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UN: Sri Lanka


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As Nepal Workers Die In Qatar, UN Envoy Has No Comment, Another to Visit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 -- Amid deaths in Qatar of construction workers from Nepal and elsewhere, Inner City Press on October 2 asked Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on International Migration and Development what the UN is doing about Qatar.

Qatar has a Lounge in the renovated UN; it is celebrated including by Ban for its role in Syria (despite pouring in arms to dubious rebel groups).

Sutherland told Inner City Press, "I can't comment, I don't know the facts." Video here, from Minute 23:16. He went on to praise "progress" in the United Arab Emirate, while noting 38 to 40 domestic workers sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. (As Inner City Press reported, one from Sri Lanka was beheaded.)

How could Sutherland not know about these well publicized stories from Qatar as they prepare for their controversial World Cup? Inner City Press gave Sutherland a business card, if and when he had a comment.

A day later, hearing nothing, Inner City Press put the same question to Francois Crepeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of migrants, noting that is listed as traveling to Qatar November 3 - 10 (and seeking to go to Sri Lanka). Video here, from Minute 20:47.

  Crepeau replied that precisely because he is going to Qatar, he could not comment. He had at least read the articles; after the briefing he told Inner City Press he will hand Qatar a report on his last day there as well as holding a press conference. He did not know if it would be streamed on the Internet -- it should be.

He said he has asked requested to visit Sri Lanka, but it has not been answered. Video here, in Minute 23.

Inner City Press continues to ask: why won't Ban Ki-moon release his report on UN inaction in Sri Lanka in 2009? And now, why doesn't Ban Ki-moon say something about the mistreatment and death of construction workers in Qatar. Is this "Sports and Development"? Watch this site.

Footnote: The UN's webcast archive of the press conference including Francois Crepeau mistakenly says that Abdelhamid El Jamri was there - he was not. The Free UN Coalition for Access has raised this to UN Webcast and its supervisor, Stephane Dujarric, so far without response.

  This stands in contrast to Dujarric's solicitous responses to another's online suggestion about INSTRAW, and to a favored or courted journalist having difficulty accessing the UN. This UN's responses are partial.

It considers some good (like Saudi sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba, who met with Ban Ki-moon and was allowed to have a still unexplained faux "UN briefing" with Dujarric's partners), and some are ignored or threatened. But does this UN have this right? Watch this site.


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