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On Ukraine, UNSC Silent on Embassy Attack 7 Hours After US

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 14, more here -- On this Saturday at 1 pm in Washington, US State Department Jen Psaki told the press, "The United States condemns the attack on the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, and calls on Ukrainian authorities to meet their Vienna convention obligations to provide adequate security."

  But seven hours later, not only was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon silent on the issue, the UN Security Council had not issued its boilerplate Press Statement about the “inviolability of diplomatic missions under the Vienna Convention" of 1963.

  When embassies are attacked, these statements are routine. If one is blocked here, what is the message?

   While Ban Ki-moon stayed silent on the embassy, he issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms the downing of an Ukrainian military airplane today in Lugansk, killing 49 people."

  If these events, or decisions to block statements on attacks on embassies, are being linked, what is the precedent?

When asked of the killings in Odessa on May 2, or the more recent jet bombing of Luhansk, the UN tells the Press to wait for the June 17 report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  Navi Pillay, leaving that post on August 31, in her June 10 last opening statement to the Human Rights Council said, "In Ukraine, the UN response to the crisis stepped up as the situation deteriorated in February 2014. My Office swiftly deployed a human rights monitoring mission that has so far issued two reports, with concrete recommendations including guarantees for the implementation of minority rights. I hope that the new Government will address the human rights challenges in Ukraine, and I encourage it to devise a comprehensive human rights reform plan that includes accountability for violations."

   In other parts of her speech, Pillay mentioned specifics, including for example on the deadly mine accident in Turkey. But on Ukraine, nothing on jet bombings or the asserted use of chloroform in Odessa.

   Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has nominated to replace Pillay Prince Zeid, who has represented and spoken for Jordan on the Security Council since January. On Ukraine, what has he said of the jet bombing, of Odessa, of the detention and shelling death of journalists attributed to the government?  He is set to be voted on - or approved by acclamation - on June 16. Watch this site.

Background: Of the UN's last report on Ukraine, dated May 16, much  much has been said. Here is what is said about the events of May 2 in Odessa:

63. On 2 May, a national unity rally gathered around 1,500 people, including many fans from the football clubs of Chornomorets Odesa and Metalist Kharkiv, as well as city residents. Among the crowd there were reportedly also some radical members of the Right Sector and Maidan self-defence unit armed with bats and metal sticks. Shortly after the rally began, the latter were provoked by approximately 300 well-organized and armed pro-federalism activists; the rally turning into a mass disorder, which lasted for several hours. As a result, four protesters in support of Ukraine were killed by gunshots (a fifth died later in the hospital from his injuries). Many were injured during the afternoon (mostly protesters supporting federalism). During the evening, violent clashes between the two sides continued on the main square (Kulikove polje), which ended in a fire a at the Trade Union building where protesters supporting federalism had taken refuge. As a result of the events, 46 people died of whom 30 (including 6 women) were trapped and unable to leave the burning building and 8 (including one woman) died from jumping out of the windows. In total, 38 died at the scene of the fire. At least 230 were injured.”

  While not attributing the setting of the fire which targeted “pro-federalism” activists, the UN report says that these “armed” pro-federalism activists “provoked” the Right Sector.

  Ivan Simonovic is in Ukraine, but will only go to Odessa AFTER today's report has been released. Inner City Press has previously reported on what OHCHR sources have said are Simonovic's moved to try to become Pillay's successor (there are other candidates; more on that soon).

  Now sources say with Eastern Europe in line to pick the successor to Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, Simonovic may be vying for the UN's top post alongside Irina Bokova and others, including non Eastern Europeans Helen Clark of UNDP and Kevin Rudd of, well, Kevin Rudd, who'd like to compete with Kamel Morjane, long time associate of Ben Ali in Tunisia, to replace Lakhdar Brahimi on Syria.

  Ah, politics.

  Tellingly, when US Voice of America wrote up the UN report, here, it didn't even mention Odessa (or Odesa), citing only anti-government groups. There is legislation pending in the US Congress to confirm that Voice of America must follow the US line -- but isn't that already the case?

  In full disclosure, Voice of America along with UN Correspondents Association executive committee members from Reuters and Agence France Presse sought to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN,  as documented by Freedom of Information Act inquiries. Click here (VOA letter to current UN spokesman), here (AFP) and here for VOA about Reuters' support, here's Reuters bureau chief asking Google to ban from Search his “for the record” complaint to the UN against Inner City Press: censorship.

  As a human rights irony, these same and UNCA's executive committee set up a kangaroo court to prosecute Inner City Press for its reporting on Sri Lanka war criminals and conflicts of interest, here.

  Ah, human rights. Watch this site.


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