On Myanmar, ICP Asked UK Of UNSC Resolution, Allen Says PRST Agreed, Text Here, Adopted
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 6 –  Amid the killing and displacement of Rohingya from and in Myanmar's Rakhine State, Inner City Press on October 30 asked Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, the UN Security Council's penholder on Myanmar, about the then-draft resolution. Now on November 6 Rycroft's deputy Jonathan Allen has confirmed that there will be no resolution, only a non-binding Presidential Statement to be read-out on the afternoon of November 6. Periscope video here


Inner City Press also asked Allen about the blockade of Yemen by the UK-supported Saudi-led coalition, into which Allen says inquiries are being made. From the UK's October 30 transcript: Inner City Press: On Myanmar [Burma], what’s the progress on the resolution? When do you think you might put it to a vote? Amb Rycroft: "We’re making good, careful progress with our Council colleagues on that. We want to keep everyone together if we possibly can. This is a difficult issue for many of us. We are determined, though, to step up, and we see the atrocious situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine state, and for those who have fled into Bangladesh... we now need to work carefully to get that into a resolution if there is the appetite for that." When Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, took questions on October 26, Inner City Press asked her about the government not approving a replacement for UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien, who is now leaving at the end of October. Ms. Lee confirmed that the government has rejected a UN Assistant Secretary General being sent, not wanting that special attention. Later on October 26, speaking of UN Security Council proposals on Myanmar at a quiet film event hosted by one of the too-quiet proponents, Yanghee Lee was quoted going beyond what she said in the UN: "#UN Special Rapporteur on #Myanmar: #SecurityCouncil needs to adopt strong #Burma resolution- appeals to #China #Japan& #Russia not to block." Well, on November 2 Rycroft confirmed what Inner City Press had heard: the draft resolution is quietly being down-shifted to a mere Presidential Statement, non binding. On November 2, before heading out of New York City for the so-called Finnish Workshop with the six incoming Council members, Rycroft said: "At the moment, it’s still a draft resolution. It could turn into a PRST if that’s the way to keep the Security Council together, and if we were to do that, it would be in order to keep the Security Council together. There would be benefit in having a single, united message quickly to the authorities in Myanmar, and if the way to do that is to turn what is a strong, balanced text into a PRST then we will do that." As to Russia, its foreign ministry spokesperson  Maria Zakharova said, "we are ready for a constructive discussion of further steps of the UNSC on this issue." And given China's recent absention on extending the mandate of the Syria chemical weapons JIM investigative mechanism while Russia vetoed and Bolivia voted no, many are left wondering about... Japan, as referenced by Yanghee Lee. While some might mechanically cite rifts between Japan and Yanghee Lee's South Korea (see for example Japan opposing registration at UNESCO of "comfort women" documentation, Inner City Press story here), there's more to be said about Japan, Myanmar and the Rohingya. Watch this site. In the UN Press Briefing Room, Yangee Lee on October 26 told Inner City Press that a person already in the country could be interim Resident Coordinator and that while a new UN Special Adviser might be necessary, it would be important who that person is. Some might ask, why not her? Two hours later on October 26 Inner City Press aske UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Myanmar and the UN's presence there, the Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, in a press conference this morning, you know, acknowledged that the UN had asked for an Assistant Secretary-General to replace Ms. [Renata] Lok-Dessallien and had been rejected by the Government.  She's… would be in a position to know.  So, I take… given that, can you say, one, why hasn't… why… you know, can… will you confirm it as a Secretariat representative? And where does it stand… given that we're now 26 October and the… the Resident Coordinator is leaving by the end of the month, where does it stand in terms of having a replacement? What did Mr. [Jeffrey] Feltman leave the country… what was his understanding in terms of who would be running the country team in less than a week? Deputy Spokesman:  I do expect, in the coming days, we'll be able to have an announcement about who will be the Officer-in-Charge of our operations in Myanmar.  We're not at that stage yet, but, like I said, I do expect to have an announcement shortly, and we'll have the details at this point. Inner City Press: Given that she's now said that an ASG [Assistant Secretary-General] was proposed… I'd asked you about Mr. Magdy of… of UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], whether he was the one, but it seems like… do you have a problem confirming that?  She's also a UN system official or Special Rapporteur.  Is she wrong? Deputy Spokesman:  I'm not going to dispute the words of the Special Rapporteur.  We don't go into the discussions that we're having on various positions.  Once we have an announcement to make, like I said, we'll make it.  We're not at that point just yet. Yanghee Lee directed Inner City Press to the Flickr photographs on her mandate's website; they are here, including the toddler she described in her closing statement to the Third Committee on October 25. This is one side of the UN on human rights; here is another: the UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on Friday afternoon at 5 pm. The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.