On Myanmar, as Nambiar of UN “Neglects Justice” & Minorities, Q&A Requested တရားမွ်တမွဳႏွင့္တုိင္းရင္းသားေခါင္းေဆာင္ေတြကုိဂရုမစုိက္ဘဲဗမာျပည္မွထြက္သြားသည့္မစၥတာနမ္းဘီယား၊
တမီလ္လူမ်ဳိး ၂၂၀၀ ကုိသတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့သည့္သီရိလကၤာအစုိးရကုိတရားစြဲဖုိ.ေႏွာင္းေႏွးေအာင္လုပ္ေနသူဟာကုလားပဲနံျပားျဖစ္သည္၊ရုပ္သံၾကည့္ၾကပါ၊
I have just completed a three-day working visit at the invitation of the new Government of Myanmar in my capacity as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General. This follows my earlier visit shortly after the elections in November last year. The purpose of this visit was three-fold:
First, to engage with the new six-week old Government and with other stakeholders in order to take stock of recent developments and to build on the comprehensive dialogue between the United Nations and Myanmar. In Naypyitaw, I met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Social Welfare, National Planning and Development; and senior officials of the Ministries of Commerce, Health and Education. I also met with the newly appointed Presidential Advisers for political, legal and economic affairs. Meetings were also arranged with the Deputy Speaker of the People’s Assembly at the Union Assembly hall, and the Secretary-General of the Union Solidarity and Development Party. In Yangon, I met again with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy. Further meetings were held with representatives of political parties represented in Parliament, and civil society organizations. This morning I visited Bago and met with the Chief Minister of Bago Region.
The second purpose of my visit was to convey a forward looking message. The United Nations welcomes the important themes and reforms announced by President Thein Sein in his inaugural speeches. These include the recognition of some of the most pressing political and economic challenges facing Myanmar and the need to address them in a way that strengthens national unity and reconciliation - sustainable development and equitable growth; good governance through greater responsiveness, inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency; continued engagement through genuine goodwill and keeping the door open with those who do not accept the Constitution and the roadmap; and respect for fundamental human rights, the media and the rule of law. These stated priorities of the Government are consistent with the expectations of the United Nations and the international community.
Recognizing the significance of the Government’s commitments, we must stress that implementation is key. I underscored the opportunity and responsibility that the Government now has to translate its commitments into effective action. Domestically and internationally, expectations are high that it will start taking concrete steps soon. In all my meetings, I stressed that this must include the release of all political prisoners and inclusive dialogue with all segments of society, as well as greater outreach to the international community to ensure that the proposed reforms enjoyed broad buy-in. Only then can there be greater confidence that the efforts undertaken will indeed serve to meet the longstanding needs and aspirations of the people of Myanmar. There is no time to waste if Myanmar is to move forward.
Thirdly, I reiterated the United Nations’ strong commitment to long-term engagement with the Government and people of Myanmar in support of their efforts to move the country towards durable peace, democracy and prosperity. Since Cyclone Nargis three years ago, the collaboration between the United Nations and Myanmar has grown significantly. With all my counterparts, I discussed the opportunity and the need to build on such efforts to deepen and broaden our engagement in advancing needed reforms, including through continued facilitation and greater assistance in the areas of economic development, health, education, capacity-building, and human rights. The United Nations wants Myanmar to succeed. With the cooperation of Myanmar and the support of all concerned, including regional and donor countries, the United Nations looks forward to being able to deliver to its full potential in order to better serve the people of Myanmar. On its part, the UN agencies would be better placed to respond to Myanmar’s development needs if the existing restrictions on its operations are removed.
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 13 -- As UN envoy Vijay Nambiar was on his way to Myanmar earlier this week, Inner City Press asked the UN if he would meet with ethnic minority groups including the Shan, whom the government is attacking. The UN said it didn't know yet.
Now Nambiar has left Myanmar, after issuing a statement that does not mention the Shan or the ending of ceasefires. At Friday's noon UN briefing in New York, Inner City Press asked again the Nambiar take questions from the media when he returns, for example about the situation of the Shan, Karen, Rohingya and other groups, especially since his statement did not mention them.
“How do you know he didn't mention them?” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky demanded.
Well, Nambiar's statement was sent to Inner City Press by e-mail, as were various statements from human rights groups critical of Nambiar's work.
Nambiar last time, Press excluded, new request not shown
Nesirky pointed again to Nambiar's statement in Yangon, where previously even Burmese press was excluded from Nambiar's press conference.
I'll relay your requests, Nesirky said. He told Inner City Press, you don't have to rely “on NGOs.”
This was ironic because later on Friday Ban Ki-moon met with Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, who had just tweeted that Nambiar “neglects justice for war crimes.” Is Roth aware of, and did he raise, other questions about Nambiar and human rights? It's not yet known, as there's been no read out. Watch this site.
* * *
With UN's Nambiar in Myanmar, UN Won't Speak on Minorities or ASEAN
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 12 -- With UN Envoy Vijay Nambiar's trip to Myanmar more than half over, the UN in New York still refused on Thursday to say who Nambiar would meet with, and whether he would hold an open press conference.
As Nambiar's trip began, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Nambiar would meet with ethnic minorities, as was requested but not done during Nambiar's trip to Myanmar last year.
Haq said, “I don’t have a schedule for all of his meetings... as the trip proceeds, we will try to get some more details about other meetings as they are scheduled.”
Two days later, Inner City Press asked again, this time to Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky, including whether Nambiar would hold an open press conference and take questions.
Nesirky said he did not know. When Inner City Press asked if Nambiar would be raising to the government its status as the world's worst recruiter of child soldiers, Nesirky said he assumed Nambiar would raise all the issues.
But just the previous day, the UN's expert on Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy stated that no meeting with or briefing to Nambiar on the topic was held before he left.
Nor would Nesirky on Thursday express any UN or Nambiar view on Myanmar's request to chair ASEAN by 2014.
During Nambiar's last trip in November 2010, several media organizations were barred from his press conference inside Myanmar:
“Reporters who were denied access included staff from The Myanmar Times, 7 Day, Venus, The Voice, True News, Weekly Eleven and other news journals. 'We face difficulties in collecting news because the army, police and local authorities all restrict us from doing so. Even if we have news, we have to go through the PSRD before we publish it. We are working under very tight control. The situation may become worse when the new government lead by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) takes office,' said a reporter, who asked to remain anonymous.The [military government's Press Scrutiny and Registration Division] suspended nine private journals last week.”
Now a formal request has been made that he hold an open press conference, in New York as soon as he returns, on these and other matters. Watch this site.
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On Sri Lanka, UN's Haq Insists His Denial Meant Nambiar Isn't Target of ICC Complaint, Is Only Called a "Co-Perpetrator"
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, March 11 -- On Sri Lanka, a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court against Palitha Kohona states of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff that there is “a basis to question whether Vijay Nambiar was in fact an innocent neutral intermediary or in fact a co-perpetrator within the negotiation related community.”
Inner City Press on February 21 published a story containing that quote, and this paragraph from the complaint:
"NAMBIAR again through the United Nations-24 hour dispatch center in New York. NAMBIAR replied to COLVIN that MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE, GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSE, AND PALITHA KOHONA had assured NAMBIAR that the LTTE members would be safe in surrendering to the SLA and treated like “normal prisoners of war” if they “hoist[ed] a white flag high.”
Days later Ban's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq sent a reporter an on the record statement that
“The Inner City Press story is inaccurate; there has been no complaint formally filed at the International Criminal Court.”
Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky to explain Haq's statement, but Nesirky refused, saying that Haq had sent it to another journalist, not Inner City Press. But it was an on the record response. Still, no answer, including from Nambiar.
On March 11, for the first time in weeks Haq and not Nesirky took questions at the UN's noon briefing. Alongside questions about the vetting of Ban's envoy to Libya and UN actions in Sudan, Inner City Press asked Haq to explain his statement.
After attempting the evade the question by calling it "all of your personal things" and saying it could be addressed outside of the briefing room -- Inner City Press has asked outside of the briefing, without answer -- Haq now argued that he had been asked if the ICC complaint named -- that is, was against -- Nambiar.
But Haq's statement in his e-mail, which Inner City Press published on February 23 and is reproduced in full below, did not refer to whether Nambiar was the named target, which he couldn't be as a citizen of India, which is not a member of the ICC. (Kohona is named because he is a joint citizen of Australia, which IS an ICC member.)
UN's Haq in briefing room, belated e-mail spin not shown
Rather, Haq's statement called inaccurate “the Inner City Press story,” which quoted directly from the ICC filing, as set forth above. The story was not inaccurate.
It appears, including to the journalist who received the e-mail from Haq, that the goal was to convince other media to ignore any link between Nambiar and the ICC complaint, and the underlying killing including “white flag murders” in Sri Lanka.
Even many of those closest to Ban Ki-moon have questioned why Ban sent to Sri Lanka former Indian ambassador Nambiar, given India's interest in Sri Lanka especially after the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, and with Nambiar's brother Satish writing publicly in praise of the Rajapaksas military campaign in Northern Sri Lanka which has given rise to the war crimes charges.
One Ban insider says, “It's not really Nambiar's fault, Ban should just never have made him the envoy to Sri Lanka.”
But the mistakenly-given role of Nambiar for the UN in Sri Lanka has so distorted the Ban administration's and the UN's response to the events in Sri Lanka that the spokespeople act as described above, and won't even answer with whom Ban's Panel on Sri Lanka met. It is a low point in Ban Ki-moon's tenure as UN Secretary General.
From the UN's transcription of its March 11 noon briefing:
Inner City Press: there was a filing with the International Criminal Court (ICC), admittedly not by a Government but by a private group, naming the Sri Lankan Ambassador here, but also having two paragraphs concerning the Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General, Vijay Nambiar. And I, it has come to my attention that you wrote to a journalist saying that this is inaccurate; that there is no complaint filed with the ICC. And I wanted to know what the basis of that statement was, since they claim it was filed and they have proof of filing?
Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Again, you know, this briefing is not for me to discuss all of your personal things. We can always discuss this outside. The basic point is a reporter — and I don’t know what his exchange with you was, but his exchange with me was whether a complaint had been filed naming Mr. Nambiar. That is not the case.
But here is what Haq sent out:
From: Farhan Haq [at] un.org
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 7:16 PM
Re: Question about Nambiar, ICC and Burma envoy role
Yes, he is still the acting Special Adviser on Myanmar.
The Inner City Press story is inaccurate; there has been no complaint formally filed at the International Criminal Court. Please ask the ICC for anything more on that.
As for a full-time Special Adviser, Ban Ki-moon has been considering that idea; there is nothing to announce for now.