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As Simonovic Briefs UNSC on Mali, Of Ladsous' Failed Colonial Pitch

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 22 -- Mali was the subject of a UN Security Council briefing on Monday afternoon by UN human rights official Ivan Simonovic.

  He took questions from the Press on October 10, after a short visit to the south part of Mali. Nearly two weeks later, seemingly with no additional information, he briefed the Security Council.

  Afterward, several delegations told Inner City Press that the so-called UN Human Rights Due Diligence that Simonovic told the Press about on October 10 did not come up.

  Another source said it is proving very difficult to get any human rights component or "track" in the French-led discussion of the re-conquest of northern Mali.

  It was noted to Inner City Press, with dissatisfaction, that the two two UN officials sent to the October 19 meeting in Bamako were both Europeans: the Swedish Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and the new UN Sahel tzar, Romano Prodi of Italy.

  A source asked Inner City Press, apparently rhetorically, "Couldn't at least one of the top duo they sent there be African? Or Arab?" The source called this a "new colonialism."

  But it gets little coverage, in part due to lack not only of diversity but also of transparency. 

  Midday on Monday UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous, alongside refusing to answer questions about killed peacekeepers in Darfur and DPKO inaction in Sudan due to unspecified previous "insulting insinuations" by Inner City Press against him, purported to raise consciousness about the Mali issue.

  But the coverage he'd gotten, five hours later, beyond of his own stonewalling was all about Syria, saying he was "planning" for a peacekeeping force there. And so it goes.

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