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On Myanmar US Haley Hails Sanctions on Commanders for Atrocities After Guterres' Envoy Silent on Ban of Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 17  – After a long delay UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in April named as the UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener. As she issued a glowing read out of her first visit to the country, it was next door Bangladesh and not the UN which announces that Guterres and the World Bank's Jim Kim would visit there on July 1. On July 3 Guterres had Inner City Press ousted from the UN, and on July 5 entirely banned pending a review of the "incident" - his own Security officers' abuse of the Press. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II. On August 17, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said,"The new sanctions announced today by the U.S. Treasury Department make it clear that the United States is prepared to hold those responsible for atrocities in Burma accountable for their actions. The security forces who have been designated have taken part in some of the most horrific forms of human rights abuses, including ethnic cleansing. We will continue to shine a light on these atrocities and take action against the perpetrators. All communities in Burma deserve to live in peace without the fear of further violence and abuses." We'll have more on / from this. On August 10, MSF said: "Independent humanitarian agencies remain largely blocked from accessing vulnerable communities in northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, raising major concerns about the unmet medical and humanitarian needs in an area where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) previously treated thousands of patients per month.

On August 11, 2017, two weeks prior to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Myanmar Army’s so-called “clearance operations” that followed, MSF lost government authorization to carry out medical activities in northern Rakhine. One year later, MSF remains unable to operate in northern Rakhine. While MSF has repeatedly requested that the Myanmar government grant it the necessary travel and activity authorizations to provide medical care to those in need, administrative red tape has made this impossible.

“The lack of sustained independent assessments in northern Rakhine means that no one has a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground and the medical and humanitarian needs,” said Benoit De Gryse, MSF’s operations manager for Myanmar. “MSF, once again, requests the government grant immediate and unfettered access to northern Rakhine to all independent and impartial humanitarian actors to ensure that the health care needs of the population can be evaluated and addressed.”O
n July 23, while Guterres was on vacation and his Communicator Alison Smale iwas incommunicado, Sweden as president of the Security Council managed a press encounter with Guterres envoy
Christine Schraner Burgener from which Inner City Press was banned. Here now the real deal: "Her job as she told inside UN sources is to keep good relations with the regime. Gueterres picked her because she will not rock the boat.  Her husband Christoph is a former Swiss ambassador to Yangon. He attempted to sell tourism [and] use [of] Swiss airplanes to Myanmar generals before the sham election of 2010.  After 2012 programs in Rakhine the Swiss government sponsored the visit of a Rakhine demagogue who called for Muslim cleansing of Rakhine.  His name is Vet surgeon Dr Aye Maung.  He met with Myanmar generals, four weeks before the Aug 25 military terror. Gueterres himself backs these cowardly unprincipled diplomats. All UN agencies and heads in Myanmar (UNDP, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA and resident coordinators  kowtow  to Suu kyi and are complicit in genocide.  Guterres was informed about the complicity and he refused to open any internal investigation." Inner City Press had previously reported this, from other sources, before it was assaulted by Guterres' Security, ousted and now banned. On July 23  Schraner Burgener got asked about the UN's MOU - but not by what right the UN kept it confidential. She claimed that the government if fine with the return of the Rohingya, it is only conditions in the community which delay it. She praised Aung San Suu Kyi as flexible. She got asked about the "Reuters reporters" by one silent and in fact complicit with UN's roughing up, ouster and ban of Inner City Press. Then it was over. Meanwhile this on his UN system's MOU: "The Burma Task Force (BTF) has condemned the recently agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Nations and the Myanmar government as a non-starter. The agreement, recently made public, claims to establish a “framework for cooperation” on the Rohingya crisis, but excludes the critical issues of citizenship, security, and accountability for crimes against humanity committed by the Myanmar government. Consequently it has drawn widespread criticism from Rohingya refugees and international observers alike. According to critics of the agreement, the Myanmar government has proven its unwillingness to engage in good-faith negotiations through its refusal to restore citizenship to over a million Rohingya Muslims. Without citizenship, basic rights to security, property, and livelihood are effectively non-existent. Moreover, Rohingya leaders themselves were not consulted in the development of the agreement... Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims live in the world's largest refugee camp located outside Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. There, they join hundreds of thousands of existing Rohingya refugees in the country who fled from earlier spasms of violence in Myanmar. Officially deprived of their citizenship since 1982, the Rohingya have been subject to several successive waves of pogroms and military assaults. Most recently, in the summer of 2017 some 700,000 unarmed Rohingya civilians were expelled from Myanmar through a massive military offensive." And from another group: "we are also deeply concerned about UN agencies speculating about the ‘safety of Rohingya people.’ UNHCR, UNDP and other UN agencies have not been able to establish safe conditions for Rohingya since previous repatriations. In fact the situation has deteriorated under the watch of the UN in Myanmar. Troublingly, UN leadership in Myanmar has a poor track record on the ground with respect to Rohingyas’ need for international protection." Today's UN under Guterres is failing. At it turns out this is during an eleventh hour UN budget showdown on Guterres' ostensible reforms, which the investigative Press is restricted from covering, see below. On July 2 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about his claim the UN Peacekeeping numbers were "approved" on Sunday, with Inner City Press barred from the building and no open meeting on UNTV, and about Sheikh Hasina's plan to move Rohingya to an island. Haq repeated the "approved" claim, rather than stating Guterres view of the island directed Inner City Press to the belated transcript of Guterres' Q&A in Bangladesh. But that UN transcript does not even purport to show what the question was. Here it is: "Q: On Memorandum of Understanding, and on island. SG: First of all, in relation to the MOU, I think I have already clearly responded. This was a first step,in which the UNDP and the UNHCR tried to force the government of Myanmar  to recognize a number of rights to try to pave the way for a potential future return.  It must be considered not as a final agreement on return or anything of the sort. I was informed that the Government of Bangladesh is investing in creating conditions for the development of one island; as the silt moves new islands are being formed in the coast of Bangladesh. So, there is this project. Obviously, UNHCR has been in contact with the government and offered to do an assessment, to see when these works are concluded how the conditions exist in order to allow for a possible important support of that infrastructure to the Rohingyas in Myanmar. But, for the moment, we have no more information except that indeed the Government is investing in this island to create facilities that can serve I believe also several other purposes. We see with a lot of interest any initiative of the Government of Bangladesh in this regard, because the living conditions here are of course, as you have seen, extremely difficult." So Guterres is OK with it? And as Inner City Press has asked Guterres' Office of the Spokesperson without answer, is the MOU public or confidential, like Guterres' billion dollar "approvals"? Inner City Press' sources among senior Guterres official describe him as having long rebuffed staff suggestions to speak out about attacks on Rohinga, based on Guterres' mis-placed faith in Aung San Suu Kyi. Guterres' actual history makes a mockery of his quote in Bangladesh that "We're keeping up pressure on Myanmar...we need to put more pressure on Myanmar to make them understand what they should do on this issue." Really? When has Guterres stood up to Aung San Suu Kyi? Or even Sheikh who "said the government is preparing an island to relocate around 100,000 Rohingyas." What has Guterres said about that? Watch this site. Typically, the UN at first refused to even confirm what Bangladesh said.. On June 21, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the Myanmar envoy.  I wanted to ask you to confirm that the Secretary-General will be in Bangladesh in Cox's Bazar in early July.  The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh has announced that, that he'll be there with Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank.  They've talked about the specifics of World Bank funding.  So, given that they've said that, will you confirm it?

Deputy Spokesman:  At this stage, as you know, with all trips, once we have an announcement ready, we'll announce it.  We don't have anything to announce at this stage.

Inner City Press:  And I also wanted to ask you, relate… in the same… in Cox's Bazar, a well-known Rohingya spokesperson/representative, Arifullah, was hacked to death.  And I wanted to know, is there any… I mean, given that the UN is present in these camps, who's responsible for it?  What will be done about it?  What's your comment on it?

Deputy Spokesman:  We are aware of these latest reports, which are disturbing.  Obviously, we would hope that the local law enforcement authorities in Cox's Bazar investigate this thoroughly." What is the UN for?
Why is Guterres' UN so untransparent? At 2 am local time on Sunday, July 1 Guterres arrived in Dhaka via Qatar Airlines, with his spokesman Stephane Dujarric who on June 19 provided a private UN Press Briefing Room Q&A to Qatar's Al Jazeera, here, leading to claims that Inner City Press covering it, from the hall, was too aggressive. On June 22 Guterres' armed guards ousted Inner City Press during an event at which Guterres gave a speech about a previous trip, separating Inner City Press from its laptop for three days.
Video here, story here, new petition here. Dujarric then rejected questions about it, and Guterres and his team have not replied. In Dhaka they headed to the Radisson Blu Water Garden. We'll have more on this.

Here's the beginning of Christine Schraner Burgener's read-out: "United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener conducted her first official visit to Myanmar from 12 to 21 June.  In Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Rakhine state, she met among others with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw U T Khun Myat, Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw U Mahn Win Khine Than, Minister in the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe, Chair of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw's Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission  Thura Shwe Mann, Chairman of the Election Commission U Hla Thein, the Rakhine State Government including Chief Minister U Nyi Pu, conflict-affected communities and families in Rakhine state, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), people currently displaced along the international border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, representatives of Myanmar’s civil society, members of women associations, as well as with the United Nations country team, the diplomatic community and international NGOs. In all meetings, she stressed the need for inclusive solutions that integrated the views and important voices of women. The Special Envoy expresses her sincere appreciation to the Government of Myanmar and other interlocutors for their warm welcome and excellent organization of her visit."  Inner City Press hears of large acreage of Rohinga's land to be given to corporations in Maungdaw. The Bangladesh Mission's website, hosted by the UN, has as its latest News items from 2015. Guterres will meet her later on May 22; he has recent banned the Press' live stream Periscope even from events in his conference room which his UNTV films. As to Christine Schraner Burgener, as Inner City Press noted on April 25, and asked Guterres' spokesman about on April 26, she was hauled in by the Germany foreign ministry to explain Swiss spying on German tax agents looking into murky tax evasion bank accounts in her native Switzerland, here.  Inner City Press, after publishing on April 25, on April 26 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there was a pretty widely reported case, while she was the Ambassador of Switzerland to Germany, in which she was brought in to answer questions about Swiss buying on a German investigation of… of tax evasion, essentially trying to block the leaked tax evader list.  And I wanted to know, is that something that the UN vetted in making the selection?  And what can you also say about the process of getting Myanmar to agree to this?  But, I wanted to ask about the vetting…

Spokesman:  She was, obviously, vetted, and she is now coming on board.  On your second question, the authorities in Myanmar were consulted, as others in the region were."
The UN Security Council, venue last month of four failed draft resolutions on Syria  (and today, we predict a failed draft Press Statement on Gaza), was dis-invited from visiting Iraq. But even silenced the circus continued, with insider media. The Council visited in Myanmar - while Rohingyas who recently fled by boat to Indonesia are ostensibly being served by the UN International Organization for Migration (which might soon be headed by Ken Isaacs, see below). Council members met not only with Aung San Suu Kyi but also military leader Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing who said in a speech to military personnel and their families in northern Kachin State that the Rohingya “do not have any characteristics or culture in common with the ethnicities of Myanmar.” On May 14 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Karen Pierce for her understanding if
Aung Hlaing admitted that the Army has committed rapes. Yes, she seemed to say, he gave examples of actions taken. Video here. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: When you were there, was it your understanding that he denied any army rapes - what's your understanding of the military leaders' position on whether sexual abuse by the army has taken place? Amb Pierce: "He condemned sexual exploitation and abuse including that taken by the army and he gave us an illustrative couple of cases where the army authorities had taken action against individuals who had perpetrated that." Pierce also praised the media that accompanied the trip - which, if the past is any guide, the trip leaders hand-picked. Meanwhile DW and others reported he rejected rape claims. So which is it? Aung Hlaing on his Facebook page "reported" (here) that "Senior General Min Aung Hlaing meets with members of the UN Security Council Permanent Representatives, Naypyidaw, April 30 - Senior General Min Aung Hlaing Mr. Peru Gustavo Meza Cuadra Velasquez Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council members, led by this evening Bayintnaung Center meeting hall at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw to discuss it. The meeting with the Chief of Defense, Deputy Chief of Defense-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Coordination Officer (overseeing the Army, Navy, Air Force) Gen Mya Tun Oo and the Chief of Defense (Army) military officials and representatives of the United Nations Security Council member states, Myanmar and neighboring countries, representatives from the Mission to the UN Permanent General. During the meeting, Mr. Gustavo Meza Cuadra Velasquez led by members of the UN Security Council Permanent Representative in northern Rakhine State, Buthidaung, Maungdaw region for security purposes, On the other hand, will be able to accept back those who had left the country, UN agencies and cooperation issues, Friendly, to return to live issues The army in accordance with the law are being kept asking various issues. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on the query to represent the Kingdom of the armed forces of the defense organization, About the only military discipline were strictly working, Military Act laws and international law, Only in accordance with the rules and those who violate discipline. And specific action carried out in accordance with the law, Radical Bengali Terrorist terrorist activities in northern Rakhine such conditions had been occurring, Bengalis in the departure of a neighboring country in accordance with bilateral agreements with Myanmar to accept your existence, Army instructions from the government, there should be a partnership in accordance with accused With regard to sexual violence in their country's culture, According to the religious assigned to the expected disgust serious action carried out, The Army and the crimes have been punished more severely, Does not like in the military with a history of sexual violence." So what is the Council doing? Have they, as some report, even agreed not to use the word Rohingya? UN staff accompanying the Security Council trip overlap who previously worked on the UN's failed (non) response to the slaughter of the Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009. Plus ca change. In Bangladesh, Rohingya demands, on a sign in this video, include "Restore Citizenship, Ethnicity #rohingya, Rehabilitate Own Land, Compensate Loses, Allow International Media In Arakan." The Dhaka Daily Star reported, "The international media highlighted the exodus as one of the worst human rights crises, which needed to be resolved urgently to avoid instability in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The AP, Reuters, AFP, and The Gurdian, The New York Times, Washington Post, Deutsche Welle, US News, The Hill, The Peninsula Qatar, Inner City Press, Business Line, Bahrain News Agency, Asian Tribune, Eastern Mirror, The Arab Weekly, Times of Malta,, Gulf Digital News, Firstpost, The Nation, Kuwait News Agency, PTI, and The Seattle Times among other media organisations have been releasing and publishing reports on the UNSC visit prominently. However, Indian and Chinese media have not been covering the visit as widely." They might have mentioned, for example, the lack of even the word Myanmar, or Burma, or Rohingya, in the interntional sections of Japanese media Sankei Shinbun, based in a country that aspires to a permanent UN Security Council seat. Meanwhile Mansour Al-Otaibi, the Ambassador of Kuwait, on whose plane the Security Council and accompaniers flew, in response was restrained, appropriate given the Council's recent record. He said, "“We are not promising we will do something very quick. But when we go back to New York this issue will be one of our priorities and we will do our utmost to find a solution to this humanitarian crisis." For some, it was hard not to recall the UN's and Security Council's inaction amid the slaughter of the Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009.... Meanwhile "UN News," run by the UN's "Global Communicator" Alison Smale, ran a story quoting only the UN International Organization for Migration. This as controversial IOM candidate Ken Isaacs seeks to campaign in the UN but not in public, only in the private clubhouse. The Free UN Coalition for Access has asked, including the spokesman for the President of the UN General Assembly, that at least Isaacs appear for question in public. All this requires is for a member state to sponsor it, and it does not have to be Isaacs' member state. We'll have more on this.  The local press, unlike those chosen to accompany the trip, named who was there - all but two (the deputies of the US and Cote d'Ivoire) by name: "UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said after the arrival of the delegation on Saturday. ‘This is a historic visit.’ United Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN in New York Karen Pierce,, China’s deputy permanent representative ambassador Wu Haitao, French deputy permanent representative Anne Gueguen, Russian Federation’s deputy permanent representative Sergey Kononuchenko, and a deputy permanent representative of the United States were representing respective country among five permanent members to the Security Council.
Permanent representatives Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz of Bolivia, Anatolio Ndong of Equatorial Guinea, Tekeda Alemu of Ethiopia, Kairat Umarov of Kazakhstan, Mansour Al-Otaibi of Kuwait, Karel Oosterom of Netherlands, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra of Peru, Joanna Wronecka of Poland, Olof Skoog of Sweden, and deputy permanent representative of Ivory Coast were representing respective country among 10 non-permanent members to the Security Council...
The Chinese representative wanted to know, in the meetings, about the progress in bilateral efforts with Myanmar on repatriation, while the Russian diplomat was interested in the reactions of local Bangladeshi host community in dealing with the Rohingyas. The Ethiopian diplomat talked about the hatred among majority community in Myanmar against Rohingyas. Bangladesh officials said that the Myanmar military instigated and sponsored hate campaign against minority Rohingyas for several decades. The US diplomat was interested in the preparations for the monsoon season to avoid further disaster while the UK representative wanted to know how they could provide more help to Bangladesh to support the victims. " Earlier, an aid worker tweeted of delay at the airport due to the Kuwait plane, but expressed hope in the Council's visit. So do we all. There was local focus on the venues: Royal Tulip Hotel on Inani beach, Cox's Bazar, then Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on Sunday evening. The Council most recently promoted the new conference center at Dag Hammarskjold's farm, where they apparently agreed not to argue in public about Syria - which Syria's Ambassador Ja'afari, with a smile, told Inner City Press he had brought about be threatening to speak if any of them did. On April 28 the Council in New York kicked the can down the road on Western Sahara, as they have since 1991. Kuwait did, however, appear afterward at the Council stakeout with the Ambassadors of Palestine, Tunisia and the Arab League, here. Earlier, the UN invited (some) correspondents: "members of the Security Council have agreed to send a mission to Iraq, Bangladesh, and Myanmar during the period from 26 April to 2 May 2018... Please inform the Office of the Spokesperson by close of business on Friday, 13 April, if you are interested in traveling on this Council trip." Inner City Press expressed interest but was, predictably now, turned down. A P5 spokesman, said, audible to those not bought in, that is was not set in stone that "Security Council Report" would go. But it apparently has. SCR "reports" that "during the visiting mission, which will take place from 28 April to 2 May, the Council delegation will visit Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka; refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh; Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw; and northern Rakhine state in Myanmar." What about Kachin, which Inner City Press asked about twice this week? Guterres has belatedly chosen an envoy: Christine Schraner Burgener. But she was hauled in by the Germany foreign ministry to explain Swiss spying on German tax agents looking into murky tax evasion bank accounts in her native Switzerland, here. Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric - dodged - and the a tax evasion panel in Dujarric's briefing room on April 27.  On October 26, speaking of UN Security Council proposals on Myanmar at a quiet film event hosted by one of the too-quiet proponents, Yanghee Lee was quoted going beyond what she said in the UN: "#UN Special Rapporteur on #Myanmar: #SecurityCouncil needs to adopt strong #Burma resolution- appeals to #China #Japan& #Russia not to block." The inclusion of Japan is surprising - or not. Because on October 27 in the UN's ECOSOC Chamber, the Japanese Mission to the UN's Counselor Mr. Hajime Kishimori chose as his story to an audience about sexual violence against women the time at a camp for Myanmar refugees in Thailand he asked a (male) chef to contribute Japanese recipes to the "refugee mothers." Video here,from 31:15. He talked about an under-covered WAW meeting in Tokyo, and an upcoming fifth "Peaces" event in the UN. Kishimori recounted bringing UNIQLO clothing from Japan to refugee women in Nepal, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Some of the audience marveled at the panel's lone male using as his examples to women, cooking and clothes. The moderator Alison Smale said nothing, perhaps because Japan is the rapporteur of the Committee on Information, in which self-interested speeches about language rights allow DPI to claim it is doing a good job. Then why is Antonio Guterres ordering outside consultants? And why was DPI's propaganda coverage of his trip to CAR needed, and so-stand alone? The mostly knee-jerk anti Chinese of Japanese media Sankei Shimbun, while missing more and more stories at the UN, has switched to a scribe named Kevin Pinner who brags online of his time as a copywriter in Shenzhen for "Chinavasion Wholesale Ltd, I named products, generated slogans." Slogans indeed. Now Pinner is uselessly typing up quotes on Palestine that are not used, talking about his boss and then falling asleep in the bullpen, sidling up to state media using "Sonkei... the right wing smallest of the major Japanese papers" as a calling card, gushing a pedigree of Chinese media (great) and Swiss magazines - the state media had not heard of Sankei. On April 27 he was not even at the UN noon briefing where the PGA meeting with the  Korean Ambassador was announced. On April 18 at a stakeout on Syria covered by Inner City Press, present were other Japanese media but not Sankei. Its Mayu Uetsuka now "covered" Stormy Daniels, with cookie cutter comparisons of the US and France and swipes at evangelicals, absurdly under the rubric "Reading the United States." And why not Canada, with superficial coverage of a mere "motion" about the South China Sea? The irony is that with all this mechanical (and apparently hypocritical) anti China energy, they didn't cover the CEFC bribery scandal at the UN. Meanwhile they missed even the story of the US Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, see Inner City Press' coverage here. This reading will continue. Uutsuka, an embarrassment even to her predecessor Jun Kurosawa and, in Paris Mina Mitsui actually covering Syria, previously "reported" on MLK events in Memphis, while using UK-based corporate wire coverage of the issues impacting its own readership. We'll have more on this - and on this: amid the killing and displacement of Rohingya from and in Myanmar's Rakhine State, on November 10 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres citing a resolution pending in the General Assembly's Third Committee which would request him "to appoint a special envoy on Myanmar." On December 26, after it was finally approved on Christmas Eve, Inner City Press asked the UN when Guterres will act. In due course, whatever that means. As of April 12, he has done nothing. On April 17, Inner City Press asked Guterres' Assistant SG Ursula Mueller if during her five day trip to Myanmar the issue of the mandated envoy was even broached. She said it was not. (Her full briefing is archived on UNTV, including Inner City Press' question to her on the UN's mis-handling of the crackdown in Cameroon on Anglophones). While Mueller was briefing, Inner City Press received this from the UN: "Hi, Matthew.
Your request to join the Council delegation to Bangladesh and Myanmar was unfortunately not accepted." So who was accepted, and why? We may have more on this. At the day's noon briefing a correspondent - not this one - asked "The Security Council has set a date for its trip to Myanmar, Bangladesh and Iraq.  I'm wondering what the Secretary-General hopes to see from that trip and if you have a status update about the selection process for a Special Representative to the country.

Spokesman:  No, no update on the process to find a Special Envoy for Myanmar from the Secretary-General.  What we hope is that the Council will show unity on the trip.  It will help improve the situation in Myanmar, in terms of helping the Government implement the Annan… the conclusions of the [Kofi] Annan panel.  And we also very much hope that it will help refocus the attention of the international community on the plight of those Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh and the need… the continuous need to fund the humanitarian operations.  As you know, we're coming up to the monsoon season, which will create even newer and more challenges to them." Inner City Press has timely asked to go, specifically to Rakhine State; it is noted that a spokesperson said there will be three spots and "it is not Gospel" that Security Council Report will be one of them. Receipt of Inner City Press' request has been confirmed. We'll have more on this. On March 21 at the UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar, the President, as you may have seen, has resigned for… reportedly due to health reasons, Mr. Htin… H-t-i-n K-y-a-w.  And I wanted to know whether this… who is the UN's interlocutor on… it seems like it's been a long time on the envoy, so it probably seem… would indicate that the… on the Government side, there's some thoughts of what the name should be.  Does this change at the very… at the top or at least the titular top of the Government in Myanmar have any impact on the process?

Spokesman:  Well, the process is ongoing, and we consult with various parties.  Obviously, as with the dispatch of any envoy, country-specific envoy, there are discussions that are had with the Government… the Government in place, whatever Government that is, and I have no reason to believe that that's not going on there.

Inner City Press: And I… I’ve seen that the Secretary-General met twice pretty recently with Kevin Rudd, including one quite recently.  And I wanted to know, is there any readout on that?  His name was at one point floated.  I don't know if he would take this job or I don't know if he's being considered for it, but what's the… especially with two meetings so close to each other…

Spokesman:  No, I'm aware of the meetings…

Inner City Press: …[inaudible] request of Mr.  Rudd?

Spokesman:  I'm aware of the… of the rumours, which are… which are exactly that.  Mr. Rudd, I think, has an appointment here at the Japan Society, if I'm not…

Inner City Press: Asia.

Spokesman:  …mis… the Asia Society, my mistake.  But there is no specific readout of that meeting." Why not? Meanwhile, o
n Myanmar, Japan's Abe government's ambiguous position was highlighted back in October 2017 when UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee urged the country, still then on the UN Security Council, not to block a Council resolution, here. Now, after pro-Abe media Sankei Shimbun claimed breathlessly from Singapore via Hideki Yoshimura that its Myanmar sources assured it Rohingya would begin returning from Bangladesh on March 16, the government has in fact built chain link fences to prevent such returns. As initially with an Okinawa do-gooder story, until now no retraction.
Instead, opting for now instead like Mayu Uetsuka of Sankei Shimsun, here, to jump on the U.S. gun control bandwagon, while having ignored the UN itself promoting and advertising automatic weapons, tanks and even rocket launchers in its 1-B basement. (Inner City Press exclusive series, here, video here.) Are these glaring omissions known to correspondents Hiroyuki Kano, Krose Etsuia and even, in London, Okabe Shinbun? To say nothing of actually detained Tatsuya Kato who at least then defended press freedom, with Jun Kurosawa UNdeclared? On March 19, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujrric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask yoy about a Myanmar-proposed law and international NGOs [non-governmental organizations] which would regulate, it purports not only international NGOs but at the UN, to the degree that it's separate from that.  I know that OCHA [Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] sometimes coordinates with NGOs that have these concerns, but it would regulate the UN, as well.  Is the UN aware of this law?  Do they believe it would apply to them?  And what's the status — and I'm sorry to ask you this again, but — of the envoy that was discussed in September and fully mandated in December? Spokesman:  There's no update on the envoy.  The discussions are ongoing.  I mean no updates to announce.  The discussions are obviously very much ongoing.  We're aware of the law.  You know, the presence of the UN is regulated through the Charter and through international obligations that Member States have.  But, obviously, I've… we've seen the law as being debated, but I will leave it at that principled response." Yeah, principled. On March 8, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: if you have any comment.  The US Holocaust Memorial Museum stripped a human rights award from Aung San Suu Kyi based on her response or… or lack of response in the Rohingya.  I wanted to know if you have any kind of, I guess, comment on… on that and also what the status of the envoy… many Member States now, whenever the issue comes up, are saying they urge António Guterres to move forward? Spokesman:  Consultations are being had.  And I have no particular comment on the decision… the, as we say, the sovereign decision of the US Holocaust Museum." For envoy a name in circulation, rightly or wrongly, is Kevin Rudd of Australia. It would be quite a come-down, since as Inner City Press reported (as picked up in Australia), Rudd tried for UN Secretary General in 2016. But hope springs eternal, and Rudd always tries to show a sympathy to China's position. What might he think of the China Energy Fund Committee bribery scandal which Inner City Press, alone among the UN press corps, is covering? This week Rudd met with Guterres, but there has been no read-out (we've asked). We'll have more on this.  In DC, Senator Ed Markey said passage of his amendment to the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act (S.2060) that strengthens accountability measures for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against the Rohingya by Burma’s military. More than 600,000 Rohingya civilians, mostly women and children, have fled Burma into Bangladesh to escape violence. “We need to bridge the impunity gap that re-victimizes Rohingya survivors and fails to hold Burma’s military officers accountable,” said Senator Markey. “Widespread sexual violence suggests that these crimes were not incidental but a calculated tool of terror. The international community must send a strong signal that militaries cannot use sexual violence as a tool of war.” A copy of Senator Markey’s amendment can be found here." On February 1, new Security Council president Kuwait said there will be no Council trip there this month. From Washington, US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said, "The depravity in Burma today is absolutely gut-wrenching. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are known by many as brave and decent reporters. They remain in jail on absurd charges for one reason only: they were doing their jobs. And just this morning, we learned that at least five new mass graves have been uncovered near a former Rohingya village in Rakhine State. The village itself appears to have been totally destroyed. This is just one of countless atrocities that have been carried out by Burma’s military and security services against the Rohingya Muslims in recent months. The ethnic cleansing must stop. The U.S. House has called for action against those responsible and is looking for the administration to follow through.” Back on January 11, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  In Myanmar, you may have seen that the… the commander-in-chief of the military has basically admitted that… that these bodies that were found in something called Indin were, in fact, killed by the army and… and Buddhist villagers, he described it as.  So, it's a rare admission.  So, I wanted to know, one, what's the UN's reaction to it?  And, two, if… what steps the Secretary-General has taken on the GA's [General Assembly], you know, mandate, I guess, to have…? Spokesman:  On the… when we have something to announce on the envoy, we will.  We've heard and understood the instructions in the General Assembly.  I think what is important is that those individuals who are responsible for perpetrating these heinous acts be brought to justice." Yeah - like the UN has been brought to justice in Haiti and elsewhere. On January 10, the Myanmar
military's commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, has said that villagers and security forces killed “10 Bengali terrorists” found in Rakhine state's Inn Din village last year. “The army will take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement. This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists.” Shades of Sri Lanka. On January 3, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: given the budget's inclusion of funds for the naming of a Myanmar envoy.  Has the Secretary-General taken any steps? What's the timeline for actually naming such a person? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we don't, at this stage, have an announcement to make about the naming of a person.  Once we do, we will.  But now that the budget has been agreed, we will comply with it and proceed with the naming of an official." When? Tellingly, when Inner City Press asked Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the widely circulated Guardian story quoting "The meeting with the state counselor was a cordial courtesy call of approximately 45 minutes that was, unfortunately, not substantive in nature,” Patten wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres," Dujarric told Inner City Press is he "not aware of letter. Will check." Here's the exchange: "ICP 12/27 - 1: On Myanmar, confirm or deny the existence and separately content of the reported letter from Pramila Patten to the Secretary General last week informing him that Aung San Suu Kyi refused to address in her meeting with the UN envoy the detailed allegations of rapes by the Myanmar Army, and what the Secretary General intends to do about it (the refusal, and the rapes). NOT AWARE OF LETTER. WILL CHECK." With no answer on January 2, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: could I ask one another thing that I asked last week, which was this reported letter by Pramila Patten of the… the… the Special Adviser on sexual violence and conflict.  I'm sure you saw the story quoting from a letter from her to the Secretary-General, saying that Aung San Suu Kyi refused to… to address the issue of alleged rapes by the Myanmar army of Rohingya.  And so, one… somehow last week, they couldn't… you couldn't confirm that even such a letter was written.  Did she write a letter at the end of her mission, that's one question.  And the second one is, can you confirm what The Guardian reported as the content, which is that Aung San Suu Kyi didn't engage whatsoever on these serious allegations? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we're in touch with her office.  Once we have any information from her about her Myanmar mission and what she had to say about Aung San Suu Kyi's actions, we'll let you know. Inner City Press: But, do you have the… I mean, did she write a letter, or is The Guardian wrong? Deputy Spokesman:  I can't confirm that at this point.  We're in touch with her office." Nothing. On December 20, Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres who is going on vacation until January 2, about Myanmar's most recent move. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: Myanmar is blocking the Yang… Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on human rights, and I'm wondering whether the Secretary-General… what he thinks about it, whether anyone in the UN system is pushing back. Spokesman:  I think it's regrettable.  We feel that all countries should cooperate with the human rights mechanisms.  Special Rapporteurs, as you know, are independent of the Secretary-General, but we do hope to see the decision reversed." Hope without action is just hot air. Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF says "At least 9,000 members of the ethnic Rohingya minority died—most of them from violence—in Rakhine State, Myanmar, between August 25 and September 24, according to surveys conducted in refugee settlement camps in Bangladesh. Of the reported deaths, 71.7 percent were caused by violence. Using the most conservative estimates, at least 6,700 Rohingya are estimated to have been killed, including at least 730 children under the age of five. The survey findings demonstrate that the Rohingya people have been targeted; they are the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence that began August 25, when the Myanmar military, police and local militias launched 'clearance operations' in Rakhine in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. Since then, more than 647,000 Rohingya (according to the Inter Sector Coordination Group as of December 12) have fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh." On December 12 in the UN Security Council meeting on Myanmar, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “We cannot allow more time to pass. There is no denying that these atrocities, including ethnic cleansing, have taken place.... Before they can return, Burmese authorities must create an environment that is safe. There must be a cultural change, which only Burmese leadership can do. While we are hearing promises from Burmese authorities, we must see action.” What about from Guterres, who too long defended the pro-military stance of his representative Lok-Dessallien? Where in the UN is she working now? Inner City Press has asked, but has not been told. Sexual Violence and Conflict envoy Patten is set to visit Myanmar December 14-16, while Guterres sells himself on Wall Street. On December 6, the US House of Representatives the House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 90, which condemns the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calls for an end to the attacks and immediate restoration of humanitarian access to Rakhine State. During debate of the measure on the House floor Tuesday, Chairman Royce said, 'For decades, the Burmese government has systematically oppressed the Rohingya, a Muslim minority living in the Rakhine State of Burma. Importantly, this resolution not only condemns the attacks against civilians by Burma’s security services led by General Min Aung Hlaing, it also reaffirms the crimes committed against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing. State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the de facto leader of Burma, must make it a top priority to provide for the safety of those in Burma, including the Rohingya.'" And still, no UN envoy, after Lok Dessallien. On November 22 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, "it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. Those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable. The United States continues to support a credible, independent investigation to further determine all facts on the ground to aid in these processes of accountability. We have supported constructive action on the Rakhine crisis at the UN Security Council and in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. The United States will also pursue accountability through U.S. law, including possible targeted sanctions." After a delay attributable to Guterres' Secretariat, the Committee on November 16 after speeches by Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Somalia, Egypt and the US on the one hand and Myanmar, Belarus, Russia and China (against), a "we're not participating" by Iran and a point of order by Syria, approved the resolution 135 yes, 10 against, 26 abstentions. On the day it was scheduled to be voted on, November 14, Guterres' Secretariat had not prepared the required "Program Budget Implication" document, akin to a CBO score in the US Congress, and therefore the vote could not be held. Inner City Press is informed it will be held on November 16 at 10 am; after asking it's just been told the PBI document is now online here. On November 15, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  it's Myanmar related.  It was said when… on… one, if there's any update on getting a… a formalised Resident Coordinator.  And also it was said that Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien, around whom there was some controversy in terms of dealing with the Rohingya issue, it was said that she's come back to headquarters to assume another role.  And so I asked… I've asked once before, but I just want to know, what is that role? Is it going to be as Resident Coordinator in another country? Is it for DPA [Department of Political Affairs]? What is the role? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, we don't have anything to announce at present.  When we do, we will." So where is Lok? What's she getting paid for? Inner City Press went to the November 14 noon briefing and asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Guterres' Secretariat had failed in this way. Dujarric had no answer, nor if the past is any guide will he get or provide an answer. He didn't answer, for the second day in a row, detailed Press questions about Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed signing thousands of certificates for endangered rosewood already sold and shipped to China. The draft resolution, ready since October, "Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices and to pursue his discussions relating to Myanmar, involving all relevant stakeholders and including the concerns addressed in herein, and in this regard to appoint a special envoy on Myanmar." We'll have more on this. On November 6 the UN Security Council adopted a non-binding Presidential Statement (here) rather than the earlier discussed draft resolution. Afterward Myanmar's representative denounced even the Statement. Then at the stakeout, Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen what he made the Myanmar representative's statement: was he representing Aung San Suu Kyi or the military? Allen replied that what matters is what Myanmar does. French Ambassador Francois Delattre, responding to a solicited question in French, said that Presidential Statements are of the same value as resolutions. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press on October 30 asked Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, the UN Security Council's penholder on Myanmar, about the then-draft resolution. Now on November 6 Rycroft's deputy Jonathan Allen has confirmed that there will be no resolution, only a non-binding Presidential Statement to be read-out on the afternoon of November 6. Periscope video here; Inner City Press also asked Allen about the blockade of Yemen by the UK-supported Saudi-led coalition, into which Allen says inquiries are being made. From the UK's October 30 transcript: Inner City Press: On Myanmar [Burma], what’s the progress on the resolution? When do you think you might put it to a vote? Amb Rycroft: "We’re making good, careful progress with our Council colleagues on that. We want to keep everyone together if we possibly can. This is a difficult issue for many of us. We are determined, though, to step up, and we see the atrocious situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine state, and for those who have fled into Bangladesh... we now need to work carefully to get that into a resolution if there is the appetite for that." When Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, took questions on October 26, Inner City Press asked her about the government not approving a replacement for UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien, who is now leaving at the end of October. Ms. Lee confirmed that the government has rejected a UN Assistant Secretary General being sent, not wanting that special attention. Later on October 26, speaking of UN Security Council proposals on Myanmar at a quiet film event hosted by one of the too-quiet proponents, Yanghee Lee was quoted going beyond what she said in the UN: "#UN Special Rapporteur on #Myanmar: #SecurityCouncil needs to adopt strong #Burma resolution- appeals to #China #Japan& #Russia not to block." Well, on November 2 Rycroft confirmed what Inner City Press had heard: the draft resolution is quietly being down-shifted to a mere Presidential Statement, non binding. On November 2, before heading out of New York City for the so-called Finnish Workshop with the six incoming Council members, Rycroft said: "At the moment, it’s still a draft resolution. It could turn into a PRST if that’s the way to keep the Security Council together, and if we were to do that, it would be in order to keep the Security Council together. There would be benefit in having a single, united message quickly to the authorities in Myanmar, and if the way to do that is to turn what is a strong, balanced text into a PRST then we will do that." As to Russia, its foreign ministry spokesperson  Maria Zakharova said, "we are ready for a constructive discussion of further steps of the UNSC on this issue." And given China's recent absention on extending the mandate of the Syria chemical weapons JIM investigative mechanism while Russia vetoed and Bolivia voted no, many are left wondering about... Japan, as referenced by Yanghee Lee. While some might mechanically cite rifts between Japan and Yanghee Lee's South Korea (see for example Japan opposing registration at UNESCO of "comfort women" documentation, Inner City Press story here), there's more to be said about Japan, Myanmar and the Rohingya. Watch this site. In the UN Press Briefing Room, Yangee Lee on October 26 told Inner City Press that a person already in the country could be interim Resident Coordinator and that while a new UN Special Adviser might be necessary, it would be important who that person is. Some might ask, why not her? Two hours later on October 26 Inner City Press aske UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar and the UN's presence there, the Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, in a press conference this morning, you know, acknowledged that the UN had asked for an Assistant Secretary-General to replace Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien and had been rejected by the Government.  She's… would be in a position to know.  So, I take… given that, can you say, one, why hasn't… why… you know, can… will you confirm it as a Secretariat representative? And where does it stand… given that we're now 26 October and the… the Resident Coordinator is leaving by the end of the month, where does it stand in terms of having a replacement? What did Mr. [Jeffrey] Feltman leave the country… what was his understanding in terms of who would be running the country team in less than a week? Deputy Spokesman:  I do expect, in the coming days, we'll be able to have an announcement about who will be the Officer-in-Charge of our operations in Myanmar.  We're not at that stage yet, but, like I said, I do expect to have an announcement shortly, and we'll have the details at this point. Inner City Press: Given that she's now said that an ASG [Assistant Secretary-General] was proposed… I'd asked you about Mr. Magdy of… of UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], whether he was the one, but it seems like… do you have a problem confirming that?  She's also a UN system official or Special Rapporteur.  Is she wrong? Deputy Spokesman:  I'm not going to dispute the words of the Special Rapporteur.  We don't go into the discussions that we're having on various positions.  Once we have an announcement to make, like I said, we'll make it.  We're not at that point just yet. Yanghee Lee directed Inner City Press to the Flickr photographs on her mandate's website; they are here, including the toddler she described in her closing statement to the Third Committee on October 25. This is one side of the UN on human rights; here is another: the UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on Friday afternoon at 5 pm. The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.

  It also comes after Alison Smale the head of the Department of Public Information which would “review” Inner City Press' accreditation has ignored three separate petitions from Inner City Press in the six weeks she has been in the job, urging her to remove restrictions on Inner City Press' reporting which hinder its coverage of the UN's performance in such crises as Yemen, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic where Guterres travels next week, with Smale's DPI saying its coverage of the trip will be a test of its public relations ability. But the UN official who triggered the complaint is Maher Nasser, who filled in for Smale before she arrived.

UN's Letter Threatening to Review Inner City Press' Accreditation for Audio Report While Staking Out on Cam... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

His complaint is that audio of what he said to Inner City Press as it staked out the elevators in the UN lobby openly recording, as it has for example with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, here, was similarly published

A UN “Public Information” official is complaining about an article, and abusing his position to threaten to review Inner City Press' accreditation. The UN has previously been called out for targeting Inner City Press, and for having no rules or due process. But the UN is entirely UNaccountable, impunity on censorship as, bigger picture, on the cholera it brought to Haiti. And, it seems, Antonio Guterres has not reformed or reversed anything. This threat is from an official involved in the last round of retaliation who told Inner City Press on Twitter to be less "negative" about the UN - amid inaction on the mass killing in Cameroon - and who allowed pro-UN hecking of Inner City Press' questions about the cholera the UN brought to Haiti and the Ng Lap Seng /John Ashe UN bribery scandal which resulted in six guilty verdicts. We'll have more on this.


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