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UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 -- As thousands of Zimbabweans seeking asylum are forcibly returned, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he will give "time and space" to Robert Mugabe's handpicked mediator. Speaking to the press about Zimbabwe on July 2 following the meetings of the African Union, the UN Secretary General announced that "the former Tanzanian President, Ben Mkapa, had been appointed as a mediator. I told President Mugabe that I was committed to helping Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe... and we both agreed that the new mediator, former Tanzanian President Mkapa, should be given the time and space to work."

            At the noon briefing at UN Headquarters on Monday, Inner City Press began questioning by asked if this means that the Secretary-General will not visit Zimbabwe to see the mass evictions, and that the treatment of those being forcibly returned to Zimbabwe by South Africa, profiled in the current Frontline World, will continue unchecked by the UN.  (Video here; questions start at Minute 12.) The spokeswoman responded that the Secretary General would not throw his weigh behind a process he didn't believe it, but that she would check into Mr. Mkapa's mandate and get back to reporters.

            The questions only grow. Rudimentary research shows that after the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe, Mkapa wrote to Mugabe that "your firmness was good for all Africa." (AP of March 13, 2002.) Then-Foreign Secretary of Security Council member Britain, Jack Straw, said this "firmness" included having "prevented voters from registering, instructed the police to break up rallies, had the leader of the opposition arrested and reduced the number of polling stations in opposition strongholds."  Observers have noted that Mr. Mtapa was appointed by Mugabe himself, less as a mediator than as an ambassador. Where goes this leave the people in Zimbabwe, particularly those who fleeing or seeking to flee the country, now said to number close to three million?

Seeking asylum

            Before the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN's refugee agency UNHCR to explain its position "on which of those leaving Zimbabwe are refugees and the propriety of forced return to Zimbabwe?"  Within hours, this response was received:

From: REDDEN [at]

To: Matthew.Lee [at] [and 2 at UNHCR]

Sent: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 11:50:23 +0200

Subject: Re: Two UNHCR press questions: forcible return to China of Huseyincan Celil, and UNHCR actions / position

  Dear Matthew

There are indeed many Zimbabweans deported from South Africa. However, we have not found them to be refugees or asylum seekers in the process of requesting refugee status. South Africa has strong legal structures in place for refugees to prevent refoulement -- the forcible return of refugees to the country they have fled -- and we believe that is the practice. We monitor the process to the extent that our resources permit, including visiting the detention centre where most of those deported are held. An area of concern for UNHCR has been the slow processing of asylum requests -- which affects those from many countries incluidng Zimbabwe -- but the government has now launched a "backlog project" that aims to clear some 100,000 pending applications over the next year.

Instead of being refugees and asylum seekers, the deportations of Zimbabweans have involved migrants. While the story you noted mentions some two million Zimbabweans in South Africa, we do not have an authoritative figure. That figure could well be correct since the lowest estimates are still hundreds of thousands, which may be rising with the economic deterioration in Zimbabwe. I was there a few weeks ago and life is clearly difficult. However, relatively few Zimbabweans have requested refugee status in South Africa. The queue of asylum applications (submitted by July 2005) facing the backlog project in early April of this year numbered more than 103,000. Of those, about 10 percent were Zimbabweans. The largest number of applicants were from Democratic Republic of Congo. Most Zimbabweans here have not requested asylum and those are the people who are being deported. This is a situation that UNHCR will continue to watch closely to ensure those with the right to refugee status receive it, but the problem you are enquiring about is mainly the bigger, more complex question of migration. Migration is moving up the list of international concerns and will be discussed this coming autumn at the United Nations.

Best regards, Jack Redden, Senior Regional Global Public Information Officer, Pretoria

            This is certainly a faster and more comprehensive response than from, from example, the UN Development Programme (see last week's Inner City Press UN Reports, and see below). But not only does it not address the headlined case of refoulement from Uzbekistan to China -- UNHCR does not explain why people who flee saying that in Zimbabwe they face torture, rape in prison or even, in the continuum, the destruction of their homes in Operation Murambatsvina -- "Drive out Filth" -- are not refugees.  In fact, Mr. Redden was quoted last month that " The number of Zimbabweans applying for asylum in South Africa rose sharply in the first three months of this year to 7,211. Zimbabweans account for 38 percent of the total 18,800 requests." And yet by November 2005, only 86 Zimbabweans had been approved for refuge status.

            Some question whether the approach of UN and UNHCR to South Africa's and others' treatment of those fleeing Zimbabwe is less a matter of following international law and more a matter of history and politics. The same may be asked of the fast announcement and seeming deference to a purported mediator who had already made his position known, and who was unilaterally appointed by Mugabe himself. We'll see.

            Inner City Press also asked if the Secretary General's discussions in Banjul included the situations in Uganda, including the negotiations with the Lord's Resistance Army, whose leaders are under indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.  The spokeswoman said she was not aware of any discussions on the topic, but would check. The UN Development Program over the weekend, simultaneously with UNHCR, was asked in writing:

"that if and when UNDP restarts disarmament programs or assistance to disarmament programs in eastern Uganda / Karamoja, an announcement be made. The decision to halt is still not on UNDP Uganda's web site (or UNDP's web site); this request is that confirmation and any restart be announced, as was the halt, and last week's Fenway Park award ceremony, at the noon briefing of Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, hence the cc's [to Kofi Annan's Spokesman's Office].

 Also, we'd like to request an interview with either UNDP's Africa regional director Gilbert Houngbo and / or the Administrator.  You could tell Mr. Houngbo, to whom this is cc-ed, that the interview will concern not only the Uganda issues, but also, inter alia, UNDP's activities in Somalia  and the DR Congo (the disarmament component of which we would like information on, beyond that at and, respectively). Also, Kenya.

  For your information, I am pasting below two articles from Uganda, in which the UPDF reiterates it will continue with cordon and search disarmament, and a particular incident in Karamoja; also, one re disarmament in Kenya. Please ensure confirm that notification will be provided of any restart by UNDP disarmament programs or assistance to disarmament programs in eastern Uganda / Karamoja. Thank you.

            As of mid-afternoon Monday, no response had been received. A next question will concern UNDP's engagements with Zimbabwe. And the beat goes on.

Postscript 8 p.m. July 3: Monday afternoon lethargy was palpable at UN Headquarters. In the basement in Conference Room 4, the Small Arms Conference plodded on. Three speeches in a row criticized the lack of translation of documents. In any language, human rights were lacking. In an otherwise nearly-full room, there were empty seats behind the name plate of Uganda, as that nation continues forcible disarmament and abuse of civilians in Karamoja. The UNDP seat was empty, then temporarily filled.  There was a stack of UNDP Statements by Ms. Kathleen Cravero, with no mention of UNDP halting, or restarting, programs parallel to abuse by the Ugandan government.

            At 6:15 in the Dag Hammarskjold auditorium a dozen people gathered for a screening of a near-snuff movie of child soldiers in Liberia, Les Petits Soldats. Young teens were repeatedly asked, "How many people did you kill?" They answered in pidgin English. One's nom de guerre was Notorious B.I.G.. Another told of his commander ZigZag Master cutting out hearts to eat them. Afterwards there was no discussion. The audience trooped out through the empty UN HQ. There was still no response from UNDP. Another request, with an addition on Zimbabwe, has been sent. The host country and city prepared for fireworks. Mesmerized by gunpowder...

Feedback: editorial [at]

 USA (UNHQ-NYC) Tel: 718-716-3540

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At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting, But Bolton Goes Missing

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- "If it's all night, it's all right." So said John Bolton at a 5 p.m. Security Council stakeout. But in the General Assembly from nine to eleven p.m. he was nowhere to be seen. The major vote was left until last. Four member states disassociated themselves from the raising of the UN budget cap: the U.S., Japan and Australia, and a last-minute addition, Canada. Speaking to reporters just after the vote, outgoing Canadian Ambassador Rock predicted slow progress on management reform and mandate review. "Next week is only three days," he said. For John Bolton, the weekend started early.

  Bolton's foil Mark Malloch Brown conferred with two advisors in the lobby outside the G.A.. Inner City Press approached and asked if Canada's vote had come as a surprise. MMB, as they call him, stayed Sphinx-like. His colleague said Canada's eloquent speech spoke for itself.

  Among the U.N. press corp, only Japanese media, AP and Inner City Press remained on the scene. In garbage time the G.A. President was asked about the strange-shaped gavel he uses. "It's a gift from Iceland," he answered. Thursday afternoon he'd said he'd cancelled Friday plans. But in New York at 11, the night was still young.

  In under-the-radar diplomatic skirmish news, a vote on Lebanon turned on paragraphs about Israel, debts from '96. The U.S. and Israel were joined by Palau in opposition. The Marshall Islands were nowhere to be seen. The development resolution passed, but with Qatar excluded from paragraph 62.

 Earlier in the afternoon, two lower profile Ambassador briefed on background about this resolution on development, with its over sixty operational paragraphs, include three which gentle chide the World Bank and IMF. They said optimistically that it would be voted on at 4 p.m., it fact it got tied to the rest, and began at nine p.m.. A speech by UAE began without translation.  The gavel from Iceland banged down again and again.

  Before he left the building, at the 5 p.m. stakeout John Bolton declined to call the kidnapping a month ago of UN troops in Ituri an act of terror. He didn't criticize the UN's slow approach, saying only that events are being closely followed.

  On other African topics, during the U.S. holiday there'll be news from the African Union in Banjul. Before he left, Inner City Press shout-asked the Secretary General if he'll be meeting with Robert Mugabe. After a pause, Mr. Annan answered "yes." (Click here for the video; Mugabe's at Minute 6:15.) Annan's spokesman's office followed this up with two earlier statements, and a no-comment as to any visit to Zimbabwe.

Update: On July 1, it's reported that the UN Secretary General met for 40 minutes with Robert Mugabe. Also in the meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel were foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, foreign affairs secretary Joey Bimha and the UN Under-Secretary General for African Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari (a/k/a specialist in the Kofi Annan legacy). Sudan and Somalia will also be discussed in Banjul - watch this site.

            Following up on violence against civilians in disarmament in Eastern Uganda, Inner City Press Friday at noon asked the director of the UN's Institute for Disarmament Research about UNDP's current halt of programs, "pending clarification from the Government of Uganda on the current disarmament approach in Karamoja." The director drew analogies to Mali and Iraq, and suggested a talk with UNDP's Robert Scharf, who's in New York for the small arms conference. Another person present at the noon briefing said she'd make Mr. Scharf available in the afternoon. As of 8 p.m., Inner City Press had not heard from Mr. Scharf. In the UN basement a table sat unmanned, with a sign saying "UNDP Promoting Security for Development."

Burning in Uganda, Questions for UNDP

            There is a request that if and when UNDP resumes funding disarmament in eastern Uganda, an announcement be made, in New York as well as Kampala. Kofi Annan's spokesman's office says it is not an enforcement agent. But who then holds a UN agency to the statements it provides, in this case about Ugandan government troops' abuses of civilians? And as reported on UN OCHA's IRIN, UNDP played a role in celebrating the destruction of weapons collected, presumably by voluntary and involuntary means. (Click here -- the article quotes UNDP's Bob Scharf.) In Kampala, the Minister of State for Defense Ruth Nankabirwa "denied reports that the UPDF has suspended the 'cordon and search' for guns." How much more clear does UNDP want it? And where else is it funding such programs?

            While the General Assembly provided only anonymous background on its development resolution, an on-the-record briefing was held on DESA's "Diverging Growth and Development" report. This report, like the resolution, approaches the Bretton Woods two with velvet bureaucratic gloves. A call is made for "gradual, country-specific and home-made institutional reforms," and for using for developing countries what shrinking space the WTO allows for protections. In 1950, Africa's income was 40% of the developed world's. The figure is now seven percent. The rich are getting richer and vice versa for the poor, this UN report concludes. Dog bites man, some say. From the World Bank / IMF to the Security Council's P-5, power talks and the rest of the world just walks and walks and walks. Or wait and votes 'til late on Friday night.

        In his last UN talk, outgoing German Ambassador Gunther Pleuger said the budget cap games put pressure on the wrong target: the Secretariat. He said he had no regrets about his G-4 gambit. Days earlier in the half-hit Council stakeout, he'd opined that Japan walked behind the U.S., until the chips are down. He said not to quote him until he leaves his post, which has just happened. Buena suerte!

In lieu of fireworks, and speaking of the need for reform and impunity's end, we offer this blind item: Which outgoing SRSG was pushed rather than jumped due to an illicit taste for the topic of his charge? Just throwing in the word conflict does not make it go away...

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- The rights of Ugandan civilians have been abused by government soldiers, leading the UN Development Programme to halt its programs in eastern Uganda, Kofi Annan's spokeswoman Marie Okabe stated on Thursday. (Video is here, answer is Minute 11 to 13:35.) While clearer than before in acknowledging abuses by the Ugandan People's Defense Force, which Inner City Press has reported on for the past eleven days, this statement does not address what the Ugandan government's funders knew and when they knew it. UNDP has repeatedly declined to answer this question, which has been put to it in writing and orally, or has left its answers vague and not, it's said, to be quoted. Here however is AllAfrica.

            A UNDP statement issued in Kampala on Thursday, three paragraphs in length, waited until its last terse sentence to disclose that "pending clarification from the Government of Uganda on the current disarmament approach in Karamoja, UNDP Uganda has suspended its support to activities related to the KIDDP."

             This last stands for the Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and Development Plan, a copy of which Inner City Press has obtained.  The KIDDP lists a number of funding partners, including the Danish International Development Agency, the European Union, the World Bank, the government of Italy, Germany's GTZ, USAID, Netherlands' SNV, Ireland's DCI, and the UN agencies World Food Programme and UNDP. Since UNDP initially named Denmark as the funder of disarmament programs in eastern Uganda, Inner City Press last week asked the Danish mission to the UN for its comment on specific allegations of abuses in Karamoja. "It will take time to look into," the mission's spokesman said. On Thursday Inner City Press asked the Danish Ambassador to the UN, the outgoing Security Council president. The World Food Programme was asked for comment a week ago but no response has been received. The inquiries will continue.

  With regard to UNDP, the statement is undated, and cannot itself be the warning which UNDP states it has given. Some surmise that the abuses were to meet the aggressive gun-collection targets, even to provide a photo-op. As with photography, transparency would have been better from the beginning, and is still being called for.

Inner Asia

            Also at the UN on Thursday, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan spoke to the press about the June 17 meeting in Almaty of the 18 member Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, called CICA and pronounced seek-a. Thailand is a member; the Ambassador said diplomatically that the Thai deputy foreign minister is an attractive candidate to become UN Secretary General. Kazakhstan has reportedly pledged its support to Bangkok, just as Uzbekistan has opened traded its vote to South Korea in exchange for an ongoing energy sales deal.

            It was about Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan's pattern of returning dissidents to that country to face torture, that Inner City Press questioned Ambassador Yerzhan Kazykhanov, specifically about the recent arrest of Gabdurafikh Temirbaev.  The Kazakh Ambassador's response, after saying that Kazakhstan gets along fine with UNHCR, was that Kazakhstan wants and needs prosperous and stable neighbors. One could infer that he meant that returning dissidents to Uzbekistan makes that country and its Karimov regime more stable.  Through the OSSG, Inner City Press has asked what the UN and UNHCR are doing to stop the trend of refoulement to Uzbekistan, which has already taken place from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, is constantly threatened from Kyrgyzstan, and is now said to be happening in real (media) time to a person, Gabdurafikh Temirbaev, who UNHCR reportedly on June 16 deemed to be a refugee?  What guidance might the UN or UNHCR give to the organizations and members in the CICA and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?  Kofi Annan at his June 15 press conference answered that he is aware of those facing refoulement from Kyrgyzstan, the transcript is online -- but what about Kazakhstan's refoulements of Uzbeks? We'll see.

  This time the stories connect, thusly: despite Uzbekistan's record, and UNHCR being tossed out of the country by Karimov, UNDP has not retracted its praise of the regime. And so it goes...

In Uganda, UNDP's Belated Announcement of Program Halt Leaves Questions Unanswered

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- On June 29 in Uganda, ten days after Inner City Press' questions about disarmament abuses began and two days after a more quiet announcement, the United Nations Development Programme is slated to go public with the news that it has suspended its programs in eastern Uganda. This follows the newspaper The New Vision picking up on Inner City Press' reports (click here to view; the AP in New York has also followed up). In the field of public relations, the advice is often to get out in front of events, rather than play catch-up. When that is missed, it's spin, spin, spin.

  In the Kampala-based New Vision, Ugandan People's Defense Force spokesman Felix Kulayigye is quoted as disputing Inner City Press' reports, stating that "statistics showed that the cordon-and-search had been more successful than voluntary surrendering of guns" and that "this month, the UPDF recovered over 1,100 guns compared to 636 guns recovered in two years ending March 2006."  It all depends on the tactics used... The AP has UNDP's spokesman declaiming that "our operations in the region have halted due to a continuing difficult security situation and concerns about Ugandan military operations in the area." UNDP's letter goes further, referencing recent reports of "killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment."

    Wednesday in New York, nine days after Inner City Press first raised these questions, UNDP's spokesman came to speak to Inner City Press for over an hour, describing the announcement to slated for Thursday in Kampala, saying it will refer to "security" issues rather than human rights abuses, and arguing that UNDP was and is a "small player" in Uganda's Karamojo region. The spokesman congratulated Inner City Press for raising the issues, and asked in essence what more could the UN do at this time?

      Plenty, according to a source in the Prime Minister's Office (OPM) in Kampala. In a second email to Inner City Press, the source paints a picture quite different from that offered by UNDP's spokesman in New York, writing that

"OPM terminated the contract of the 4th advisor, Techeste Ahderom, because of management and performance issues arising out of this situation. We have brought these matters to UNDP attention but have received no constructive feedback. As a result the program, support to implementation of the IDP Policy, which Techeste was managing has suffered serious setbacks. The human security / Karamoja program is having similar problems and Robert Scharf has been warned on a number of occasions. One of Robert's main responsibility was to support coordination of the implementation of the KIDDP at the highest level including ministry of Defense and internal affairs. For over six months now he has failed to convene a single meeting - OPM role in the promotion of voluntary disarmament has been compromised... In the Mine Action Programme a UK based NGO was recruited to conduct mine assessments in northern Uganda - more than 90% of DFID money has gone to contracts of so called experts. They have failed to produce a credible report and the financial accountability is questionable but UNDP continues to disburse funds to this NGO."

            On the question of UNDP's use of funds, the agency's spokesman did not bring any budget documents during his visit Wednesday to Inner City Press. Asked to explain the use of the $293,000 spent before the program was suspended, the spokesman referred to start-up costs, including the need to "set up offices in huts." He stated that now no UNDP program staff remain in the field.  He congratulated Inner City Press for raising the issues, which have now been picked up by Ugandan press, click here for The New Vision, and with more UNDP involvement, the AP.

This news travels

   On Wednesday in New York, UNDP's spokesman urged Inner City Press to shift the focus of its two week old inquiry, to turn to wider programs and other funders. The story and its implications are certainly wider than UNDP, and will be followed where they lead. But here are a list of questions provided to the UNDP spokesman prior to his hour-long presentation, and still not answered:

-On what date did UNDP suspend its support of programs in Eastern Uganda?

-What if any are the conditions of the suspension?

-What is the overall spending figure for UNDP's programs throughout Uganda for 2006?

-Your 6/27 message states that 'cordon and search' operations "undermine the possibility of achieving lasting peace and development for the region" and that "UNDP has joined with other development partners in Uganda to voice concern about this exercise to Ugandan authorities." Who are the "other development partners in Uganda" referenced in this statement?

-Your message states that UNDP "is aware of the allegations of abuse by the Ugandan military... including the ones you have raised" but further claims that UNDP "does not have the mandate to independently investigate accusations of human rights abuses by a national military against citizens of that country."

-If UNDP does not "have the mandate to independently investigate accusations of human rights abuses by a national military against citizens" of a country where UNDP operates, who in UNDP's opinion does have such a mandate?

-UNDP's then-Country Director, Cornelus Klein, made a speech on May 25, 2006 where he applauded Ugandan Government efforts at disarmament and specifically singled out the work of the UPDF with praise. He said "Uganda… is seizing the opportunity to address small and light weapons concerns. While UNDP currently provides modest support to the nation, it is Uganda that can support and lead other countries in doing the same. Let me take this opportunity, therefore, to applaud the Government for its strong leadership and commitment. I also wish to express our thanks to the National Focal Point, the UPDF, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Safer Africa whose excellent work we have all seen this morning, and all other partners that have worked collectively towards this important achievement. I hope that the well trained, hard working and dedicated people we have seen handling this process will remain busy for a long time so that all illicit weapons in the country are destroyed."

    Six days prior to Mr. Klein's speech, as recounted in my first message to you nine days ago, the first reported attack by the UPDF in Kotido sub-county, where on May 19th the UPDF encircled a village and attacked to force the residents to turn over their weapons, resulting in four people being killed by the UPDF or its local defense units, including a 15-year old girl. Over 100 homes were burned and the village's protective fence was destroyed. Many residents were taken and detained in the UPDF barracks in Kotido. On the same day, May 19th, in Nadunget sub county, the UPDF reportedly encircled a village at 4 a.m.. People were ordered out of their huts and beaten while the army searched the village. Although reportedly the army found no weapons or ammunition, ten men from the village were taken and detained at the Moroto army barracks.

 Question: When he gave his speech on 25 May 2006, was Mr. Klein aware of these separate attacks by the UPDF some six days earlier?

--Reportedly, Mr. Klein left Kampala "at the end of May, after eight months in Uganda." Where is Mr. Klein now? Can he and his successor Theophane Nikyema be interviewed?

            Beyond these still unanswered questions, there were questions that were half-answered, or answered through Internet research:

Does the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have a presence in Uganda and a mandate to review Ugandan Government military operations against Ugandan citizens?

            The answer is yes - click here to view, and to read on pages 61-63 that

"In the sub-region of Karamoja, in northeastern Uganda, the traditional culture of cattle rustling with its increasingly violent modern expressions, persistent Government neglect, and an unsuccessful disarmament programme have led to serious security concerns, human rights violations, violence, and a total lack of protection for civilians. Administration of justice structures, law enforcement institutions, and other central Government services are virtually non-existent in the sub-region; as a result, a parallel system of traditional justice, based on reprisals and revenge, has emerged instead... In recognition of the need to consolidate peace with the need for justice, accountability, and reconciliation, OHCHR will establish itself as the lead agency within the United Nations Country Team, in cooperation with civil society actors and the Amnesty Commission, to help to develop national reconciliation strategies, which could include truth-telling, repentance, and compensation, to complement the ongoing peace process. In the Karamoja sub-region, OHCHR will explore ways to enhance the protection of civilians, combat impunity, help to restore security through community-based mechanisms, and facilitate inter-ethnic dialogue on peace and human rights education. These activities will be conducted in partnership with the United Nations Country Team, which is deepening its engagement in Karamoja in response to the Government's Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and Development Programme (2006–2008)."

   We will have more on this wider plan; for now we note that the UNDP spokesman on Wednesday stated that while UNDP is usually publicly quiet, it raises the human rights issues it sees to the head of the UN Country Team, who in turn forwards the information to UN Headquarters. In this case, UN Headquarters has yet to make a comment.

Question: When UNDP becomes "aware of allegations of abuse" by the national military of a country where it works, does it provide this information to any UN entity with a mandate to independently investigate such things?

            This question, Inner City Press asked to two representatives in Kofi Annan's spokesman's office, without on-the-record response. UNDP's spokesman described to Inner City Press UNDP's desire to stay quiet in order to be able to continue to work in countries, as it does in Myanmar on HIV/AIDS. Asked about the wisdom of such silence, or even incongruous UNDP praise, for as for the Millennium Development Goals progress of Uzbekistan, also known for torture, the spokesman only answered, "good question." But what's the answer?

            At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Kofi Annan's spokesman to comment on UNDP's suspension of programs in eastern Uganda due to disarmament abuse by the government. The spokesman said that UN agencies are expected to monitor and ensure that funds are not misused; on UNDP's suspension of programs in eastern Uganda, he said there'd be no statement "yet." Perhaps UNDP's press release slated for June 29 in Kampala will trigger some response by the Kofi Annan's spokesman, even during the Secretary-General trip, which will include the African Union's weekend meeting in Banjul, where Mr. Annan will, he responded, meet with Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

UN in Denial on Sudan, While Boldly Predicting the Future of Kosovo/a

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

At the UN, a Commando Unit to Quickly Stop Genocide is Proposed, by Diplomatic Sir Brian Urquhart

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

At the UN, Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone Missing?

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

In Bolton's Wake, Silence and Speech at the UN, Congo and Kony, Let the Games Begin

Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder: In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

AIDS Ends at the UN? Side Deals on Patents, Side Notes on Japanese Corporations, Salvadoran and Violence in Burundi

On AIDS at the UN, Who Speaks and Who Remains Unseen

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence (May 31, 2006)

Kinshasa Election Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's Belly-Dancing

Working with Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the UN

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

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