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As Ban Ki-moon Sings of Voiceless, UN and Its Spokesman Ignore Darfur, Sri Lanka & Myanmar Questions: Not Doing Job

[Inner City Press, Sunday, 23 January 2011 11:25 No Comment]

While Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave a speech Saturday entitled “UN has duty to speak out for human rights” by the UN News Center, Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky ignored human rights questions from the Press about Darfur, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

In Darfur, UN official Ibrahim Gambari had nothing to say about the Sudanese government’s bragging about killing over 20 people, nor counter-claims by rebel groups.

Since this came days after Ban’s humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Georg Charpentier said things are getting better in Darfur — a question about which Nesirky explicitly refused to take on January 21 — Inner City Press on January 22 asked Nesirky this question:

“In Darfur, please state the UN’s and UNAMID’s understanding of the fighting in the last few days, in light of conflicting statements by the Sudanese government and rebel groups. SLA – Abdelwahid Al Nur spokesman Nimr Abdelrahman has said the government lost six Land Cruisers and seven vehicles of military equipment in a battle on January 20-21 in the Jabra area, 50 kilometers northeast of Nyala. He said that government forces were trying to enter Jebel Marra from Jabra. The government on the other hand says it killed 21 people in a fight with JEM in Marshanag. What has UNAMID done to confirm either account? How many people were killed and injured? What is UNAMID doing?”

Nine hours later, Nesirky had neither answered nor even acknowledged this Darfur question, despite his job description providing that the UN Spokesman “answers press queries in person, by telephone and e-mail, around the clock… including ability to present and defend difficult positions often in unanticipated situations.”

On January 21, Nesirky refused to answer Inner City Press’ question about UN official Charpentier’s positive statements about the situation in Darfur. Nesirky told Inner City Press,  “I will take questions from you when you behave in an appropriate manner.”

In Ban’s speech on Saturday, while Nesirky and his staff ignored questions about Sri Lanka, Darfur, China, Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere, he said “As United Nations Secretary-General, I never forget this fundamental mission: to stand – to speak out – for human rights and human decency. To protect the world’s innocents. To speak for those who would otherwise not be heard.”

What about those 40,000 civilians killed in Sri Lanka? Here are questions Nesirky has left unanswered for weeks:

-with whom in the Sri Lanka government did Ban or the UN speak before his Dec 17 announcement, talking into account that the External Affairs Minister Peiris later said he learn of it in the media?

- what agreements or understanding have been reached about with whom the Panel will speak in Sri Lanka?

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Ban Ki-moon & Nesirky, refused questions about Darfur & Sri Lanka not shown

Also unanswered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to which Nesirky referred Inner City, and now ignored by Nesirky himself, are these questions:

when did Ms. Bragg apply for a visa to Sri Lanka, when was it granted and are there any conditions on the visa, regarding where to travel, whom to speak with, etc?

What does [the UN] say to the protests in east Batticaloa about allegedly inequitable distribution of aid?

Or, as previously requested, on the new rules requiring NGOs and INGOs to register with the Department of Defense, etc

Also, as previously asked– Does the UN have any comment on Sri Lanka’s government ordering the International Committee of the Red Cross out of Northern Sri Lanka?

Nesirky’s deputy Farhan Haq refused to even confirm when Ban’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar was in Myanmar, and Ban has yet to act on requesting, including by Security Council Permanent Five members, that he replace Nambiar with a full time Myanmar envoy.

[Full Coverage]

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