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On Myanmar’s Military Election, UN Is Silent on Observers, War Crimes, Cyclone

[Inner City Press, Monday, 8 November 2010 09:17 No Comment]

In the run up to Myanmar’s military dominated election, the degree of capitulation by the UN and Western permanent members of the Security Council became painfully clear.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who declined to even mention the recommendation of UN Special Rapporteur Quintana for a war crimes investigation in his “Report on Human Rights in Myanmar,” said that he “expects” the election to be free and fair.

  Ban never appointed a more than interim replacement to fill the General Assembly mandated Good Offices on Myanmar post, and he has allowed its staff time to be reallocated within the UN Department of Political Affairs.

The UN Security Council met on November 5, and afterwards the Permanent Representatives of France and the UK came out to speak to the press. Neither mentioned Myanmar; the UK did not even take questions.

The UK is president of the Council this month and makes much of “getting Myanmar in the footnotes of the program of work.” But why wait until after a scam election to have a meeting about it?

  The UN Development Program, meanwhile, two days before the election released a Human Development Report stating that Myanmar jumped up six places in global development between 2005 and 2010. Even UNDP affiliated economist Amartya Sen, when questioned by Inner City Press, said the Myanmar data (and UNDP’s report on it) are not credible.

When Cyclone Giri hit Myanmar, Inner City Press asked if the UN thought the election should be postponed or modified in the hardest hit areas. We have to do an assessment first, was the answer. Since then, nothing has been said.

UN’s Ban greets Than Shwe, election observers or human rights recommendations not seen

At the UN noon briefing on November 5, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: I have some Sudan questions, but I wanted to ask about Myanmar first because of the upcoming election on Sunday. It’s been reported that the Government there is extending an invitation to diplomats and UN representatives to tour polling stations on Sunday. It’s also… that some diplomats have said that they won’t go on the tour, but will make their own arrangements to make some observation. I wanted to know, since the Government there forbid outside election observers, but said it would ask the diplomatic community, including the UN, to do it, what’s the UN intending to do on election day in Myanmar?

Spokesperson: Let me find out.

Question: Maybe hopefully before the day, is that possible?

Spokesperson: It wouldn’t be a bad idea, yeah. Okay?

[Full Coverage]

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