GENEVA (Sputnik) — The Association of Correspondents Accredited to the United Nations (ACANU) has informed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a letter obtained by Sputnik that a secret September UN press conference on chemical attacks in Syria was closed to a great number of UN press corps members in what looks like a "case of serious discrimination."
"I would like to bring to your attention a case of serious discrimination against the vast majority of accredited correspondents at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG)… The choice of media, two from the US, one from the UK, one from UK/Canada, one from France and one from Spain – shut out all the other UN correspondents. Especially striking was that no correspondent from an Arab country had access to this briefing on Syria," ACANU President Jan Dirk Herbermann wrote.
According to Herbermann, the correspondents who were at the meeting received an advantage over those absent, since they had more time to prepare their articles on a complicated issue.
"The secret briefing is totally unacceptable and very poor judgement. This selective approach goes against core UN values of human rights, equity and respect for all," the ACANU president said.
Sputnik has learned the briefing could be attended by journalists from Reuters, AFP, AP, EFE, BBC and the New York Times newspaper. A Reuters correspondent told Sputnik that the agency "might" have been present at the briefing. A journalist from EFE said she was not there personally, but her agency was at the meeting. A correspondent from AP confirmed presence at the briefing but could not say who else was there.
ACANU includes about 150 correspondents from the largest media outlets in the world.
UN-OPCW Report Blames Damascus for Idlib Chemical Attack, Moscow Strikes Back
According to the newly released UN-OPCW report, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is allegedly responsible for the use of sarin in Idlib, while Daesh terrorist group is responsible for the use of sulfur mustard in Umm Hawsh.
Following the report's release, the Russian Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Industry and Trade have presented their own report on chemical attacks in Syria, debunking all three main points in the document, which allegedly prove Damascus' involvement in the incident.
Most recently, Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari has rejected the allegations presented in the report and emphasized that the investigators had not visited Khan Sheikhoun and the Shairat airbase, which was allegedly used by Syrian troops to stage the chemical attack.