UNITED NATIONS, March 5 – While UN Security Council members visiting Niger, 188th out of 188 on the UN Development Index, is certainly welcome, it is noteworthy has is not being addressed or even mentioned on this trip.
Beyond the omission, which some called shameful, of the plight of Anglophones in Cameroon -- the Internet has been turned off in their regions -- the common denominator of France's historical power relations with, say, Chad and Niger was omitted even from reporting from inside the Council's bubble.
It was complained to the Free UN Coalition for Access that the UN didn't even inform the News Agency of Nigeria that it could go on the trip (but did inform, for example, Voice of America). Might NAN have been more critical of aspects of the trip? How will this omission be addressed?
Inner City Press in the past was informed of such trips, and went on some, for example to Chad where then French Ambassador Jean Maurice Ripert dissembled about President Deby's non-appearance, then confronted Inner City Press about its reporting, in the airport in Kigali, Rwanda. Now, following a retaliatory eviction and continuing restriction at the UN by Department of Public Information chief Cristina Gallach and spokesman Stephane Dujarric for seeking to cover the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery case in the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29, 2016, Inner City Press is no longer informed or invited. DPI under Gallach churns out assemblages of canned quotes and tweets as "stories," as from within the bubble. We'll have more on this.
On a previous Security Council trip that included Sudan, Council members spoke to the Press about standing up to the Sudanese government about abuses. So what happened in Cameroon?
As Security Council members portrayed themselves meeting with Cameroon's Paul Biya, apparently without a word about the protests by and incarceration of Anglophones in the country, Inner City Press asked the UN about the problem, video here, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: yesterday, I'd asked you about this letter from the former Senate President of Nigeria. The press in Nigeria picked up on your answer and said that no letter has been received at all. So, you said you hadn't seen it. Does that just mean that you personally hadn't seen it, or have you checked to see whether the letter…?
Spokesman: We have not… I have the not received any confirmation that a letter has been received. I can't speak to whether or not a letter was sent since we were, apparently, if this letter exists, the recipients. As far as the recipients, as of today, nothing has been received.
Inner City Press: Since the Security Council is in Cameroon, I wanted to know whether DPA [the Department of Political Affairs] has taken any notice of this protest in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon? Many people have been arrested. Eight journalists have been detained in Cameroon. It seems like the Security Council's focus is entirely on the Boko Haram aspect, but is anyone in the UN system concerned and trying to get some answers?
Spokesman: We're obviously following it, and I'll see if I can get you something further.
Eight hours later, nothing. Nothing at all. The UN's reflexive evasion of Press question reverberated on the Council's next stop.
Nigeria's former Senate President Ameh Ebute wrote to the UN to urge sanctions against Cameroon and Chad. Inner City Press at the March 2 UN noon briefing asked the UN's holdover spokeman Stephane Dujarric to comment on Ebute's letter. Dujarric said he hadn't seen it.
Now The Guardian in Nigeria picks up on Dujarric's knee-jerk denial to Inner City Press: "Mr Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the letter... 'I have not seen the letter.'"
For eight billion U.S. dollars a year, you'd think they could at least read their mail. Watch this site.
During the Paris stopover, Council members met with France's replacement for Herve Ladsous atop UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Will Lacroix addressed the disparities in protection for European and African peacekeepers serving ostensibly together in the UN's Mali mission?
And in Cameroon, will the dispute between the French and English speaking communities, and harsh prison conditions for the latter, be noted by the Council? Watch this site.
The day after UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said while the UK supports Martin Kobler as long as he is UN envoy in Libya, if he's to be replaced it should be quickly given momentum, Inner City Press asked Dujarric to describe the UN process and timelines. No details were provided. Again, typical.
"UN Envoy Response to Southern Cameroons" as posted by Mark from the anglophone consortium.
That is diplomacy. Now, the battle lies with us. The ability to get UN fully involve depends on us. We know what to do therefore we must do it. For now, we must continue keeping schools, courts closed while observing designated ghost towns. Let other groups do what they do best. Intensify your text and calls home. We must get this week non-school resumption right. La Republique must not succeed.