As Egyptians Push for Change, UN Ban Warns of “Political Instability”

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Source: Inner City Press – By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 — As in Egypt protests calling for Hosni Mubarak to leave continue, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Addis Ababa was quoted that Egyptians “have the right to express their visions, in demonstrations, but all these should not lead to social instability and political instability.”

Even in front of the empty UN in New York, hundred chanted “Mubarak must go.” The call is to end 30 years of rule under an emergency law allowing censorship, even if that was deemed politically stable. Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky, asked Friday by the press if Ban thought the emergency law should be eliminated, declined to answer the question directly.

Midday on January 30, Inner City Press queried Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq about the status of the UN system’s programs in Egypt, including a program which NGOs have criticized “as ineffective, complaining that it has BANned credible human [rights] lawyers from giving lectures to the police because of their political opposition to the NDP, and instead invites MOI officials complicit in torture to give human rights presentations.”

But five hours later, there were no answers nor acknowledgment of the questions about the UN in Egypt.

Even Ban’s quote against political instability hadn’t been distributed, perhaps understandably, to the UN press list by his Public Information and Spokesperson’s office, which in the interim had sent the Press anodyne “read outs” of Ban’s meetings with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — with no mention of Egypt.

UN’s Ban & Mubarak: united against “political instability” ?

With Kagame, Ban discussed only sexually based violence, and not counter reports of genocide and war crimes in Eastern Congo.

With Sarkozy, Ban did not bring up Tunisia nor Egypt, but rather Lebanon, Haiti and Cote d’Ivoire. The interest of the UN under Ban in democracy seems to some to be limited to one country, and not extend to Tunisia, much less Egypt (or Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria — or Myanmar).

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