Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As Egyptians Push for Change, UN Ban Warns of “Political Instability”

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- As in Egypt protests calling for Hosni Mubarak to leave continue, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Addis Ababa was quoted that Egyptians “have the right to express their visions, in demonstrations, but all these should not lead to social instability and political instability.”

  Even in front of the empty UN in New York, hundred chanted “Mubarak must go.” The call is to end 30 years of rule under an emergency law allowing censorship, even if that was deemed politically stable. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, asked Friday by the press if Ban thought the emergency law should be eliminated, declined to answer the question directly.

  Midday on January 30, Inner City Press queried Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq about the status of the UN system's programs in Egypt, including a program which NGOs have criticized “as ineffective, complaining that it has BANned credible human [rights] lawyers from giving lectures to the police because of their political opposition to the NDP, and instead invites MOI officials complicit in torture to give human rights presentations.”

  But five hours later, there were no answers nor acknowledgment of the questions about the UN in Egypt.

   Even Ban's quote against political instability hadn't been distributed, perhaps understandably, to the UN press list by his Public Information and Spokesperson's office, which in the interim had sent the Press anodyne “read outs” of Ban's meetings with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- with no mention of Egypt.

UN's Ban & Mubarak: united against "political instability" ?

  With Kagame, Ban discussed only sexually based violence, and not counter reports of genocide and war crimes in Eastern Congo.

  With Sarkozy, Ban did not bring up Tunisia nor Egypt, but rather Lebanon, Haiti and Cote d'Ivoire. The interest of the UN under Ban in democracy seems to some to be limited to one country, and not extend to Tunisia, much less Egypt (or Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria -- or Myanmar). Watch this site.

* * *

As in NYC Police Guard UN Mission of Egypt, UNDP Banned Rights Advocates

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 29 -- As protests continue in Egypt, even in New York Egypt's Mission to the UN is guarded by police, some brought down from The Bronx. Inside an otherwise empty UN, Inner City Press fields messages from the Egyptian diaspora responding to its reporting earlier on Saturday, some pointing to UN system complicity in Mubarak's repression.

  Take for example the UN Development Program's work with Egypt's police, called BENAA, founded by Murabak's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to a UNDP website yet to be taken down as some have been, “media and Civil Society Organizations have been targeted, including the crucial group of university students.”

But a Wikileaked US embassy cable in a non-highlighted portion admits that

“NGO contacts have privately criticized the UNDP project as ineffective, complaining that it has banned credible human [rights] lawyers from giving lectures to the police because of their political opposition to the NDP, and instead invites MOI officials complicit in torture to give human rights presentations.”

So the UN system in Egypt “BANned credible human lawyers from giving lectures to the police because of their political opposition to the NDP, and instead invites MOI officials complicit in torture.”

No wonder then that BAN Ki-moon is so silent on whether Mubarak's 30 year emergency law allowing censorship should be eliminated.

Egypt UN Mission Jan 29, 9 pm, cops from 50th Precinct, (c) MRLee

  UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, notably, was in Yemen earlier this month praising the government, as if the protests there and in Tunisia and elsewhere were not taking place.

  There is more to be said about the UN's system's work including with BENAA, which lists as supporters the Ford Foundation, EU and members and others. Watch this site.

* * *

Amid Egyptian Protests, UN Dormant, Ban Silent on Emergency Law

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 29 -- Chants of “Mubarak must go” echoed Saturday against the white metal walls of the UN's temporary North Lawn building on 1st Avenue in Manhattan. But the UN was empty.

  Both Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Deputy, Asha Rose Migiro were out of town. And the UN system has had little to say or do about the calls for an end of censorship and repression in Egypt.

  Friday in the UN's noon press briefing, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked if Ban thought that Egypt's 30 year old emergency law should go. Nesirky said that "one of the ground principles of democracy is to protect and ensure the freedom of speech of the people," but refused to directly comment on the emergency censorship law.

  Earlier this month, Ban had little to say about Tunisia. He did not send an envoy to the country -- a decision taken, Inner City Press is informed by well placed UN sources, on the advice of Ban's chief of staff and Myanmar envoy Vijay Nambiar.

  The UN Security Council did not meet on January 27 or 28, and has not scheduled any meeting for January 31, the last day of Bosnia's quiet presidency.

 US President Barack Obama called Mubarak and talked to or at the press for four minutes on Friday, but did not mention the UN, just as he did not mention it and Darfur in his State of the Union speech earlier in the week. -- all men -- but not Susan Rice, his Ambassador to the UN.
  On Saturday Obama held a meeting on Egypt with "his national security team" which included eleven people

  In an interview for CNN's show GPS with Fareed Zakaria, the prime minister of the Permanent Security Council member United Kingdom David Cameron called Mubarak a “friend of Britain... We’ve worked together over many issues, not least the need to combat Islamic extremism.”

  A week ago and on Saturday morning, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky when Ban will act on the request by the UK, Mexico and others that he replace Nambiar with a full time envoy to Myanmar.

  Nesirky by press time did not answer that, nor a request for UN comment on Myanmar affirming the disbanding of the political party of Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

Sat Jan 29 by empty UN, Ban comment on emergency law not shown

  And so as people take risks to oppose repression from Tunisia to Egypt and elsewhere such as Yemen, the UN is increasingly silent, un-transparent, marginalized. Saturday's chants echoed off empty UN buildings. How long can this go on? Watch this site.

From the UN's January 28 transcript:

Correspondent: Egypt. Does the Secretary-General concur with Ms. Pillay that the 30-year-old emergency law should be lifted and then that investigations should be conducted into the use of excessive force and the reported deaths of five civilians participating in the protests?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, clearly, it is obvious that where there are reports of excessive use of force, that those reports should be investigated. I think that is fairly clear. Yes?

Question: My other question was concerning Ms. Pillay’s call for the end of the state of emergency that legalizes censorship and enhances police powers and so forth.

Spokesperson: Well, the Secretary-General said very clearly this morning that he believes that one of the ground principles of democracy is to protect and ensure the freedom of speech of the people. And he also spoke about the need for freedom of expression and association to be fully respected. Yes?

Question: Thank you. Is the Secretary-General worried of any kind of domino effect, because of what has happened in Tunisia and what is going on now in Egypt? Is he worried because the Arab world order is in danger now?

Spokesperson: He has made very clear… he has spoken today about Egypt, but not just about Egypt. He spoke about Tunisia and Egypt and indeed elsewhere. And the key point is that leaders in the region should understand that it is an opportunity to address legitimate concerns that the people in those countries have. And it is through dialogue with the people that the leaders can better understand what the people of those countries aspire to, what they wish for. And then they will be better able to address the challenges that they all face. But the key thing is that this should be done without violence and through dialogue.

Question: Has the Secretary-General taken note of the incarceration and house arrest of Mr ElBaradei? Does he have anything to say about that?

Spokesperson: I was asked a similar question just earlier, and the Secretary-General is aware of the reports — and there are differing reports out there. He is aware of the reports that there are, and if I have anything further on this topic then I’d let you know a bit later.

Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -