Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In Myanmar, US Kerry Did Not Use the Word "Rohingya," Why Not?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 10 -- US Secretary of State has been in Myanmar the past few days but it seems in his many transcribed statements, including a two-question press conference, he did not say the word "Rohingya" once.

   This is particularly notable because the UN has admitted they were told by the Burmese government not to say the word. Why didn't Kerry say it?  To be fair, he twice mentioned Rakhine State in his press conference. But what group is it being targeted there? 

   Back on June 17 in New York, the UN's humanitarian deputy Kyung-wha Kang gave an opening statement to correspondents that did not use the word "Rohingya."

   Inner City Press asked Kang about Myanmar authorities bragging about UNICEF apologizing for using the term "Rohingya."  Inner City Press reported it on June 7, and on June 9 asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcript below.

 On June 17, Kang told Inner City Press that the government asked her not to use the word "Rohingya" in public -- and she agreed and did not use the word. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked Kang how this was consistent with the claim that the UN is pushing Myanmar authorities on the Rohingya -- or Rakhine? -- issue. Kang said there is a division of responsibilities, that the human rights site of the UN speaks differently that the humanitarian side. And what about "Good Offices" envoy Nambiar?

  Inner City Press asked about UNICEF's $87,000 a month rent to a landlord linked to the former military junta -- no comment except that rent is high in Rakhine -- and of the plight of Karen refugees in Thailand. We may have more on this.

From the UN's June 9 transcript:

Inner City Press: It’s been a long weekend so I have a few questions, how ever you want to do it. I wanted to ask you, now that you say Ms. Kang is going to Myanmar, local media there reports that UNICEF having used the word Rohingya, then apologized for it and committed not to use it any further. This is reported there with local authorities saying the UN will no longer use this word. And I wanted to know, is this... UN policy?

Spokesman Rohingya: I don’t know. I don’t know. You should ask UNICEF, but I’ll check on my end, but I don’t know.

Question: Yes, is there a UN policy [to not use the word “Rohingya”]

Spokesman Dujarric: I don’t know.

  So he doesn't know if there's a UN policy against even using the name of the Rohingya group? Nine hours and counting after the June 9 briefing, there was no answer from him. UNresponsive.

   This comes as UNICEF pays $87,000 a month to rent its office, and pay it to a landlord with links to the Than Shwe military junta.

  UNICEF has tried to explain away these $87,000 monthly payments. But to agree to censor the very name of the Rohinga minority?

  The local report says, "The head of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) in Myanmar, Bertrand Bainval, personally apologised for the use of the term ''Rohingya' at a June 4 press conference on Unicef’s plan to help children Myanmar’s second poorest sate, according to Rakhine State officials."

  Some human rights industry profilers on June 6 immediately praised Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tapping Jordan's Prince Zeid to replace Navi Pillay as High Commissioner on Human Rights by saying that "as a Muslim," Zeid will acting on the Rohingya issue. How about UNICEF reportly agreeing to not even use the word Rohingya?

  Back on May 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, to put the question to Ban's “Good Office” envoy to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar.

  Are these Good Offices? And what is Nambiar's and the UN's response to a new report documenting the UN's troubling role during the final stage of Sri Lanka's conflict in 2009?

  UNICEF on its website acknowledges then spins:

$ 87,000 per month... Standard due diligence on the owner and her family concluded that none of the international sanctions in place until recently had been levied against the landlady or her immediate family and no criminal charges were extant. Although allegations against a member of her family who was once a member of the previous military regime surfaced, the official had since left public office and was not subject to any criminal charges or international sanctions.”

  Is that the UN's standard -- member of previous military regime is fine to pay $87,000 a month to, as long as no current criminal charges?

  And what now of the report UNICEF agreed not to use the word Rohingya?

This is what Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman, on May 23:

Inner City Press: on Myanmar,I wanted to ask it here, because there’s a good offices mandate of the Secretariat. UNICEF has acknowledged that it’s paying $87,000 a month in rent to a former member of the military Government of Myanmar. And, although they say that they did a sanctions check and found… they acknowledge that the person was a member of the junta, they say that it’s okay. And I wanted to know, is this sort of, UN-wide, does the UN in terms of looking at its business relationships and the payments of those types of money — is just not being on the sanctions list enough? Or is there some higher standard?

Spokesman Dujarric: Let me look at what UNICEF has said and if I have anything, I’ll get back to you.

Inner City Press: And maybe ask Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar. That was my thought.

Spokesman: Would be happy to.

Inner City Press: And about the Sri Lanka report, as well.

Spokesman: Yes.

  But these, like Inner City Press' repeated questions about the new report on Sri Lanka, by a member of Ban's only Panel of Experts, have gone unanswered.

  The issue of rent and war crimes has arisen before at the UN in connection with Sri Lanka. In 2011 the president of the UN Correspondents Association agreed with Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona to screen a government film denying war crimes in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.

  This was agreed to without asking other UNCA executive committee members like Inner City Press -- which since quit UNCA and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access -- and without disclosure or recusal. Inner City Press reported a previous financial relationship -- rent -- between Kohona and the UNCA president. The subsequent attempts to censor Inner City Press are sketched here and have continued since, sometimes comically. But this is not fUNny. This is the UN. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]