UNITED NATIONS, September 7 – With the UN Security Council presidency for September being taken over by Ethiopia’s Tekeda Alemu, Inner City Press on September 1 asked Ambassador Alemu four questions, including on Burundi (on the Council’s agenda) and the Oromo Protests, a major human rights issue. Video here. Now with the Security Council in Addis Ababa, Inner City Press on September 7 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about human rights issues there and what the UN is doing. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: With the Security Council now in Addis Ababa, I wanted to ask you and maybe you’ll have some or you can get some… some later, what has… what has been the UN system’s involvement in both the Oromo protests and in the dispute, quite deadly dispute, between the Oromia region and the Somali region in the country? There are allegations of human rights violations by something called the Liyu police.
Recently, the Government has banned the… an album launch or event by an artist, Teddy Afro. There seems to be a number of the type of issues that the UN comments on in other countries. And I wanted to know, beyond a comment, what the UN, with its presence there, actually does about any of these issues?
Read more from UN.
Spokesman: “First of all, the UN’s main presence in Ethiopia is as a region hub. I mean, it’s the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). It is not meant as a headquarters for Ethiopia. That being said, I will check with our colleagues if we have any guidance on the latest round of events in Ethiopia.” Oh. Back on September 1 when the UN Department of Public Information wrote up the press conference, it did not even MENTION Burundi, much less the Oromo protests. See UN document here.
What is wrong with UN DPI, a corrupt UN Department which spends $200 million a year in public funds, but doe not even has any rules, content neutral or otherwise, on how it accredits and/or restricts the independent press which covers the UN? Where is the new head of DPI, Alison Smale? Inner City Press has been told she arrives on September 8. On September 7, her fill in allowed a heckler to shout down Inner City Press’ question about Haiti cholera at a DPI book event, here. In response to Inner City Press asking why Burundi, where even the UN says there is a risk of genocide, is not on his September Program of Work nor on the agenda of the Council’s visit to Addis Ababa, Alemu on September 1 – not covered by the UN – said that you can’t compare Burundi to Central African Republic, that Burundi has “strong state institutions.” But it is that very “strength,” which some say the country shares with Ethiopia, and with until recently military-ruled Myanmar about which Inner City Press also asked, that has led to the human rights violations. In this context, Inner City Press asked Alemu about the Oromo protests – and crackdown – in his country. He diplomatically chided Inner City Press for not having asked in private, saying that social media has played a dangerous role. Meanwhile the UN brags about its (propaganda) social media work. We’ll have more on this. Alamy photos here. Earlier on September 1 in Alemu’s briefing to countries not on the Security Council, Bangladesh specifically asked that the Council remain seized of the situation in Myanmar. When Inner City Press asked Alemu about this, he said he still had to inform himself more about that situation. The Security Council is traveling to Addis from September 5 through 9, when alongside African Union consultations the Council’s member will meet for an hour with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Alemu said. The Council will receive the “maiden briefings” late in the month of the new Under Secretaries General of OCHA and on Counter-Terrorism. There will be peacekeeping on September 20, during the High Level week of the UN General Assembly, and Yemen on September 26. But tellingly, there will not be Burundi. And when Alemu added Mali to a September 5 meeting, despite his answer to FUNCA, not all media were told. Watch this site.