  As for the number of casualties, I don't have any updated numbers beyond what our colleagues at the Human Rights Office were able to confirm. Inner City Press: And I wanted to ask you, you'd said last week the Internet should be on and social net… social networks.  So I wanted to ask you, there's a French firm, Orange, that has a Cameroonian subsidiary.  And they've said publicly that, when the Government tells them to turn stuff off, they just turn it off.  They're a member of the Global Compact.  And what I'm wondering is, does the UN believe that private telecom companies that a… ascribe to these human rights views as put forth in the Global Compact should, without notice to people and in a sort of a devious way where they say, sorry for the interruption; we're working to get it back on, obey the Government and turn the Internet off on people? Spokesman:  "Look, the Global Compact has processes to which to review whether or not companies should remain members of the Global Compact.  That's existing.  That's up to them to comment on.  Our principled line continues to be that people should have access to the Internet, that the Internet is a critical tool for which people now every… in everyday lives to conduct their lives, not only to have access to information.  As to the regulatory framework in each country and who's responsible for what, I can't comment on, but on a… because I don't know about it, because, obviously, as a matter of principle, we feel people should have access to the Internet." The real world social network of the church is also under attack: for example, on October 8 people in churches in Buea were arrested en masse. Commemorations of those killed to date are scheduled for October 14, see here. What is and will be the role of religious leaders in this unfolding crackdown? Involved in the blocking of Internet and social networks is not only MTN but also France's Orange, which has said "our Group operates in Cameroon through a subsidiary Orange Cameroun which complies with the local legislation and therefore obeys to any national security instruction received from the authorities in accordance with its Telecommunications License." Orange is a member of the UN Global Compact, which offers "blue-washing" of such human rights violations, as first reported by Inner City Press now for a fee from companies like Orange. (As Inner City Press has noted in connection with Kenya, Safricom's Bob Collymore is on the board of the UN Global Compact). The UN's insufficient actions on, some say even complicity with, censorship and now mass killing are growing, and are increasingly being raised, in Geneva and not only at the Inter-Continental Hotel where Biya lives while ordering killings and cover ups. We'll have more on this. On October 7-8, despite belated calls from Geneva and an unapologetic Guterres, restrictions on movement and free association are being extended, for example in Manyu Division, Mamfe Town and elsewhere, see here. Will there be any follow through by the UN on its statements, or just more "welcoming" of Biya? When will the already postponed visit by the UN's Francois Fall occur, to where and with whom, and what will it accomplish? On October 5 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who earlier this year told Inner City Press the UK did not view the situation in Cameroon as a threat to international peace and security but would continue to monitor it, if the threshold has been reached and the UK will ask for a UN Security Council meeting. Periscope video here. He said no one has asked and the UK continues to weigh the pro and con of putting it on the Council's agenda (along with Myanmar, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Colombia and others). Earlier Inner City Press asked Francois Delattre, the UN Ambassador of France and President of the UN Security Council for October, why he has not yet convened a Security Council meeting amid the killings of civilians and cutting off of social networks in Cameroon. Periscope video here. Delattre said the French Foreign Ministry's spokesperson has spoken earlier in the day, again calling for dialogue. We'll have more on this. Guterres' spokespeople have three times refused Inner City Press' request for the UN's estimate of how many people have been killed by Paul Biya's forces since Guterres offered him praise on September 22. Now, the US State Department through its spokesperson Heather Nauert has said, "The United States is deeply concerned about violence and the loss of human life in protests that have taken place in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon since October 1.  The Cameroonian government’s use of force to restrict free expression and peaceful assembly, and violence by protestors, are unacceptable.  We urge the Government of Cameroon to respect human rights and freedom of expression, including access to the internet.  We call on all sides to exercise restraint from further violence, and engage in dialogue for a peaceful, durable resolution." Tellingly, the Secretary General of the Francophonie Michaëlle Jean has while expressing "concern" said that "Violence should never be a means of expressing grievances." So Biya, who is killing, is doing so to express grievances? Or "pour se fair entendre"? We'll have more on this. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said nothing. Nothing, from a man who issued a statement about critical tweets directed at a UN official. His New York representative, as Inner City Press reported at the time, was not (invited to be?) present at Guterres' now infamous grip and grin meet with Biya on September 22, 2017. What has been the role of the totally untransparent UN Department of Political Affairs, under Jeffrey Feltman? Today's UN system is hypocritical, and failing. In Mamfe and elsewhere, Republique du Cameroun forces are reportedly shooting people in the feet and legs to prevent their peaceful protest, while Guterres tells Anglophones to take advantage of this "opportunity" and be sure to stay with the LRC Constitution. Tell that to, as only one of many examples, Benjamin Amin, a young tech-savvy Anglophone who returned from studies in India only to be shot and killed by Biya's forces in Kumba on October 1. Inner City Press on the morning of October 3 again asked Guterres top three spokespeople, "what is the UN's estimate of the number of civilians killed since September 27? And what is the UN's awareness of the Cameroon government's restrictions on the media and other attempts to restrict freedom of association, speech and belief? Where does the UN understand President Paul Biya to be, and his role in these restrictions? On deadline." Lead spokesman Dujarric replied, "On Cameroon, we have nothing to add to what I said at today’s briefing" - which, beyond the previous night's canned statement, below, was: "the issue of Special Rapporteurs is one that the Secretary-General… that's outside of the authority of the Secretary-General.  I think we've had a number of diplomatic contacts at various levels with the Cameroonian authorities.  We've expressed our concern at the ongoing situation, especially at the violence and at the loss of life that we've seen.  We've seen that the authorities have called for dialogue, and we encourage those leaders in the anglophone community to seize that opportunity." Who is seizing whom? Previously with the UN silent for more than a day after Inner City Press submitted written questions to it on Cameroon  - its High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid spoke on Catalonia but not Cameroon - Amnesty International issued a statement that "the reported unlawful killing of several people in the Anglophone regions by the security forces coupled with the blocks on Facebook and WhatsApp represent an extremely worrying escalation of the government’s on-going campaign to silence any form of dissent in the West and South-West regions of Cameroon." At the UN's October 2 noon briefing, lead UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric wasn't there; his deputy Farhan Haq had nothing at the top, vaguely alluded to statements, no answer. Haq emailed Inner City Press: "On Cameroon, we are awaiting a statement, which should come out shortly; maybe not by noon, though." By 10 pm, still nothing. Finally at 10:30 pm, 29 hours after Inner City Press asked the UN how many civilians it acknowledged Biya has killed, the UN issues this with no estimate: "Further to his statement of 28 September, the Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the situation in Cameroon and strongly condemns the acts of violence reported in the South-West and North-West regions of the country on 1 October, including reported loss of life. He calls on the Cameroonian authorities to investigate these incidents and urges political leaders on both sides to appeal to their followers to refrain from any further acts of violence, and to unequivocally condemn all actions that undermine the peace, stability and unity of the country. The Secretary-General takes note of the calls by the authorities for dialogue and encourages representatives of the Anglophone community to seize the opportunity in their quest for solutions to the community’s grievances, within the framework of the Cameroonian constitution. The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations for such efforts, through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)." Pathetic. Or to be more charitable, too little too late. Meanwhile the UN's Resident Coordinator in Cameroon was robo-tweeting pablum about World Non-Violence Day, and France's Ambassador Gilles Thibault was expressing support to Yaounde (for flora and fauna). Inner City Press asked the UN Resident Coordinator Allegra Baiocchi for her response - none yet - noted the similarity to the UN's silence in Myanmar and emailed the UN's top three spokespeople: " In light of the government crackdown on communications and unarmed civilians in North-West and South-West Cameroon, after the UN's readout of September 22 and subsequent statement of concern, this is a request for the UN's already belated response to the government's killing. How many people does the UN acknowledge have been killed? What is the UN, both the country team and the wider UN, doing?" The lead spokesman provided this interim response: "We will try but may not have answers until tomorrow." Inner City Press has asked that any and all information be emailed to it as soon as available. More than 12 hours later, from the UN, nothing. Watch this site. According to the UN read-out, the September 22 conversation was entirely positive and did not mention Biya's abuse of Anglophones, or human rights in any way. Now on October 1 Biya's forces have opened fire from Buea to Ikiliwindi, Mamfe to Nkwen, Ndu to Nguti. Still, grainy footage has been sent to Inner City Press of Ambazonia independence celebrations in Bamenda despite the orders against freedom of association and movement, and ultimately freedom of speech and of belief. Biya has again undermined the Internet and rights to communicate in Southern Cameroons, to which Inner City Press after asking the UN  four days in a row until exclusion now turns. Here is a letter sent not only to Inner City Press, but to the UN Office of the Spokesperson: "I am writing from Southern Cameroons. I am pleading you should use your high office to stop the genocide that President Biya wants to exercise on the English speaking Cameroonians. a lot of people have lost their lives already and yet the President of Cameroons is seriously planning to shed more blood.  The truth is clear, the people of southern Cameroons (English speaking ) was a country  of its own that legally voted to joint La Republic of Cameroon. But now La Republic of Cameroon are treating these people as if they colonize them or conquered them in a war. sir use your conscience, it could have been your family going through what we are going through. Where is human rights in the 21st Century where people of a particular nation turns to treat their fellow brothers and sisters as slaves and the whole world is reacting as if there is nothing happening Does it mean that if tomorrow if I'm in one top position in the world that has to deal with the society i will give deaf ears to a situation that has to do with millions of lives ? what is wrong with the world today? where is human right? there is no justice at all? is it that human lives no longer matters? Please kindly react to stop the genocide that is about to happen in 48 hours." No response from the UN. Here is another letter: "Dear Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press: Accept my greetings and that of those who can't write to you. I am writing to you from Buea, Southern Cameroons. Am reacting to your articles on September 28 concerning the crisis in Southern Cameroons. The approach of the UN concerning the Southern Cameroons and it people, proves time and again that the UN must be very corrupt, and have turned it back against in commitment to protect human rights freedoms, and states sovereignty. How can the Secretary General be talking of his to consolidate peace and the Territorial integrity of Cameroon, when knows very well that, the UN holds no legal treaty that binds the British Southern Cameroons with LA Republique DU Cameroun? I hereby want to inform you that, I, as well as an overwhelming majority have chosen to separate from la Republique DU Cameroun because of what we have gone through in 56 of forced union. If the government of la République du Cameroun, considered us Southern Cameroonians as a people with the same rights as Francophones, if the government wanted to make peace and resolve this problem from it core, I think the repression taking place now won't have been. While you published on the Cameroon crises yesterday, the government of la Republique DU Cameroun became violently repressive and attacked and beating people their homes, taking seizing money and smart phones, and taking them to jail. As am writing to you now, six people were shot yesterday in the town of Ekona, and a grandmother was killed by the military in her home. 14 years old kids are being arrested and detained in jails under very cruel conditions. Since the beginning of this crises since November last year, 112 people have been killed by the military of la Republique DU Cameroun. The la République du Cameroun's government have been using terrorism blackmail the peaceful protests. I hereby call on the Secretary General to read the the UN charter on human right and freedoms, and the right for self governance." Biya's renewed attacks on the Internet have ranged from Bamenda to Kumbo and Kumba, but are being circumvented by VPNs. Meanwhile Inner City Press is receiving video of protests in front of the Inter-Continental Hotel in Geneva where Biya is staying. Guterres praised Biya, then belatedly called on him to dialogue: while Biya is not even in the country. His landing in Geneva: "VP-CAL used by #PaulBiya, President of Cameroon (Boeing 777) on 2017/09/26 at 08:56:46." We ran this sample letter to Inner City Press: " woke up this morning and discovered Internet Services in Cameroon have somehow been limited. I am suspected the regime of Paul Biya have tampered with the internet service and Facebook, Twitter,  WhatsApp, VPNs, Vcontact  aren't working. I am sure many other social media have been cut off as well.
There have been plans to celebrate the symbolic independence of this region 'the Former British Southern Cameroons' on the 1st of October 2017. That is on Sunday and the region have been heavily militarized by the Biya regime, Homes of people invaded, beaten , some killed, many kidnapped and with this shutdown to major social media to  which it is where most of these crimes are exposed, many have been fearing a total Genocide that can be perpetrated on the people of that region. There were rumors that, the internet will be shutdown come 30th September. The Minister of Communications made a public communique two days ago to say, the internet won't be shutdown but I guess it was just a ploy as through some websites are working, major social medias ( Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter) have been cut off. Please, make the world know what is happening in this region. This is a sly move to blackout to the world what atrocities the Biya's regime is/will be perpetrating in these regions."  In Fiango, Biya's security forces have killed, reportedly Enogene Basile, following their September 28 killings in Ekona. Watch this site. Inner City Press on September 26, 27 and 28 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about these glaring omissions. The first time, Dujarric alluded to "private" diplomacy. Then on September 27 when Inner City Press asked ask, video here, Dujarric said that UN envoy Francois Fall will be going to Cameroon "next week." On September 28, Inner City Press asked Dujarric deputy Farhan Haq if this would be before or after October 1, and Haq said he didn't know. Hours later, Dujarric's office put out a statement of concern below, which many see as too little, too late, with its emphasis on territorial integrity. On September 29, Inner City Press asked Dujarric not only about the UN's surveillance of the Press, on which he refused to answer referring to the question to the UN Department of Public Information whose chief Alison Smale has refused to answer basic questions for a month (now keeping a close eye on Catalonia, if not blatant crackdowns in Cameroon), but also if Guterres' concern is at threats to those in Anglophone Cameroon to stay indoors or be treated as "terrorists," for citing UN General Assembly Resolution 1608. Video here. Dujarric replied that he doesn't have "granularity" about what's being done and said. But he put this out: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the situation in Cameroon, including with regard to the recent security incidents in Bamenda and in Douala, and mounting tensions in the South-West and North-West regions related to planned events on 1 October. The Secretary-General has encouraged the Cameroonian authorities to continue their efforts to address the grievances of the Anglophone community. He urges the authorities to promote measures of national reconciliation aimed at finding a durable solution to the crisis, including by addressing its root causes. The Secretary-General supports upholding the unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon and urges all parties to refrain from acts that could lead to an escalation of tension and violence. The Secretary-General believes that genuine and inclusive dialogue between the Government and the communities in the South-West and North-West regions is the best way to preserve the unity and stability of the country.  The Secretary-General stands ready to support these efforts, including through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). " We'll see. On September 26, Dujarric replied that Guterres would say there is a time for public diplomacy, and a time for private diplomacy. Video here. Some wonder, how many people have to die, or what kind of people, for it to be time for UN "public" diplomacy? Earlier on September 22 Inner City Press interviewed Southern Cameroonians out on 47th Street, then asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about people killed that very day. UN transcript here and below. The crackdown is also financial: Biya's Minister of Finance has threatened the National Frincne Credit Bank in Bamenda with loss of its license for taking part in the "Ghost Town" expression of desire for independence, or in the first instance a referendum. See letter here. This politicization should trigger action by the "decision making phere" [sic] written about by Biya's state media, the kind of media that the UN and now its new head of Public Information favor over independent press. From the September 22 UN transcript: Inner City Press:  there’s a protest right now of Southern Cameroonians on 47th Street, but more importantly, there’s one in Southern Cameroon where five people have been killed today, as Paul Biya gave his speech, so I’m wondering…  I know the Deputy Secretary-General had some interest in the issue.  There’s Mr. [Francois Lonseny] Fall.  Are they aware of these protests? Spokesman:  "We’ve seen the reports I think we would definitely… we would call on the authorities to show restraint and ensure that people have the right to demonstrate freely." But on the UN's 27th floor, it was all smiles. And much later the UN put this read-out on its website: "The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon. The Secretary-General appreciated Cameroon’s hospitality towards the refugees.
They discussed the latest political developments in the country, as well as regional issues, including Boko Haram and the situation in the Central African Republic. The Secretary commended Cameroon for its efforts to combat Boko Haram, and reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to support the Government in all areas." No mention of the Anglophone areas, much less the day's killings. This is a new low, even for today's UN. UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman had left the floor with the Australian delegation; it was unclear if any UN Human Rights official was present. One of Biya's handlers even signed the UN visitors book in advance for him. When Guterres greeted his next visitor he did so in French then apologized, the last meeting was in French. Back September 19. Guterres ended with two photo ops. The first was Paraguay's President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, who spent a long time writing in the UN's visitors' book, followed by a short meeting. Alamy photos here. Next and last was Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Guterres said pointedly, just the signature. But something was lost in translation: he still started writing. Alamy photos here. Then the Press was ushered out. Already on the way in before the Paraguay photo op, the Media Entrance on 47th Street was locked. The questions about double standards of media access, including retaliatory restrictions still in place on the investigative Press
while no-show, no-question state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom have full access have yet to be answered by the official now responsible, Alison Smale. According to a photographer allowed into the smaller "G-200" room, Smale was there to greet "her" Prime Minister, Theresa May.


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