Kofi Dodging Rahman Issue
This, from a man who makes statements virtually endlessly on virtually everything. On Friday alone, the transcript of the UN press briefing indicated that he made statements concerning:
- His efforts to mediate a maritime territorial dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
- The need for the Georgian and Abkhaz sides to work for peace and the return of refugees.
- The need for international support for the Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis.
- The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing UN Staff Members, speaking to raise global awareness of the risks faced by UN, NGO personnel, and members of the press.
His spokesperson was called to task by a bold and unidentified reporter at yesterday's press briefing:
Question: Yesterday, I asked you about Abdul Rahman and you pointed to the Covenant of Human Rights and you said that Tom Koenigs had made a statement. And I’m glad that he did on behalf of the United Nations. However, after I asked you that, a number of prominent Muslim clerics in Afghanistan made calls for this man, who had converted from Islam to Christianity, to be executed.Left unanswered is why. Koenig may speak for Annan, but why doesn't Annan speak for himself? What's he afraid of? Why won't he speak on behalf of this Christian whose life may be snuffed by Afghanistan's Islamopukebuckets?
I want to ask you this. Annan -- Mr. Secretary-General -- made two statements on the cartoon issue. He also went to Qatar and he made a statement about -- he also found -- helped to found the Alliance on Civilizations, which is supposed to bridge the problems encountered by Western and Islamic societies. And I don’t understand why he can’t make a statement now, because nobody knows who Tom Koenigs is. I appreciate that he did make that statement, but to put that in an article is a bit of a –-
Spokesman: I think Mr. Koenigs speaks -– is the Secretary-General’s Representative in Afghanistan. He speaks for him in Afghanistan. The Secretary-General, as a UN official, firmly believes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is exactly that -- universal -- and applies to all, and specifically to this gentleman in Afghanistan, who should be free to choose his belief and change his beliefs, as he so wishes.
Question: But I don’t understand why the Secretary-General cannot say that himself. You know, this is what this whole building was founded on, and I’m just trying to understand that.
Spokesman: OK. I’m saying to you, when Mr. Koenigs speaks, he speaks as the Secretary-General’s Representative. This is currently a local issue in Afghanistan, and when Mr. Koenig speaks, he speaks as the Representative of the Secretary-General. So, it’s as if the Secretary-General had spoken.
Question: But if this happens, then it sets a precedent. This is the whole point. This is the reason why the Secretary-General’s statement is so important on this.
Spokesman: As I said, the Secretary-General is, would want the international Declaration of Human Rights to be respected by all, and he fully backs, of course, what Mr. Koenigs says, and it’s as if he had said it for the Afghan situation.
Tags: Annan, UN, Afghanistan, Rahman, Christianity, Islam