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As UN Withholds Torture Info on US, Ukraine & Burundi, Whom Does It Serve?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 -- How incompetent and elitist is today's UN? Well, when the UN in Geneva on November 24 purported to promote its Committee Against Torture concluding remarks on eight countries, it said embargoed copies would be given to its “UNOG-based press corps” -- that is, media that can afford to have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva.

  Among the eight countries are the US, to which the family of Michael Brown, killed by policeman Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, went to testify; Ukraine, about which the UN has already been less than transparent; Australia and Burundi, where the UN is seen to have covered up a memo about the ruling parties arming its youth wing.

  Inner City Press immediate wrote and asked that the embargoed reports not be so restricted in distribution. Note for example that the UN in Nairobi does not restrict its embargoed reports to media with reporters in the Kenyan capital. So why should the UN in Geneva? The new Free UN Coalition for Access made this point about disparate treatment, the UN in Geneva and its lead spokesman in New York, Stephane Dujarric.

  But despite multiple requests to UNOG's Liz Throssell, the UN  maintained its position, and said that Inner City Press could just look at the UN website at the embargo time, 8 am in New York. But the reports weren't on this page, for example as to the USA, even an hour later.

  That's where the incompetence comes in. These things can happen of course - but that's why UN Geneva should not deny repeated requests for UN accredited media for embargoed reports that they have. Not only UN Nairobi, but others in the UN system distributed embargoed material to media all over the world. What's wrong with UN Geneva? And UNHQ in New York?

 Corporate media was already reporting on the concluding remarks, based on the embargoed copies they got. And from the UN, now including chair of the Committee Against Torture Claudio Grossman, no explanation, no answer after more than 12 hours to the question of for example which Burundian media have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva and thus access to these embargoed / otherwise not available reports.

And so we ask, how incompetent and elitist, to leave it at that, is this UN? And whom does it serve? We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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