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UN Talks on FOIA by Latin Countries But Not By UN, Indigenous Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- The UN's lack of accountability, from bringing cholera to Haiti to using as “peacekeepers” armies under investigation for war crimes like those of the DR Congo and Sri Lanka, is enabled by the continuing lack of even the most basic Freedom of Information Act that covers the UN.

   UN official Alicia Barcena, who held a press conference as head of ECLAC on September 22, previously indicated the UN would work toward a FOIA, as recently reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, here.

  On September 22, after thanking Barcena on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked what ever happened to the proposal for a right to information from the UN. The ECLAC report Barcena was launching has a whole section on "Right to Information."

  Barcena replied about trends in Latin America -- Rio Principle 10, ILO 169, open data -- but not about the UN. We'll continue to pursue this.

  Inner City Press also asked the recent murder of indigenous people in Peru for logging and asked if that industry is as deadly as mining and hydrocarbons, listed in the report. Barcena said no. But see this article:

The Sept. 1 murders of outspoken anti-logging activist, Edwin Chota and three other Ashaninka members, underscore the void now filled by criminal groups who export endangered hardwoods.

The jungle has been abandoned by the state, and so local mafias and corruption have taken over,” said Julia Urranaga, Peru’s director of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), during a Wednesday press conference in Lima

    We'll have more on indigenous issues today and this week.


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