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On Myanmar, UNSG Guterres Resisted Calls To Act, Deferred to "The Lady," ICP Asks

By Matthew Russell Lee, exclusive; video here

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 – Myanmar's abuse of the Rohingya has suddenly become a major topic for the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But senior UN officials exclusively tell Inner City Press that in the prior months, Guterres repeatedly rejected detailed recommendations made directly to him by some of his officials to become more active on the crisis. The officials tell Inner City Press that Guterres responded that for the UN to become more active might create problems for "The Lady," Aung San Suu Kyi, and the military. So the UN stood by, as it did in Sri Lanka in 2008-2009 and in Rwanda before that, always with an excuse. There was even a ten point plan presented early on to Guterres, on which he never acted. On September 18, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: In Myanmar, I heard from some people that work in the Department of Political Affairs [DPA], and I wanted to get you to respond to this, the idea being that the Secretary-General has been urged for some time, in fact months, to be more vocal or be more active on the issue of the plight of the Rohingya and that, at least at an earlier stage, his analysis was that this might put Aung San Suu Kyi in a difficult decision with the military.  Is that an accurate depiction?  And, if so, has the plight changed so much, or does he think he might have gotten involved earlier? Spokesman:  I would say it's an accurate description.  I think anyone who would have read or seen the Secretary-General's statements on the situation in Myanmar over the last two weeks could only say that he's being vocal and being extremely vocal on the situation.  There is a time for diplomatic engagement. There's a time for speaking out more loudly.  There's a time for speaking out loudly and remaining engaged diplomatically.  The Secretary-General has a number of tools in his kit, and he uses them as he sees fit. Inner City Press:  And has he spoken to Aung San Suu Kyi since…Spokesman:  Not since about ten days ago.  We, obviously, very much are looking forward to hearing what she will have to say in the speech she's scheduled to deliver, I think it's about Tuesday in Myanmar, and I think late tonight here in New York." On September 15 Guterres spokesman arranged a background briefing for his favored correspondents, with senior UN officials we will leave UNnamed - but did not inform or invite Inner City Press, who asks him many questions, including about Myanmar. To this has the UN descended. The UN Security Council's September 13 meeting on Myanmar was a closed affair, after which the President of the Council, Ethiopia, read a statement that "acknowledg[ed] the attack on the Myanmar security forces on August 25," as if the problem began then. It goes back decades. And even in April of this year, this memo was sent to Secretary General Guterres: "The United Nations in-country presence in Myanmar continues to be glaringly dysfunctional. Strong tensions exist within the UN country team, the humanitarian parts of the UN system find itself having to confront the hostility of the development arm, while the human rights pillar is seen as complicating both. The impact of this dysfunctionality is a growing irrelevance of the UN in guiding and defining the international community’s efforts to address the challenges confronting Myanmar." After that, the UN in June 2017 said that Resident Coordinator Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised. But this week Inner City Press asked and found that she is still there; on September 14 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric why didn't happen and he said she it does, he'll say. The UN's hands are not clean, either, some say. To the Ethiopian ambassador on September 13, Inner City Press asked if there was talk of UN envoy, without answer. Periscope video here. In terms of the UN Secretariat, while it said in June that dubious UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien was being rotated out and the position advertised, when Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 12 who the Resident Coordinator in Myanmar is, he first said he didn't know, then after the briefing his Office e-mailed this: "Regarding your question on Myanmar at today's noon briefing, the Resident Coordinator is Renata Lok-Dessalien." So despite saying she was being rotated out and the post advertised, and despite Guterres saying how concerned he is about Myanmar and the Rohingya, three months and thousands of dead later, she's still in. And the Spokesman, Dujarric, didn't even insert this answer into "his" transcript. On September 13 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about criticism of Lok-Dessallein and the country team. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: There is talk of the country team at the UN being too close to the Government over time. There was criticism of the resident co-ordinator. Does the UK feel comfortable that the country team has been on top of this issue, even prior to this August “terrorist attack” that was referenced in press elements? Amb Rycroft: Well one of the points I made was that several of us around the table, including the UN, have very good and close relationships with various parts of the establishment in Myanmar. Some of us with Aung San Suu Kyi, others with the military, and my point is that it’s time now to be using those relationships to get action and to get an end to this deterioration, rather than allowing those relationships to become an end in themselves and to prevent us from taking action. Periscope video here. We'll have more on this. Rycroft on September 11 said, on Myanmar "we have asked for a formal discussion in the Security Council on Wednesday and that is a next step, which I hope will lead to a public outcome in some way. And I think it’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh. It’s up to the Presidency to work out if it’s an AOB or a consultations. I think it will be a private meeting but with a public outcome of some form." On September 7 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who has refused to answer on Coomaraswamy, this about his new boss and Myanmar, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar.  I know that the Secretary-General made the statement that he made, but since then, there are reports of villages that people have been chased out of being burned to the ground, and there are also some reports of landmines placed by the Myanmar military on the border with Bangladesh.  So, I wanted to know if the UN is aware of these reports and also has the Secretary-General actually placed any phone call to Aung San Suu Kyi?  And if he has… Spokesman:  As I said yesterday, he has been, over the last few months, in touch with Aung San Suu Kyi, both by phone and through correspondence.  We've seen the reports.  We're obviously extremely concerned about the reports of continuing violence, especially violence that targets civilians.  The reports of land mines is not one we can confirm, but, obviously, if they were to be true, those would be extremely troubling if they were to be confirmed. Inner City Press:  If you don't… when… when's the last time, since this is kind of a… it's a fast deteriorating situation.  When's the last time that he spoke to her? Spokesman:  "I have no… at this point, I have no further details to share with you." On September 4 before a UN Security Council meeting about North Korea, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about the recent upsurge of killings and ethnic "cleansing" of the Rohingya in Myanmar. Video here; from the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Will there be another meeting on Myanmar? Given what’s happening? Amb Rycroft: "We are following the situation in Burma very closely as well. If it continues to deteriorate then one of the things that we can do is to hold further meetings to shine a spotlight on the situation there. We call on Aung San Suu Kyi to use all of her many qualities to unite the country, to stop the violence, and to bring everyone together in a way that respects the right of all people in Burma." On August 30, after a closed door  Security Council "any other business" meeting about Myanmar, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, video here, UK transcript here: Inner City Press: Is there any discussion of the people caught in this no man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh? Is there any message to Bangladesh in terms of opening the border? Amb Rycroft: "Yes, several of us raised that issue, a lot of us talked about the responsibilities of Bangladesh as a good neighbour and indeed praised them for what they have been doing so far and encouraged them to continue to do so." Before the meeting, Inner City Press asked Rycroft, video here (with Sweden's deputy Skau's answer too), UK transcript below. On August 31, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said, "“The United States supports democracy for the Burmese people, and we condemn attacks by militant groups in Rakhine State. However, as Burmese security forces act to prevent further violence, they have a responsibility to adhere to international humanitarian law, which includes refraining from attacking innocent civilians and humanitarian workers and ensuring assistance reaches those in need. We call on all members of the Security Council to support the Burmese government in ensuring the rights and dignity of all communities in Rakhine State and throughout Burma." From the UK's August 30 transcript: Inner City Press: Aung San Suu Kyi has said that international aid groups are somehow assisting terrorists. Do you think those comments are helpful? What do you think? Amb Rycroft: "Well as I said I think it’s important that all of the parties de-escalate now to reduce tensions and look to the long-term, including through Kofi Annan’s recommendations." On August 28, Inner City Press asked the top three UN spokespeople - they had canceled the noon briefing - the following: "In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has said that international aid NGOs are somehow helping “terrorists.” What is the Secretary General's statement and action on this?"  Lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who ignored Inner City Press' other questions after evicting and still restricting it, replied, "We expect a statement shortly." An hour later, this - which does not address ASSK's comments: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the reports of civilians being killed during security operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. This latest round of violence comes after the attacks on Myanmar security forces on 25 August. The Secretary-General, who condemned those attacks, reiterates the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and the responsibility of the Government of Myanmar to provide security and assistance to those in need. The Secretary-General fully supports the recommendations of the report by Kofi Annan and urges the Government to effectively implement them. Recognizing that Bangladesh has hosted generously refugees from Myanmar for decades, the Secretary-General appeals for the authorities to continue to allow the Rohingya fleeing violence to seek safety in Bangladesh. Many of those fleeing are women and children, some of whom are wounded. He calls for humanitarian agencies to be granted unfettered and free access to affected communities in need of assistance and protection.  The United Nations stands ready to provide all necessary support to both Myanmar and Bangladesh in that regard." On August 14, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: India had announced that it intends to deport Rohingyas from Myanmar regardless of whether they're registered as UN refugees or not.  It's a pretty high-profile announcement, and I'm wondering, given António Guterres's interest in this issue, what's his statement on it? Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, we have our concerns about the treatment of refugees.  Once refugees are registered, they are not to be returned back to countries where they fear persecution.  You're aware of our principles of non-refoulement, and that's what applies in this case. Inner City Press: And who will convey that to India given that they've said at the level of a minister that this is exactly what they intend to do? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, I believe the first point of contact will be through UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees].  Have a good afternoon, everyone." On August 10, Inner City Press asked the UN's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: over the weekend, the Government's own investigative commission on Rakhine State said that there's no evidence of war crimes and was very dismissive of reports, including UN reports, saying there are problems there.  But then there's also some, there's a report of a UN precautionary security notification to its own staff in western Myanmar saying that there's a possibility of, I guess, Buddhist extremists.  And so I just, can you confirm that the UN views this as a danger?  How serious a danger is it? Spokesman:  Well, I think that, our colleagues said they're aware of planned protests in Rakhine State, and, obviously, for us, it's important that we call for peaceful and respectful demonstrations.  We routinely issue precautionary safety and security notifications from the perspective of staff safety and security of our assets and field activities.  The UN underscores that all the people of Myanmar, regardless of ethnicity or background, should be able to live in equality and harmony.  As far as the, as the human rights report, our, the Government report, and situation in Rakhine State, we understand from our human rights colleagues that the full report has not yet been made public.  They look forward to seeing it and studying it.  On the executive summary that was released, the High Commissioner's office said that, noted that many, the commission recommended many allegations of human rights violations must be further investigated.  And I think, given the scale and nature of the human rights violations documented by the UN's own office for human rights earlier this year, it continues to urge the Government of Myanmar to fully cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, including giving it full access.

  In its typically murky fashion and without explanation, the UN has said "The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli (El Salvador), has decided to establish a new composition of the Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar and appoint Mr. Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia) to serve as a member and its Chair." Indira Jaising is gone, replaced by Darusman who, as Inner City Press has reported, previously went soft on Buddhist extremism in Sri Lanka, against the Tamils. See previous report here. We'll have more on this. On July 21 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about Department of Political Affairs official Miroslav Jenca being snubbed while in the country. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: when Mr. Jenca, Miroslav Jenca, went to Myanmar he was, quote, snubbed, unable to meet with any high officials.  Do you deny that?  Who did he meet with there? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, Mr. Jenca, actually the report was inaccurate in a number of ways — Mr. Jenca told us, in fact, he was there as you know for the Panglong conference and as part of that, in the evening at the dinner to the Panglong conference, he did, in fact, meet with Aung San Suu Kyi somewhat briefly, but he also had longer meetings with several other minister-level officials, so the idea they didn't meet with him is simply not true.

  We'll see. While the UN has remained silent in the face of Inner City Press questions on June 30 and before other than the generic statement that countries should cooperate, on July 10 US Ambassador Nikki Haley said, "No one should face discrimination or violence because of their ethnic background or religious beliefs. It is important that the Burmese government allow this fact-finding mission to do its job. The international community cannot overlook what is happening in Burma – we must stand together and call on the government to fully cooperate with this fact-finding mission." On June 30, Inner City Press asked  UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I'm sure you've seen that Myanmar has announced officially that they are not… they are going to ban visas for the three UN investigators and any of their subordinates.  And so I'm wondering, combined with the… the… the arrests of three journalists that were, you know, speaking to groups that now are themselves negotiating with the Government, the Secretary-General, what does he think of this? Is this…

Spokesman:  I think… we think it's obviously important for every country to cooperate with the UN's human rights mechanism, whether they be Special Rapporteurs or investigations put forward by the Human Rights Council.

Inner City Press:  What communications has the Secretariat, either through its new or the existing Resident Coordinator otherwise, had with the Government, given this open statement of…

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of anything that I'm able to share with you at this point.   

On June 28 Inner City Press asked Dujarric if Guterres is ready to speak up for press freedom in Myanmar, even as Duajrric continues to restrict it in New York. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in Myanmar, in a pretty high-profile case, the Government has arrested three journalists for reporting on the conflict in Shan State and actually didn't… turned them over to the police.  So, they were held by the army.  A number of Governments around the world have spoken out on it.  And I'm wondering, is the UN aware of it? Has Ms. [Renata Lok] Dessallien left?  Is there anything whoever is in charge now of the country team?

Spokesman:  I will look.  I have personally not seen these reports, but I will check with our colleagues.

   On May 31, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the panel, and a video on the New York Times site showing Myanmar military abuse (in Shan State). From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about a video that's emerged in Myanmar of Government soldiers kicking a person on the ground.  It's something that they say took place in Shan State.  So I wanted to… and the Government of Aung San Suu Kyi said they have no time to explain it.  They're too busy, whatever else they're doing.  So I wanted to know, has the UN system taken note of it?  Now that three panelists have been named for the Human Rights Council's supposed visit to check in on the Rohingya, is it… is this something… did the Secretary-General get any commitment from Aung San Suu Kyi?  Did he raise this issue in particular given that it's now… there are now individuals, including Radhika Coomaraswamy, who are supposed to go and the Government has said they can't go?

Spokesman:  We think it's important that Myanmar cooperate with the human rights mechanism.  As for the video, we'll take a look at it.  I don't know if maybe our colleagues on ground have said something.  I haven't seen it. 

   Hours later, even after Inner City Press tweeted a link to the video to Dujarric, nothing. On May 10, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a London Q&A session was asked about the problem. As tweeted -- the event was not live streamed and five days later the UN has not put the video on its website despite twice telling Inner City Press it would happen "very soon" - Guterres said it is for him a "complex decision when to speak out, citing need to work with government of Myanmar & criticize rights violations of Rohingya." Now on May 15, this: "The Secretary-General met today in Beijing with H. E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, on the occasion of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Secretary-General and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the United Nations’ support to the democratic transition in Myanmar, the peace process and the way to a fair solution addressing the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State." But what will it mean for the (UNmentioned, at least by name) Rohinga? At the May 10 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric to explain this, but he declined, instead telling Inner City Press that the video was already online on UN Webcast or would be "very soon." Video here from 12:38. A full day and three hours later it was not. From the UN's May 10 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the Secretary-General, his London speech.  Maybe I misunderstood.  Just first, when… did you say it’s gonna be put on the webcast?

Spokesman:  Yeah, we’re getting the video, and it’s going to be placed… if it’s not already placed on the UN webcast, it should be there very soon.

Inner City Press:  There’ve been various summaries of… he was asked a question about Myanmar and one… at least one written… since there was not any livestream of it, I’m going off what people have tweeted about it.  They said it’s a complex decision when to speak out, says [António] Guterres, citing need to work with Government of Myanmar and criticize rights violations of Rohingya.  So I wanted to know, what… just can you unpack it a little bit?  What is this balance… does this balance apply to all countries that he’s dealing with?  Has he reached out to Aung San Suu Kyi to try to do quiet diplomacy about getting the UN team in and the Rohingya… [inaudible]

Spokesman:  Yes, there have been contacts with Aung San Suu Kyi, and I think, you know, the balance is in everything we do; we need to stand by our principles, and we also need to work with Governments.  I’ll admit to you I was preparing for the briefing while the speech was going on, so I haven’t had a chance to look at it.  And I think whether you asking about it or me answering about it, I think both of us need to listen to the whole thing.

  Where has Guterres criticized Myanmar's human rights violations? Or, for example, Cameroon's in cutting the Internet to millions of people for 94 days? We'll have more on this. On Myanmar, Inner City Press on May 9 asked Gro Harlem Brundtland and Lakhdar Brahimi of The Elders about the Rohingya and whether Aung San Suu Kyi was or is on the path to becoming an Elder. Gro Harlem Brundtland said Suu Kyi was a form of Elder while imprisoned, but cannot be while involved in politics. And after she retires? If the Rohingya are still treated this way? Brahimi cited co-Elder Kofi Annon's report forthcoming in October. Myanmar does not appear on the list of six issues The Elders were set to discuss in a closed door meeting with the UN Security Council, where the US under Samantha Power agreed in November 2016 to have a closed door meeting on Myanmar on which there was no output, no statement at all. Meanwhile UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, he of quiet diplomacy, has nothing to say. On May 3, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: On Myanmar, yesterday, Aung San Suu Kyi, in a press conference with the EU, said they will not allow in the fact-finding mission agreed to by the Human Rights Council in March.  She said: “We disassociate ourselves from the resolution because it has… it’s not in keeping with what’s happening on the ground.”  I’m wondering, given that there was a lot of work behind that, is the Secretary-General or somebody, the… the remnants of the good offices mission, thinking of contacting Aung San Suu Kyi about this rebuffing of the UN Mission?

Spokesman:  I think that’s a question right now more aimed at the… our colleague at the Human Rights Office.  We, obviously, as a matter of principle, encourage all Member States to cooperate with the various human rights mechanisms.

   Just after the Rakhine Commissioner under Kofi Annan released its report, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft, president of the UN Security Council for Match, about it. From the UK transcript:

Inner City Press: Have you seen the Rakhine Commission report by Kofi Annan about Myanmar-  do you think the recommendations are sufficient and should all be or some be implemented?
Amb Rycroft: So we have a session on Burma, on Myanmar coming up tomorrow and that will be on our agenda.

  An hour later Inner City Press asked UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who long spoke for Vijay Nambiar and Ban Ki-moon whose brother Ki-ho mined in Myanmar, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Myanmar.  There's a new report out by the Rakhine commission by… under Kofi Annan.  I don't know if the Secretariat has… has… has a view on it.  And also, the UK [United Kingdom] Ambassador asked him about it, and he said that there's actually a Security Council session on Myanmar tomorrow.  I wanted to know if the Secretariat is briefing?  Who’s doing it?

Spokesman:  Yes.  Jeff Feltman will brief tomorrow on Myanmar.  We're obviously aware of the… of the report.  I know the Secretary-General spoke to his… not to his immediate, but one of his predecessors, to Kofi Annan recently about the report.  We hope that the recommendations are an opportunity for the Government and the people of Rakhine State to work together on concrete measures to improve the lives of the communities in the state.  And we will continue to encourage Governments to allow full humanitarian access in northern Rakhine State and follow on its promises to establish an independent investigation into allegations of human rights violations.

   Not only have the UN's “Good Offices” on Myanmar been ended - now the former office holder Vijay Nambiar is engaged in genocide denial after leaving the UN, still in New York, in his personal capacity. He did much the same previously on Sri Lanka. See below.

 On the morning of February 22, Inner City Press submitted questions to UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, including "On Myanmar, please state what if anything the UN is doing to protect (Rohingya) Jamalida Begum who 'fears for her life after telling journalists how she and other women had been raped by military personnel.'"

  More than two hours later, having no response at all, Inner City Press posed a (UN cover up of) humanitarian crisis questions to new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, adding audibly that his spokesman Dujarric is not answering basic Press questions. Video here. Two more hours later, still no answer. Seems Dujarric should go the way of Nambiar. Watch this site.

 On February 8, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Myanmar. UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: I want to ask you about Myanmar again.  Two UN officials, not giving their names, have said that up to 1,000 people have been killed, Rohingya.  These are described as working for two separate UN agencies in Bangladesh.  So I wanted to know, does the UN actually have a figure?  And if that is the figure, why doesn't the UN come forward in a more formal way with it?  And, again, what does the Secretary-General, given that the Council has yet to take it up, does he think… what number would trigger Article 99 and some kind of action? 

Spokesman:  You know, I don't want to get into how many people need to be killed.  I think the UN has been extremely forthright in reporting what we know.  You saw the reports with the horrific information contained in the report put out by the High Commissioner for Human Rights interviewing people who had… who were in, I think, Cox's Bazar, who had fled Myanmar.  I think anyone who reads it and the detail that are contained in it can only be horrified by the situation.  You know, I can't comment on blind quotes.  People speak.  I think whenever we have information, we've shared it, whether it was on what the UN saw when the humanitarian coordinator went to Rakhine State, and we're as transparent as we possibly can be.

Inner City Press:  Is this an attempt by the UN to sort of off-the-record chide the Government with this 1,000 figure? Is this an unauthorized...

Spokesman:  I don't… again, I don't know who spoke, why they spoke, and so on.  I think the UN has been very clear and transparent in putting forward information that we have on the state of affairs in that area.

  On February 7, Inner City Press also asked Dujarric about Myanmar. UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Myanmar.  There was that statement yesterday by Adama Dieng saying that the existing commission there is not sufficient to do the investigation, and that commission has since rejected both reports.  So I guess I wanted to know, one, if there's a response.  But, two, this morning, one Security Council member said this Rohingya issue should be taken up by the Council.  Another said he wasn't sure.  And I'm wondering whether the Secretary-General himself… this would seem to be a kind of an Article 99.  Does he believe that, given the split in the Council — there's at least one member that doesn't want any outcome on anything to do with Myanmar — that he should raise it to the Council?

Spokesman:  We would very much hope that the Council agrees on its agenda.  They have heard briefings on Myanmar in the past from the Special Envoy, and we obviously stand ready to brief them should they request so.

Inner City Press:  I guess what I'm say… the last time that a briefing was held, there was an agreement in advance that there would be no outcome.  I think… and so I'm just… I'm wondering…

Spokesman:  If they request such a briefing, we would be happy to supply one.

 On February 3, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about reports of further abuse of the Rohingya, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about this very detailed report about abuses of the Rohingya in Myanmar, I know that the mandate of the Good Offices expired, but I'm wondering, what is the Secretary-General's thought?  I asked the UK ambassador.  He said there different ways being considered for the UN to deal with this problem.  Is there any proposal by the Secretary-General either to revive that office or a different office or have some increased focus…?

Spokesman:  I don't think there will be a revision of that office, but that is not to say that there will be… there continues to be keen interest in the situation in Myanmar, obviously, on the human rights issue but also what the UN can assist and can do on the development issue through the coordinated work of the UN development agencies in Myanmar and, obviously, on the political front, in which DPA will be in the lead.  But, it will be a coordinated outlook on behalf of the UN system.

Inner City Press:  Right, but when you say the political, do you mean in terms of… does the Secretary-General believe, for example, that the Rohingya are and should be acknowledged as citizens of Myanmar?

Spokesman:  I think we have… this is an ongoing discussion.  I think the Secretary-General, the UN has been very clear on the need to address the needs of the Rohingyas in a way that respects their rights and that is good for country as a whole.

  On January 31, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Dujarric,
From the UN transcript, Periscope here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask, again, it has to do with the Rohingya, in this case, in Bangladesh.  Maybe you've seen reports that the Government of Bangladesh is considering moving the people that were able to cross the border in camps near the border to an island that's described as being often underwater.  Does the UN or, in particular, António Guterres have any…?

Spokesman:  I haven't seen those reports…

Inner City Press:  It's in the New York Times.

Spokesman:  I'll see what I can find.

  And now Guterres head of Communications comes from, and reflexively tweets, the Times. But the above, is the history - and for now, the future. Watch this site.


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