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As UN Guterres Meets Ken Roth, HRW's 2018 Report Missed Cameroon, Togo & Gabon, ICP UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 1 – Today at 3:30 pm UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to meet with Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch, which omitted Cameroon, Gabon and Togo and some others from its 2018 "World" report and then refused to explain it. Likewise HRW has refused to provide any read-outs of the issues it raises to Guterres. Guterres is himself far from transparent. On February 28 his close protection ordered Inner City Press to stop recording, in a photo op session in which Guterres conveyed his "very very warm regards" to Egypt's Sisi. Guterres' Secretariat has assigned Inner City Press' long time UN work space to a no-show Sisi state media, Akhbar al Yom. (HRW's UN lobbying previous lobbied Guterres' spokesman to throw Inner City Press out of the UN, then got his leaked complaint to the UN removed from Google Search by mis-characterizing it as copyrighted). So what will happen and be discussed at 3:330? Watch this site. When Inner City Press was sent the link to the 660-page 2018 report by Human Rights Watch, it turned to the Table of Contents to read the section on Cameroon, which it covers even as the UN, for now to the highest levels, covers up. But Cameroon was not there, between Cambodia and Canada. Tweeted photo here. Nor under its French spelling, Cameroun. Nor the word Anglophone, much less Ambazonia. Nor 36-year ruler Paul Biya. Nor were Togo or Gabon mentioned, photo here. Online HRW report, perhaps to be changed, here. Inner City Press on the morning of January 22 asked HRW's press operation the following: "Hello. Searching today the HRW 2018 Report for Cameroon (as well as Togo and Gabon, for example), not finding them in the Table of Contents (photo attached), nor word-search. (Seems the two references to Cameroon, despite the crackdown there, are both in the Nigeria section). Can you please explain, on deadline? Also, for future reference, can you please restore Inner City Press, at this email address, to HRW's press email list and explain the previous deletion? Finally, does HRW/Ken Roth intend to meet with UNSG Guterres in the first half of 2018? What issues would HRW raise? What issues did HRW raise in March 2017, and why did it decline to state any of them at the time?" The reply, not a real response, was from an Ashley without a last name, promising a response from "researchers" which, a day later, has not come: "Hi Matthew, Thank you for your email. I’ve sent your request to our researchers and will keep you posted. Best, Ashley." Later on January 22, Inner City Press wrote again to hrwpress [at], "Hello - this morning on the simple question why Cameroon, Togo and Gabon are not in the Table of Contents of HRW's 2018 Report, the reply was 'I’ve sent your request to our researchers and will keep you posted.' What is the answer? Please advise." And... nothing. In March 2017 after Ken Roth and three of his Human Rights Watch UN lobbyists went to the UN for a meeting on the 38th floor, Inner City Press asked Roth and his lobbyists, including two former UN correspondents Louis Charbonneau and Philippe Bolopion, for a summary of what HRW had raised. There was no answer at all. Video here. It was a typical UN scene: a group promoting principles outside of the UN not pursuing them inside the UN, in order to maintain access and perceived influence. Now having asked online what it is missing, the absence not only of Togo but also Gabon has been noted. We'll have more on this.

  Human Rights Watch speechifies about accountability but has said much less about the UN killing 10,000 Haitians with cholera, or about the lack of prosecutions for peacekeepers' sexual abuse. The UN talks about the rule of law but does not abide by it.

    HRW was informed in detail of the UN's lack of due process for the press - but has done nothing. In fact, HRW's UN lobbyist Louis Charbonneau at least twice tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN (see here, obtained under FOIA), one time misusing the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to try to cover up his lobbying of the UN to get Inner City Press thrown out, here.

  One year ago, covering the UN corruption scandals which have resulted in two sets of indictments for bribery involving the UN, Inner City Press was ordered to leave the UN Press Briefing Room by then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

  Other correspondents were allowed to stay in the briefing room, which Dujarric had "lent" them. But he insisted that Inner City Press leave. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked to see any paperwork that the event was closed; none was provided. Inner City Press stated that if a single UN Security official asked it to leave, it would. Finally one guard came and said Dujarric wanted it to leave.

  Inner City Press immediately left, uploaded the already live-streamed Periscope video, and continued digging into the corruption that's resulted in the indictment for bribery and money laundering of Ban Ki-moon's brother Ban Ki Sang and nephew Dennis Bahn.

  But three weeks afterward, without a single conversation or opportunity to be heard, Ban's Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach ordered Inner City Press to leave the UN, after ten years, on two hours notice. Order here.

   This was enforced, as Inner City Press worked on its laptop at the UN Security Council stakeout, by eight UN Security officers led by Deputy Chief McNulty, who tore Inner City Press accreditation badge off its chest and said, "Now you are a trespasser." Audio here.

  Inner City Press was marched down the escalator and around the UN traffic circle, without even its coat which was up in its longtime office. It was pushed out of the gate and its laptop, in a bag, was thrown on the sidewalk and damaged.

  The next work day when Inner City Press arranged for a fellow journalist to sign it in as a guest so it could cover the Security Council, UN Security official Matthew Sullivan said it was Banned from UN premises worldwide. Audio here.

   After three days covering the UN from the park in front in the sleet, and articles like this one, Inner City Press re-entered with a "non-resident correspondents" pass - to which it is still, more than a year later, confined.

  There has been no UN opportunity for appeal or reinstatement. After having five boxes of Inner City Press' investigative files thrown on the sidewalk in April, Gallach is giving its office to an Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom which rarely comes in, a correspondent Sanaa Youssef who had yet to ask a single question.

Her only claim is that she was once, decades ago, a president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, the group to which Duajrric "lent" the UN Press Briefing Room, without notice or written record, on January 29, 2016.

 Even as the scope of Ban Ki-moon's corruption was exposed upon his return to South Korea, here, his successor Antonio Guterres has yet to reverse this year of censorship and no due process. On January 6 Dujarric and Gallach led him on a tour of... the UN Correspondents Association, which now wants him again in their clubhouse. (More on this to follow.)

 On January 27 as Inner City Press moved to cover Guterres at the UN's Holocaust event, it was targeted by UN Security and told it could not proceed without a minder, who did not appear for over 15 minutes.

  The harassment continued through the day, as Inner City Press exposed more corruption, including and the use of military contingents involved in war crimes in Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping.

 All of this must change. This is a scam, and censorship. This is hypocrisy at and in the UN. We will have more on this.


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