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Somaliland Redux As On Somalia Remittances, Will UN Press Barclays?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 18 -- Returning from three days in Somalia, UN humanitarian operations chief John Ging took correspondents' questions on February 18, nearly all of them about Al Shabaab. He replied that the UN must help Somalis to help themselves.

Inner City Press asked Ging about just that: what is the UN going to ensure that remittances from the Somali diaspora are not cut off, as Barclays tried to do last year until stopped by a court case?

Ging replied, "on remittances we are encouraging that all facilities needed" continue, "we don't have the authority or the capacity to decide on these issues [but] we are, on behalf of the Somali people, advocating and seeking to use our influence."

Here's an idea: Barclays has at least in the past trumpeted its respect for human rights with the UN, click here for one example. Is the UN using its (blue washing) influence there? This question goes beyond Ging's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. But coordinating would take it in.

Inner City Press also asked about the on-again, off-again dispute about the air space over Somaliland, in part triggered by the UN system awarding the air space to Mogadishu, which led to suspension of the UN Humanitarian Air Service flights.

Ging replied that on his "last trip there was an agreement brokered in Turkey that found a solution to allow a functioning of the airspace throughout Somalia... the coordinator himself took an UNHAS flight to Hargeisa."

After Ging's briefing had ended, Somaliland-based Free UN Coalition for Access member Mohamoud Ali Walaaleye, who has protested the arrest of journalists there, forwarded these questions:

What is UN's positions regarding the genocide that happened to Somaliland population during Siad Barre's regime, and as Somalia government acknowledged, does UN also do?

Would UN support initiative relative of Somaliland victims slaughtered Jezira beach at Moqadisho intended to uncover their remaining for resting their soil in Somaliland?

We'll have more on this.

Footnote: The first question to Ging was given to the United Nations Correspondents Association, the transcript of whose Q&A session with Ban Ki-moon last week has still not been released. UNCA's president used this perch to ask about a sanctions report not yet public, disputed by the government, on which we will have more. Reuters which bragged about that leaked report has used a bogus Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint to get a leak of its own anti Press complaint to the UN banned from Google's search. That's why it's the UN Censorship Alliance, and why FUNCA pushes forward.


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