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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

UN Blocks Access to Free Gaza Movement's Website, Jan. 15 Meeting in General Assembly Set

UNITED NATIONS, January 13 -- On UN computers, the website of the Free Gaza Movement is blocked. Inner City Press asked about the group's attempts to deliver aid to Gaza by ship at the UN's noon briefing on Tuesday. Video here, at Minute 29:44. Later in the day, alerted by a UN staff member that the web site had been blocked, Inner City Press typed it in: Within the UN, this results in a message from the "ICT Security Unit" that "you have been redirected to this page because the site you are attempting to access is blocked according to the policy as detailed in ST/SGB/2004/15.

Free Gaza Movement is at bottom of this site. It's here to stay!

This Secretary-General's Bulletin allows staff "limited personal use of ICT resources" unless these involve "pornography or engaging in gambling" or would "compromise the interests or the reputation of the Organization."

The Free Gaza Movement's mission statement is that

"We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise."

How does this "compromise the interests or reputation" of the UN?

UN's Ban, UNDP's Dervis, Google and technology: Free Gaza not shown

Asked why the UN would block this site, one wag quipped, so that UN staff don't go work for an organization that actually accomplishes something - the reference being to the "Banquished" Ban Ki-moon, not to some heroic UNRWA staff.

Footnote: At 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday Inner City Press learned that the UN General Assembly will hold its postponed special session on Gaza this Thursday at 10 am. During Tuesday morning's closed door consultations in the Security Council, France's Jean-Maurice Ripert said that the General Assembly should be careful to remain consistent with the Council. Why?

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