Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL
and UNMIS Off-Message
Matthew Russell Lee at the UN
NATIONS, August 14 -- Two UN agencies last week denounced the return of four
refugees to Uzbekistan from the neighboring Kyrgyz Republic, in light of the
persecution and torture of political opponents.
the same time the chief of the UN Development Programme in Uzbekistan, Fikrek
gratitude for being able to train the Uzbek legislature. Monday Kofi Annan's
spokesman was asked by Inner City Press to explain his position on Uzbekistan's
Karimov regime: practitioner of torture and persecution as stated by UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, or government to be helped collect
taxes, as practices by UNDP?
spokesman replied that "on the return of refugees to face grave danger of
torture, the Secretary-General wholeheartedly agrees with what Louise Arbour
said last week." Video
at Minute 24.
Ms. Arbour said on
August 10 was that Uzbekistan is a country "where there are substantial grounds
to believe that [returning refugees and asylum seekers] would face an imminent
risk of grave human rights violations, including torture." Ms. Arbour also
the authorities of the Uzbek Republic to treat those extradited in accordance
with its human rights obligations."
response, the Uzbek government has
UN itself of having violated the law, and of being "used as the cover of forces
of international terrorism."
refugees per UNHCR
As if in
a parallel universe, the same pro-Karimov website which on
August 10 had the
UN being " used as the cover of forces of international terrorism" on August 11
carried the quote of
UNDP country representative Fikret Akcura, that "UNDP is very happy to support
the Parliament, the highest legislative organ of state in the Republic of
also funding the Karimov regime's collection of
taxes, Inner City
Press' questions regarding which were responded to in writing:
"in Uzbekistan and most of the 140
developing nations where UNDP operates, UNDP works with government and civil
society on a broad range of governance projects, including economic reforms, of
which tax administration and fiscal policy are a significant component. Other
governance projects in Uzbekistan focus on gender equality, internet access, and
public administration reform."
On gender, Uzbekistan reported to the UN on August 10, on issues
ranging from forced marriage to a unique definition of polygamy, limited to a
man having two wives in the same home. On internet access, the Karimov regime
blocks access to critical web sites. On public administration, one wonders if
UNDP's programs in Uzbekistan might involve technical assistance on not putting
political dissidents in boiling water, as the
U.K.'s former ambassador in Tashkent has
testified takes place.
above email response, and another below from Fikrek Okcura, are more than Uzbek
citizens get. The Karimov regime blocks access to critical websites, and is in
the process of expelling from the country such elsewhere-uncontroversial
non-government organizations as Mercy Corps and
If the UN
system's contradictory messages in the face of Uzbekistan's repression are
confusing to human rights observers, they are welcomed by the Karimov regime. On
August 10, the head of Karimov's National Human Rights Centre, Akmal Saidov,
presented the country's report under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW. He stated without irony that
Uzbekistan "has a good relationship with the High Commissioner on Human Rights."
In Mr. Saidov's prepared testimony, he bragged that "nine specialized UN
agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, WB, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNODK, UNHCR
underlines, I quote, 'Uzbekistan was more successful than most CIS countries in
maintaining human development indicators, especially, from second half of
Inner City Press has gotten explanations, such as they are, from UNDP and the
World Bank, the other agencies have not spoken, and UNHCR in fact has indirectly
criticized Uzbekistan in the context of repatriation of dissidents from Ukraine,
the Kyrgyz Republic, but not yet the pending refoulements from Russia.
his presentation, Mr. Saidov acknowledged that the definition of polygamy under
Uzbek law is limited to a man keeping two or more women in the same household.
One observer noted, for viewers of HBO's current series "Big Love," that
arrangement would pass muster in Tashkent. Mr. Saidov's testimony included a
"list of more than 40 books and brochures on gender issues which are displayed
in this room... These informational materials have been prepared not only by
government bodies but also non-governmental organizations."
publications brought by the Uzbek delegation was a 150-page book entitled "Women
of Independent Uzbekistan (findings of a sociological survey) which concludes,
"The political activity of Uzbekistan woman has a stable tendency to increase,
caused by the realities of interdependence, which intensively assists in the
development of personal potential, including the stimulating effects of public
life." Unless, one notes, one is tortured in boiling water. There were also four
glossy but untranslated pamphlets paid for by UNDP with the UN's blue logo on
the question and answer in the CEDAW process never joined issue. For example,
the CEDAW committee asked in writing about a report that "20 to 30 percent of
the girls in the Kokand Detention Center are prostitutes."
Uzbekistan responded that "Clients of prostitutes are no held criminally liable
under Uzbek law... Where women are prosecuted for engaging in prosecution under
article 190 of the Code on Administrative Responsibility, they may not be placed
in detention, since that article does not provide for an administrative penalty
involving deprivation of liberty." CEDAW / C / UZB/ Q/ 3 / Add.1 at page 20.
are those held in Kokand Detention Centre in for? On the failure of the
UN's CEDAW committee to ask about torture, one observer joked that as long as
women are not boiled alive more frequently than men, there is no problem under
seriously, the UN system's contradictory approaches to Uzbekistan shows the
conflict between trying to go-along-to-get-along versus a more forthright
advocacy of the human rights standards in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. The conflict need not be this bleak. It is one thing to, for example,
distribute condoms or provide humanitarian relief in a repressive state, on the
theory that its residents shouldn't be abandoned due to their ruler's misdeeds.
But to help the ruler collect taxes to boil his opponent alive is something
different and unseemly.
fairness present the position of those in the UN system who engage with the
Karimov regime and banks in Uzbekistan, herebelow are two detailed explanations.
Inner City Press earlier this year asked UNDP's Fikret Akcura how he could
publicly praised the Karimov regime despite its torture and expulsion of UNHCR.
Mr. Akcura responded at some length:
From: Fikret Akcura
To: Matthew.Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
Sent: Thu, 13 Apr 2006 19:00:44 +0500 (Ekaterinburg
Subject: Re: Question re your 4/11
statement re Uzbek progress toward MDGs, relation to expulsion of UNHCR, etc.
Dear Mr. Lee,
Yes, strictly speaking, the MDGs do not
include the good governance dimension. I guess this was by design in order to
reach consensus and be able to hold the Millennium Summit in September 2000.
Otherwise, it would have been extremely difficult to agree to a set of goals so
clearly described. For many of the MDGs, Uzbekistan is indeed in a good position
if one considers that this is a country with no more than $500 per capita. For
an as-if least developed country, the absence of hunger, the equal access to
schooling for boys and girls, a literacy rate around 97%, the relatively wide
availability of electricity & gas & water, wide availability of primary health
care are all very impressive indeed. If we compared the MDG indicators of
Uzbekistan with those of many African and Asian countries of similar GDP per
capita, the favorable situation in this country becomes most evident. Much of
this owes to the Soviet infrastructure inherited by the CIS countries. However,
the dislocations of transition has made it very difficult for them to maintain
let alone build on that inheritance. In the case of environmental indicators, we
should mention the terrible legacy that was also inherited - such as the Aral
Sea disaster that affects both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan deeply. Another
disadvantage for these countries is the base year of MDGs (1990) which coincides
with the breakup of the USSR and their involuntary birth. As a result, they
faced many problems that detracted from moving steadily up to better indicators
by the MDG target year of 2015. A byproduct of the slower transition path taken
by Uzbekistan is reflected in the better MDG performance compared to some of the
faster reformers. However, MDGs have to be fed by sustained high economic growth
and the faster reformers may start showing higher MDG returns soon. The
international community is formulating a PRSP process with the Government in
order to ensure steady reforms, sustained economic growth and the meeting of the
MDGs by 2015. I hope the above is somewhat helpful to your article. I am sorry I
could not respond more broadly or earlier - I was busy with arranging for UNDP's
take over of UNHCR's work with the almost 1,800 refugees who will be looked
after by UNDP once UNHCR closes on 17 April.
But it was that
incongruity -- UNDP praise while UNHCR is being thrown out of the country that
led to the initial inquiry. Inner City Press said there would be further
questions, and there have been. The World Bank's International Financial
Corporation, another part of the UN system, recently approved a line of credit
to a bank in Andijan. Inner City Press asked why, and a week later was told:
From: [Spokesperson at] ifc.org
To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
Sent: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 2:21 PM
Subject: Fw: Request for comment on WB's
IFC's consideration of loan to Uzbek bank
Thank you very much for your inquiry, and
for our subsequent chat on Monday.
The proposed investment of up US$3 million
in Hamkor Bank has passed board approval and is now pending commitment. This
line of credit extended to Hamkor Bank will allow it to broaden its funding base
and support the extension of its lending operations to small and medium sized
enterprises, (SMEs). Hamkorbank is the largest privately owned bank in
Uzbekistan, headquartered in Andijon, one of the poorest and mostly densely
populated areas in the country. Hamkor focuses its activities on supporting
private sector micro and SME borrowers, particularly in those in the rural
areas, and supporting those with limited access to finance.
IFC has worked with Hamkor Bank for over 4
years, providing credit for on- lending to small private sector borrowers as
well as providing technical assistance to the bank to improve its corporate
governance including management and operational structure, so that it can more
effectively compete with the large,and mainly state owned banks in the country.
We believe that IFC support for a private sector institution in Uzbekistan, such
as Hamkor Bank, helps create stronger 'best practice' institutions that can
serve as benchmarks for other financial institutions in the country, while at
the same time providing much needed financing for private sector enterprises in
the country. This we believe is another way to create both jobs and income for
the people of Uzbekistan.
With a population of 26 million,
Uzbekistan is one of the poorest countries in the Central Asia region. In 2004,
the gross national income per capita was estimated at US$460 and close to 46
percent of the population live on less than US$2 per day. ( Click here for more
country data). Further, the Uzbek economy as a whole is still largely
government-controlled with minimal private sector participation. Larger
government-backed businesses 'crowd- out' private sector when competing for
scarce long-term resources and in addition, banks in Uzbekistan have
traditionally only lent to businesses backed by the government, despite better
repayment record of private sector entities.
expansive if evasive response is at least better than UNDP's two-line, two
weeks-late response to the tax collection question sent to lead UNDP spokesman
William Orme. UNDP country representative Fikret Okcura, who previously answered
Inner City Press' emailed questions in full paragraphs, did not response to the
tax collection question. Like the Karimov regime, perhaps, UNDP hopes to weather
the storm, the wait-out the period of scrutiny which if the past is any guide
will be ended by another crisis, somewhere else, leaving Karimov still torturing
in power, and UNDP and now to a lesser degree the World Bank cravenly supporting
his regime, with tax collection help and loans. And so, for now, it goes.
* * *
news from UN Headquarters, an impromptu stakeout in the basement outside
Conference Room 5 on Monday afternoon yielded a two minute interview with a
Department of Peacekeeping Operations official who asked not to be named.
Emerging from a meeting about troop contributions to UNIFIL in Lebanon, he
stated that Germany and France are among those offering troops; asked of Turkey,
he said no, not yet. He stated that fuel has reached Lebanon, including on the
French vessel Sirocco. He stated that another troop contributing meeting may
take place later this week. Informed reporters characterize Monday's meeting,
like one held on Saturday, as merely technical, while the meeting slated for
later in the week will be higher-profile. Countdown on a vacuum?
unrelated contradiction in the UN system into which Inner City Press inquired
Monday concerns whether the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS, is ignoring the
International Criminal Court's outstanding warrants for the arrest for war
crimes of Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti and two or three other leaders of the Lord's
Resistance Army. Inner City Press asked Kofi Annan's spokesman about a
from Juba that "'there are no plans to make arrests in Sudan,' said James
Ellery, southern region coordinator of Sudan's U.N. Mission (UNMIS)." Inner City
Press asked if this is a formal new position, different from Kofi Annan's recent
report to the Security Council that UNMIS and MONUC in the Congo would like to
arrest Kony, but may not have enough resources. Video
Minute 23. The spokesman responded, "The position of the UN is as you've said it
-- we would like to see Mr. Kony brought to justice." We'll see.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA
Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views
Matthew Russell Lee at the UN
August 9 -- Africa is or should be able to solve its own problems, Ghana's
Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
said Wednesday in
New York. Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, currently in The Hague on
charges of war crimes, should have been tried in Africa, according to Minister
Nana, who noted that "it would be anomalous for Milosevic to have been tried in
Freetown." He added that the indictments by the Hague-based International
Criminal Court of the top five officials of the Lord's Resistance Army rebels
from Uganda should be put on hold pending peace and amnesty talks being held in
Juba in South Sudan between the LRA and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni government.
Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and S-G Kofi Annan
which holds the presidency of the UN Security Council this month, had scheduled
a full day open session on West Africa peace consolidation. Ghanaian
Foreign Minister Nana began by noting that while "events in the Middle East are
important, there are other important events in other parts of the world. I think
it is just as well that a balance is established to show that the concerns of
humanity are not just focused on one region but focused on all parts of the
world that need consideration and discussion."
responding to seven
questions from Inner City Press at the conclusion of the afternoon session,
ranging from Ivory Coast through Liberia to Uganda and Zimbabwe, Minister Nana
sketched out an Afro-centric vision of justice and "peace on the Continent." He
expressed hope that diplomatic relations between the world community,
specifically the United Kingdom, and the Robert Mugabe government in Zimbabwe
can be improved.
Responding to concerns that Mr. Mugabe's appointed mediator and former Tanzanian
president Benjamin Mkapa is too close to Mugabe to be seen as independent, and
that Kofi Annan erred in deferring to Mr. Mkapa, Minister Nana said, "I prefer
to wait and see." He responded similarly when asked about the peace talks with
the Lord's Resistance Army. "Talks for peace? That has to be good, right? We
must wait to see what happens."
Kofi Annan's spokesman was asked by Inner City Press to respond to these "wait
and see" views. At the televised noon briefing, the spokesman said that the
indictments are for the ICC to comment on, but that "the Secretary-General and
the UN system do not condone impunity." He stated that countries which are
signatories to the ICC's Rome Statute, which included Uganda, must arrest and
turn over indictees to the ICC in The Hague. More generally, he stated that
"each post-war situation calls for a different solution, drawn up by governments
themselves." This appears to apply to the
UN's silence on the offer of a colonel's
position in the Congolese army to Peter Karim,
who took seven UN peacekeepers hostage for over forty days. The spokesman closed
with a reference to the UN's new Peacebuilding Commission, which is focused in
part on Burundi.
to The Hague, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis
Moreno-Ocampo has repeatedly reminded Uganda and the Democratic Republic of
Congo, where LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti are reportedly staying, of
their duties to enforce the ICC's arrest warrants for both men and three other
LRA leaders. From Wednesday's statements by Ghanaian minister Nana, it appears
clear that Ghana, or its foreign minister at least, has doubts about the
indictments. In the sphere of lobbying, some have begun to call for the ICC "to
employ Article 53(4) of the Rome Statute, under which the Prosecutor can
reconsider a decision at any time based on new facts or information.'"
Charles Taylor, Minister Nana complained that too many "are talking as if he has
already been convicted."
separate interview Tuesday with the United Kingdom's permanent representative to
the UN, Emyr Jones Parry, Inner City Press inquired into reports that the UK is
promoting a draft security council resolution to allow the use of force and
crossing of borders into the Congo to pursue the LRA and its leadership.
Ambassador Jones Parry confirmed that the UK is drafting such a resolution.
another matter before the Security Council, the request to remove the sanction
on the trade in Liberian diamonds, Minister Nana noted that ECOWAS has called
for a lifting of all sanctions with economic impacts, by implication including
the diamond sanctions. Mr. Nana said, " if as we see a responsible and
accountable government is beginning to put its feet down in Monrovia, there's
every reason to assist that process by enabling them to have access to more and
more money to do the work they need to do to consolidate peace in their
Security Council is also actively seized of the situation in Ivory Coast in the
run-up to the elections now scheduled for October 31. Inner City Press asked
Minister Nana if he expects that deadline to be met. Mr. Nana responded that
"increasingly most of us have recognized that may not be feasible," but that the
need to maintain momentum should "guide all actors in the Ivorian drama." Asked
to respond to Laurent Gbagbo's recent statement that he will remain in power
even if elections are further delayed, Minister Nana said he is "not in a
position to comment on the Constitutional propriety either way."
Wednesday's open Council session, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke of the
competing needs for reconciliation and for strengthening the rule of law.
Wednesday Inner City Press asked Mr. Annan's spokesman to prioritize these two.
The spokesman's response noted that "the Secretary-General and the UN system do
not condone impunity" and that "justice must be served without delay." In the
tinted glass building on Manhattan's East River bank, the statements are
straight-forward. Out in zones of conflict, particularly out of the media's
spotlight like the deal in East Congo with Peter Karim, the messages get lost.
Nor, some note, has peace as yet resulted.
The responses of
Ghana's Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Inner City Press'
questions, are online at
spokesman's response is at the end of
the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops,
Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement
Matthew Russell Lee at the UN
August 9 -- Kofi Annan and two UN agencies appeared Wednesday with rapper Jay-Z
to talk about access to water. The news, such as it was, is that water is good.
Inner City Press asked Shawn Jay-Z Carter two questions, about water
privatization and about the Associated Press charges, unrebutted in the public
record, that his
clothing line Rocawear used sweatshop Southwest
Textiles S.A. in Cholula, Honduras. Video
at Minute 20:30 through 23:19.
On the water
privatization question, Jay-Z said, "that's just bureaucracy, I don't have any
expertise in that," adding that he's about raising awareness. Later he praised
Coca-Cola for giving money for play pumps;
Coke is under fire for overuse of water in
India as well as in Colombia.
Never heard of it.
request that he address Rocawear's reported use of sweatshops, and whether the
company still uses Southwest Textiles, S.A., Jay-Z said, "Still? That means that
they were." Video
from Minute 21:28.
charges were on AP and in USA Today, click
view, and have not been rebutted in the public record, Inner City Press asked
for a response. But none was given. And so it goes at the United Nations. There
is an unself-conscious partnering not only with pop culture figures, click
see below, for one with more substance, but also with corporations, from
and so on without end, for now. Meanwhile the bombs in Lebanon continue.
noon briefing that followed,
Inner City Press asked if
the UN's refugee agency UNHCR has anything to say about Uzbekistan's bragging
14 dissidents are about to be returned from
Russia. The spokesman responded that UNHCR speaks with the countries at issue.
Does that include Uzbekistan and the Karimov regime, which having already thrown
UNHCR out of the country is moving to similar oust Mercy Corps, allegedly for
espionage? We'll see.
City Press also asked about the DR Congo election, and the EU observer mission's
recent statement that that the
vote counting "process is lacking checks
and balances of transparency" and
that announcing incomplete results could stir up tensions." After the briefing,
Kofi Annan's spokesman's office provided this statement:
"SRSG Swing reminded Congolese yesterday
that it is vital to maintain the same discipline and orderliness that they
showed on 30th July. He said that, at this stage, it is premature to give
results, since only 5% of ballot papers have been counted."
informative was a briefing by the head of Kofi Annan's assessment mission to
Nepal, Staffan de Mistura. While since he was in Nepal the process nearly fell
apart, Monday the scheduled joint-but-separate letters were delivered to the UN,
view. Inner City Press inquired into the
that U.S. Ambassador to Nepal James Francis Moriarty tried at the last minute to
scuttle the process, click here for allegation. Mr. de Mistura responded
diplomatically, that all on the P5 are now on board. In response to the second
question of Inner City Press, about South Lebanon where he was previously an
envoy, Mr. de Mistura was more poetic, noting that "the best medicine is
preventative." Meanwhile Lebanon continues not only to fester but also be
International Day of the World's Indigenous People was celebrated six days late
in the Dag Hammerskjold auditorium, where Q'Orianka Kilcher presented, alongside
Wilton Littlechild, whom
Inner City Press quoted
back in May:
"Asked about the issues of missionaries,
conversions and adoptions, under the rubric of loss of culture, Forum member
Wilton Littlechild said the matter is not only in the draft, but also before the
Commission on the Rights of the Child. In a separate interview in the basement
outside Conference Room 2, Mr. Littlechild described several class actions in
Canada on these issues, alleging cultural genocide. Since the treatment by
courts of claims of cultural genocide is an open question, one wonders if the
Declaration -- in one its 19 perambulatory paragraphs or 45 articles --
shouldn't address the need in nations' laws for just such a cause of action."
didn't happen, but action is expected in and around the General Assembly in
September. We'll see. Wednesday Inner City Press asked Mr. Littlechild for an
update on the opposition of the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to the
Declaration. Mr. Littlechild said he anticipates that opposition continuing, but
that Canada's may be changing.
Press asked Q'Orianka Kilcher for her position on the pending U.S. Peru Free
Trade Agreement, and on indigenous people's participation in the Peruvian
economy. After some whispering on the panel, the first answer came from Romy
Tincopa from the Peruvian mission, who said of probably with the Free Trade
Agreement, "the government is taking care of that."
Q'Orianka Kilcher responded by describing her visit to oil areas of Peru,
"polluted by Oxy... without reinjection pipes," and about meeting a boy with
chemical burns on 70% of his body. Oxy is formally Occidental; the naming of
names is important.
basement, Q'Orianka Kilcher spoke passionately against human rights being
violated for economic gain, particularly by multinational oil companies in the
Amazon. Upstairs at noon, at the event Kofi Annan attended, these issues were
dodged. And so it goes.
the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa
Russell Lee at the UN
August 8, 4:22 p.m. -- For a ceasefire in Lebanon to be enacted by the UN
Security Council in 24 or even 48 hours appears less and less likely.
Update of 11:59 p.m.,
last of day -- Despite and responding to CNN's below-quoted report quoting U.S.
Amb. Bolton's spokesman of France breaking from the U.S., the French mission's
spokesman emailed the UN press corps Tuesday night, "We totally deny that
report, negotiations between France and the U.S. are going on." So disagreeing
with CNN or the U.S. mission? Earlier Tuesday, the French spokesman and the U.S.
deputy spokesman laughed together, when the latter provided correction of who
was in the room, the P5 and "the Arab four." How fast they fall out, or CNN's
wrong. We'll see.
Update of 7:45 p.m. -- After multiple stakeout interviews, including French Ambassador
de La Sabliere choosing to do it in the dark, not before the UN TV cameras, and
John Bolton bolting, the mood on the second floor was dark. On the television
over the coffee machine, blaring CNN, Lou Dobbs turned from immigrants to pass
on word from Bolton's spokesman that France is breaking from the U.S., and
joining Lebanon in demanding that Israel withdraw. Washington was floating a
counterproposal, that Lebanon's 15,000 troops be supplement with an
international force of roughly similar size. No Israeli pull-out, under this
trial lead balloon, but an eventual pull-out more credible.
people couldn't stop a pillow fight," one journalist, visual, said. "They should
turn this place into a water park."
sound like Bolton," a fact collector for a television network said.
cafeteria, Inner City Press ran into Doctor David Nabarro, the UN's point man on
it on bird flu?"
goes on," Dr. Nabarro said. "It's not big news these days. That's the nature of
news -- there's a finite amount." He added that there are in fact worries of
bird flu in Lebanon, and that's he'd like to come back to brief about it, once
the news is not so... you know. We know...
Update of 5:40 p.m.
-- Dozens of reporters press together to hear staffers who refused to be named
explain that in the room it's not "P5 plus one" -- and that would be Qatar --
but rather "P5 plus four," including the foreign minister of the United Arab
Emirates. Meanwhile Inner City Press can report that a bomb-sniffing dog, a
3-year old male Labrador who declined to be named, sniffed the coffee cups
heading in to the room. So when they drink it...
As Kofi Annan and the
afternoon's three speakers, from Qatar, Israel and Lebanon, swept into the
Council chambers past 3:30 p.m., staffers of the Permanent Five missions told
reporters not to expect immanent action. On the sidelines, Ambassador Mayoral of
Argentina was asked to show his identification card to the guard outside the
chamber. Photographers rushed up the staircase; Mark Malloch-Brown sat in his
sunglasses next to head peacekeeper Jean-Marie Guehenno.
Meanwhile the air
is sucked out of most other issues and regions. A purportedly small but telling
detail: the press corps was informed that Edmond Mulet, Kofi Annan's envoy to
Haiti, from which Mr. Annan only days ago returned, was to take questions at 4
p.m.. There are questions to be asked, about a slate of kidnappings and murders,
and Mr. Mulet's proposal to boost the UN force with a SWAT team of 100.
not the Middle East
Lochard of the Police National d'Haiti is accused of funding his own murderous
gang. But at 4 p.m., with all reporters staring at the television showing
Israel's Dan Gillerman's speech before the Council, Mr. Mulet's briefing was
unceremoniously cancelled. It was cancelled in the second floor hallway, and not
rescheduled. A cameraman told Inner City Press that a sanctions meeting he was
slated to be at was cancelled. How long can this go on?
Wise minds at the stakeout predict the solution, if there is one, is shifting
the word-games toward the Shebaa Farms, so that each side can claim victory how
ever Pyrrhic... To be continued.
Silence on Congo Election and Uranium, Until It's To Iran or After a Ceasefire,
and Council Rift on Kony
Matthew Russell Lee at the UN
NATIONS, August 8 -- The Congolese uranium mentioned a month ago in a UN report
is now suddenly more prominent, due to
reports it was destined for Iran.
Inner City Press asked Kofi Annan's
spokesman about the report, the
uranium shipment, and the strange silence of the UN's Congo mission, MONUC. The
spokesman had also been silent on reports of irregularities in ballot counting
in the Congo. It's said the UN has spend over $450 million on the election, yet
reporters observe ballots held down with pieces of crumbling walls, while
counting stations burn.
ballots, all stacked up
spokesman Stephane Dujarric, returning from vacation into a blizzard of
questions about the Middle East, fielded both Congo questions in a general way.
On vote counting he urged patience and calm, calling the election a "humongous
challenge." On the export of the Congo's natural resources he was more
expansive, calling it a "great problem" but insisting that the UN's MONUC
"cannot and does not monitor the export of resources from the DRC." Video
from Minute 22 to 24:33.
report, S/2006/525 dated July 18, states of a uranium "shipment from October
2005, the Tanzanian Government left no doubt that the uranium was transported
from Lubumbashi by road through Zambia to the United Republic of Tanzania."
Less than a month later in Kinshasa, MONUC spokesman Jean-Tobias Okala
he could not confirm the uranium shipment. Developing.
similar silence on Somalia, the UN spokesman has committed to provide details on
the UN's humanitarian assessment mission to Mogadishu, which ended last Tuesday
with nothing being said of it. Why not go to Baidoa, to see if Ethiopian troops
are there or not? Mr. Dujarric said he would ask, but that "I doubt I will have
any more to say that what has been said here from this podium" -- that is, that
the UN is "not in the position to confirm" the invasion of one country by
another, at least not when the invasion is ostensibly in support of the party
the UN has sided with. Inner City Press also asked about reports of an "
Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, with the Kazakh flag painted on its tail, landed in the
capital, Mogadishu, on July 26 and 28," presumably with arms for the Supreme
Council of Islamic Courts. Another largely ignored UN report, S/2006/ 229 dated
May 4, named six nations violating the Somalia arms embargo -- Ethiopia,
Eritrea, Djibouti, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Italy, and other "clandestine"
violator, widely assumed to by the United States. And now the Khazaks join the
from Minute 34:14 to 35:15.We'll see.
of questioning begun Monday by Inner City Press was on Tuesday moved forward, if
only slightly. Responding further to Inner City Press' question about the use of
depleted uranium (DU) in weapons in Lebanon, the spokesman said while the UN's
Department of Disarmament Affairs has "no clear position" on the use of DU
weapons, there is a "need to investigate" the use of DU in "post-conflict
situations like Kosovo and Bosnia." Video
from Minutes 32:32 to 33:08. So apparently the UN would wait at least until
after a ceasefire, or cessation of hostilities, in the current draft resolution
puts it, before using Geiger counters.
another too-ignored problem on the Continent, Inner City Press on Tuesday
conducted walking interviews with both the Ghanaian president of the Security
Council, Nana Effah-Apenteng, and with UK Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, on
that the Council is preparing a Chapter VII resolution to disarm the Lord's
Resistance Army. Ghana's Ambassador said, "We have to wait for the outcome of
the Juba talks." Somewhat differently, Amb. Jones Parry confirmed that the UK is
drafting and pushing a Chapter VII resolution. In the Juba talks, Joseph Kony
and Vincent Otti and three others indicted for war crimes by the International
Criminal Court are being offered amnesty by Uganda's Museveni government. The
Ghanaian Ambassador's position seems to not take this into account. The UK
position, while always pro-Museveni, is contradicted by the UK's reported
refusal to encourage Uganda to stop ignoring the DR Congo sanctions.
Other Inner City Press
reports are archived on
the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for
UN Still Silent
on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin
Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues
Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is
In DR Congo, UN
Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper
Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese
At the UN, Dow
Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended
Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers
At the UN,
Speeches While Gaza Stays Lightless and Insurance Not Yet Paid
At the UN
Poorest Nations Discussed, Disgust at DRC Short Shrift, Future UN
At the UN
Wordsmiths Are At Work on Zimbabwe, Kony, Ivory Coast and Iran
UN Silent As
Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News
the UN, New Phrase Passes Resolution called Gangster-Like by North Korea; UK
Deputy on the Law(less)
Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower
In Gaza Power
Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN
At UN, North
Korean Knot Attacked With Fifty Year Old Precedent, Game Continues Into
Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and
Vetoed by U.S., While North Korea Faces Veto and Chechnya Unread
Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations
Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts
At the UN, A Day
of Resolutions on Gaza, North Korea and Iran, Georgia as Side Dish
UN Grapples with
Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without
In North Korean
War of Words, Abuses in Uganda and Impunity Go Largely Ignored
On North Korea,
Blue Words Move to a Saturday Showdown, UNDP Uzbek Stonewall
As the World
Turns in Uganda and Korea, the UN Speaks only on Gaza, from Geneva
North Korea in
the UN: Large Arms Supplant the Small, and Confusion on Uganda
UN Gives Mugabe
Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned
At the UN,
Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe
Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions
In Uganda, UNDP
to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and
The New Vision,
Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending
Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance
Alleged Abuse in
Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given:
What Did UN Know and When?
Strong Arm on
Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of
UN in Denial on
Sudan, While Boldly Predicting the Future of Kosovo/a
Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs
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
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
At the UN,
Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone
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
Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News
In Praise of
Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial
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)
Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's
Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the
The Silence of
the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank
Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins
Child Labor and
Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu
Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security
Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens
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
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
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
Human Rights Are
Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still
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
Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala
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
The Shorted and
Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't
Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance
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
Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of
Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia
Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives
Who Pays for the
Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN
Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference
Other Inner City Press
reports are archived on
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