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UN Undercuts Peacekeepers, Has Staff Under Water in Basement, Favorites

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 -- The UN has not paid its peacekeepers in Western Sahara since February 2011, nor for their equipment since October 2010.

  In Abyei, payments for equipment stopped in March 2012, and to Ethiopia for its peacekeepers, one of whom was recently killed by the Misseriya, UN payments stopped in December 2012.

  This information was included in two footnotes to a presentation made by the UN's Under Secretary General for Management Yukio Takasu on Friday.

   Inner City Press asked him about a proposal, made by Togo and others in the context of the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations, that the UN at least pay interest on its debts to Troops Contributing Countries.

  Takasu responded that unless the UN could charge interest to countries behind on their dues, it would not be possible. UN Controller Maria Eugenia Casar added that there are proposal for Peacekeeping missions to begin lending to each other.

  There are financial problems of UN Peacekeeping; there are other problems, video here. There is also the question of what is being accomplished. On May 14, South Sudan Ambassador (and former UN official) Francis Deng said the mission in Abyei does not protect civilians from the Misseriya tribesmen.

  In a UN Budget Committee session just after Takasu spoke to them, the Mission in Haiti was discussed with no mention of UN Peacekeeping having brought cholera to the country, and Ban Ki-moon's terse dismissal of the claims, giving rise now to a threat to sue in 60 days.

  Inner City Press also asked Takasu about other management issues: the New York Staff Union vote of "no confidence in Ban," Publishing Section staff being required to re-apply for their jobs, and the conditions in the basements, for example the Video Library in 2B being left working with sheet plastic barely covering leaks in the ceiling.

  Takasu expressed concern and spoke of "lessons learned." Inner City Press has photos but has not run them -- in part pending the UN coming clean on who was let into its office during the Department of Public Information's non-consensual raid on March 18, and how photographs including of Inner City Press' desk and bookshelf were leaked to BuzzFeed on March 21 after their publication called Ban's spokesperson to ask about the raid.

  Now, this weekend, the press corps is moving back to the renovated Secretariat building: some to large offices, disproportionately those on the Executive Committee of the UN's "partner" UNCA (which made a point of thanking Takasu, so the new Free UN Coalition for Access did as well); others to smaller and smaller places.

  There are many complaints, including by UNCA members, about how decisions were made, by the UN and its partner. We'll have more on this.

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