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Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

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Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Nicky80 on Mon Apr 28 2014, 22:41

Wow now changes happens.....

Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role


(Reuters) - Academy Award winner George Clooney has stepped down as a U.N. "Messenger of Peace," the United Nations said on Monday, suggesting the newly engaged actor did not have enough time for the role promoting the world body's peacekeeping efforts.


"After six years in this role, Mr. Clooney feels it is time to retire his official role as Messenger of Peace," said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, wishing Clooney well on his engagement to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.


"The competing demands on their time from their professional and advocacy lives sometimes make it difficult for high-profile individuals to carry out a formal United Nationsrole," he said.


As a messenger of peace, Clooney traveled to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Dujarric said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hoped there would be future opportunities for collaboration between Clooney and the United Nations.


In 2010, Clooney helped found the Satellite Sentinel Project, which tracks human rights abuses and mass atrocities in Sudan. "Retiring from his U.N. role will afford him the independence to move forward with this and other personal advocacy projects and activities," Dujarric said.


When Clooney was named a U.N. Messenger of Peace in 2008, Ban cited his work on raising awareness about violence in Sudan's conflict-torn western Darfur region, where he advocated for aid for the millions of people displaced by fighting. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)


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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Luca on Mon Apr 28 2014, 22:48

Here to observe lol....

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Nicky80 on Mon Apr 28 2014, 22:51

To answer your question in the other thread...no idea why he stepped down. But I guess with Amal and he is getting older too and as it says in the article lot of travel is involved otherwise it makes no sense to have that role. That's my guess......

I'm sure he will do other kind of charities which suits him better  Very Happy 

He is just doing some changes...changes are always good for the better....let's see waht happen next

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:00

Wonder if he's freeing himself up so that he can have a mandate to be independent from them/criticise them/cajole them.........trying to think if it would clash with other stuff.

Or maybe he thinks he hasn't given them enough of his time........

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:03

This may give us some insight,,,

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The U.N. and George Clooney

The U.N. says it is looking into my statement, in Thursday’s column, that officials cut off security for George Clooney for fear that he would criticize genocide. For example, officials apparently are trying to find out which U.N. official called me to say that they were pulling Clooney’s security escort; evidently they’re not trying very hard, since no one asked me. So if the U.N. is investigating this disgraceful little episode — so emblematic of the international community’s general fecklessness toward genocide — let me help by giving a full account.
First, here’s the transcript of the Thursday press briefing by the U.N. spokeswoman, Michele Montas:


Question: And one more thing about Darfur. Apparently Goodwill Ambassador George Clooney was there recently and there are reports that his UN security detail was pulled back because of fear that he might say something about the ICC. And apparently he was left on his own without any UN security. Can you confirm that he was there and…?
Montas: Well, he was there, but we are still trying to ascertain the facts. What we know is that Mr. Clooney travelled to Chad in his own capacity, not in his role as a UN Messenger of Peace. And, MINURCAT itself does not have armed military police. It relies on Chadian police and EUFOR for armed escorts. So MINURCAT, the UN, could not provide the type of security details that you are talking about. It would EUFOR. EUFOR has been advised of the presence of Mr. Clooney and indicated that it would be prepared to provide Mr. Clooney with emergency support, if required, within the area of its operations. So this is what I got from DPKO this morning.
And I also got from WFP that they were contacted in January by the “Not On Our Watch” Foundation, which has acted as a donor to WFP’s flight service in Sudan. They requested WFP to assist with their planned trip to eastern Chad. The Foundation brought with them George Clooney and journalists. WFP has provided flights to eastern Chad and at times, other logistical assistance needed to visit WFP project sites. The Foundation team is also in contact with other NGOs and has travel plans with them.
So this all I have in terms of information. First, the security aspect of it and the logistical aspect. They got support from WFP; they were on a WFP plane that took them there. And they got facilities from WFP. But in terms of the security matter, we are still trying to ascertain what was said and whether there was a problem for EUFOR in providing security. As far as I understand from the answer I got this morning, EUFOR would provide security in case it was needed.
Question: Well, but as a Goodwill Ambassador of the UN, shouldn’t the UN provide security?
Montas: But he was not there as a Goodwill Ambassador. When he travels as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN ‑- of course, then it does not depend on MINURCAT, since MINURCAT does not have the manpower, does not have the military police ‑- he will travel with other UN security. But in this case, it was not the case.
Question: Well, it seems kind of suspicious, because apparently it was done for reasons related to the ICC. This is kind of an issue that…
Montas: I am not aware of that. I am not aware that there was anything of that sort.
Question: To follow up on that because, I mean, I understand you are trying to get to the bottom of it, but the Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes “The UN called me on Wednesday to say that effective immediately it was pulling Mr. Clooney’s security escort.” So he is definitely reporting that he had a security escort and that the UN called…
Spokesperson: That’s what I said; I am trying to ascertain the facts. I don’t know who called Nick. I don’t know who in the UN called or what security he had before, but all I can ascertain is that they were not MINURCAT security. That’s all I could ascertain this morning. I will try to find out what security he had and what UN official called Nick Kristof. I don’t know.


So here’s what happened. Ann Curry of NBC, who has been truly heroic in her work on Darfur, and I were talking about a trip to Africa together. With the ICC indictment of President Bashir coming up, we decided that Chad was the place to go, and at about the same time George Clooney was thinking about a follow-up trip there. Ann and I thought that Clooney’s presence would be good for our reporting, as one more device to get people to pay attention. So we decided to all go together. There were constant last-minute hang-ups, and I didn’t think the trip was actually going to come together. The U.N. was worried about how President Bashir would react to getting an arrest warrant, and concerned that he would launch his proxy force of Chadian rebels to invade Chad. There was talk of evacuating non-essential U.N. staff from eastern Chad, and at one point the U.N. asked us to delay the trip. In the end, we were able to go, but the UN folks said that they couldn’t handle the larger NBC contingent, and so Ann and her team had to charter a flight within Chad (which was odd — the UN planes had empty seats, and it was the first time I’ve ever heard of the U.N. refusing to offer seats on U.N. flights to journalists trying to get to a humanitarian story). But, anyway, eventually we all arrived in eastern Chad, near Darfur.
The World Food Program met us at the airport and gave us a briefing in which they gave us a schedule for the week. We had been told that we would have to provide our own vehicles, so we had rented some, but once there WFP said it could provide us vehicles — and in a place like eastern Chad, that’s preferable because UN vehicles are safer and more reliable.
The WFP was very accommodating and also gave us rooms in a guest house (we paid). Because of car-jackings and banditry (one every three days last year in Chad), the UN requires that its vehicles in eastern Chad have an escort, either from the DIS security forces or from the MINURCAT UN military forces. So on Tuesday, MINURCAT gave us a security briefing and DIS gave us a couple of escort vehicles when we went out to a town called Koubikou. It’s preposterous for the U.N. to say that they don’t know what kind of security escort was pulled, because any UN vehicle leaving town requires an escort, typically from DIS or MINURCAT or EUFOR.
Then abruptly on Wednesday, I got an urgent phone call from Rima Salah of Jordan, the deputy representative of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the region. Rima seemed flustered and told me that it was crucial that everybody know that George Clooney was speaking only for himself, and not in his role as UN goodwill ambassador. She wanted to be sure that I attributed anything he said to him privately, and it seemed pretty clear to me that she was worried that Clooney would blast President Bashir for genocide, and then Bashir would blame the U.N. I said: of course. It would never have occurred to me to identify Clooney in his U.N. role, since that was not the reason for his trip, and since he is frankly more famous for other roles.
Then within an hour, the WFP told us that it had been instructed that it could not provide us vehicles, because the U.N. was pulling our security. Since the U.N. vehicles can’t go anywhere without security, that meant that we couldn’t get outside of the town of Goz Beida. The WFP was very apologetic but made clear that the decision had been reached at a high level. That left us without any vehicles, since we had cancelled the other private cars we had booked. Shortly afterward, I spoke again to Rima and to a couple of other UN officials and asked them what was happening. The conversations were not particularly pleasant, but the upshot was that they said the decision was made in NY, and they were only implementing it. Apparently the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or perhaps the SG’s office had sudden fit of tremors about what Clooney might say about Bashir (I believe the culprit was DPKO). So in the middle of the afternoon, on no notice at all, we lost our escorts and use of UN vehicles.
The next day we had planned a trip out of town, so we climbed into NBC’s vehicles (rented from Oxfam) and headed east to Goz Amir, without escort on roads that the UN doesn’t allow its staff to take. And it’s untrue that we were told that EUFOR could provide security. DPKO seemed happier to risk killing its own goodwill ambassador than injury to the feelings of a man facing an ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity.
Look, we weren’t stopped by bandits, and I’m not pretending that Clooney was in mortal danger. This is my tenth trip to the area around Darfur, and I’ve never had a security escort before, even at times and places when the janjaweed were all over. The point is not to complain about the treatment of a Hollywood actor, for there are many millions of Darfuris who obviously need help more than he does. But what irks me is that the U.N. pulled the plug on Clooney’s security because it was afraid that he would criticize President Bashir for committing genocide. In fact, the most powerful tool the U.N. truly has is the bully pulpit, but it is often too craven to use that tool. And if the U.N. tries to muzzle its own goodwill ambassador, and won’t even try to protect him, then it’s not surprising that the international community hasn’t been able to muster the gumption to protect millions of Darfuris and displaced Chadians.
So come on, U.N. — find your voice and don’t be afraid of your shadow. SG Ban Ki-moon, you can set an example, as the great Dag Hammarskjold did. Use the bully pulpit, and don’t be afraid to speak forcefully about the great human rights issues of the day, including genocide. Only then will the U.N. live up to its potential.
UPDATE: I just saw the long comment from a former UN official in South Sudan and feel a bit guilty; maybe I was a bit harsh in this blog post. Let me make clear my admiration of the U.N. and its agencies. What I found irritating in this case was not only that the security was pulled mid-trip but that the post-facto explanation from New York was so disingenuous.


Last edited by Nicky80 on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:06; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added text)

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by playfuldeb on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:07

and . . .Or . . . Also , , ,Plus . . .Maybe . . .?

Perhaps it is in his interest to now support his fiance with her interests. Keeps the peace in the household

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:15

Ah, so reading between the lines of that article, it looks like being a UN Messenger means you can't speak your mind publicly about someone who's been wanted by the ICC for some years........

And Our Hero would rather be free to say what he thinks......makes me wonder even more if he's been in South Sudan lately - with or without Amal......

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by fava on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:18

It may be a graceful/diplomatic time to bow out if he disagrees with some of their policies or it if may conflict with work Amal has done/may do that is related to the UN.

I personally expected him to do more with the role when he was appointed, but maybe he just didn't have the time for it or preferred to put his effort into things like the Satellite Sentinel Project.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by fava on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:21

party animal - not! wrote:Ah, so reading between the lines of that article, it looks like being a UN Messenger means you can't speak your mind publicly about someone who's been wanted by the ICC for some years........

And Our Hero would rather be free to say what he thinks......makes me wonder even more if he's been in South Sudan lately - with or without Amal......

Can't believe he would take her there recently with all that has been going on. If he loves her (and I assume he does!) he has to value her safety more than that.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Apr 28 2014, 23:24

Yes, I thought that too, and it's probably not a great idea for him either, but I always remember someone from a hotel in Juba saying he was there far more than we'll ever know.....and she may be the sort of girl who says if you're going then so am I'.

Unlikely tho........

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Missa on Tue Apr 29 2014, 00:21

That Kristof article is five years old, so I'm not sure how much bearing it has on today's announcement. My guess would be that maybe his work with Sentinel conflicts with his duties at the UN. It's also possible that, with the devastation and horror he sees coming out of Sudan on the satellite every day, the more he wants to vent his frustration at the UN for not getting involved.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Atalante on Tue Apr 29 2014, 00:27

... and has he been used ? The conflict now is in this new state he has helped create ... !

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Apr 29 2014, 00:33

So agree, Missa.

It must be dreadful for him to watch what's happening at the mo and to feel powerless - much like many others. And he was always well aware of tribal differences, even at Independence saying it would be touch and go for a while. But his plans for organic coffee growing etc must seem a long way off at the mo



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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Missa on Tue Apr 29 2014, 00:36

In my opinion, Atalante?  The response to the situation in Sudan by the world in general, and the US and UN specifically, was insufficient.  There should have been much stronger consequences for Bashir, other than the issuing of an indictment that he'll never answer to, and much stronger support for South Sudan as it established itself.  It might have meant a military commitment, but with the ongoing slaughter, it would have been worth it.  I don't think any of it had to do with George.  He doesn't have the power to order airstrikes or put boots on the ground.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Mazy on Tue Apr 29 2014, 01:23

I think when you are a UN Messenger of Peace there are some things that they do not want you involved/campaigning for. They so have restrictions, which might restrict what he is planning next.

Possibly he really just needs a time out God bless you can only do so much.xxx

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by LizzyNY on Tue Apr 29 2014, 02:53

I think you may be right. The situation in South Sudan has deteriorated so badly that he might need to step back for a moment and focus on his personal life while he figures out what to do next. Maybe he'll focus more on SSP and Not On Our Watch.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Katiedot on Tue Apr 29 2014, 03:31

fava wrote:It may be a graceful/diplomatic time to bow out if he disagrees with some of their policies or it if may conflict with work Amal has done/may do that is related to the UN.

I personally expected him to do more with the role when he was appointed, but maybe he just didn't have the time for it or preferred to put his effort into things like the Satellite Sentinel Project.
I think there's a bunch of reasons why the role may not work for him (or the UN) anymore.

I've wondered for a while what a 'messenger of peace' actually does because it didn't seem to be any kind of onerous task for George. Perhaps he wanted something more meaningful than a poster child on a PR campaign for them?

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Apr 30 2014, 01:45

Of course he is still a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations (from 2010), (as is Amal's friend Jared Cohen, co-writer of the Eric Schmidt book, and policy planner for Hillary Clinton)

Interesting........

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Mazy on Wed Apr 30 2014, 02:09

I might kinda feeling negative right now but I'm a bit distirbed in the lack of action by the UN. The also have been holding back on the numbers when reporting on Darfui killed or displacedr We don't now it all but there mght also be other things that George was also upset about, we'll never know unless he tells us..

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Apr 30 2014, 02:23

Never doubt, Mazy. He will definitely let the world know......I'd bet that's what his departure is partly all about, but of course it's all couched in diplospeak at the UN.

It's gone awfully quiet, but let's hope there are more UN aidstations out there. I note Ryan Boyette's twitter is back up

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Katiedot on Wed Apr 30 2014, 04:28

I have to wonder at the timing of this. Right as he gets engaged he pulls out (or was he kicked out?) from this role. Coincidence?

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by bamboochacha on Wed Apr 30 2014, 04:32

huge conflict of interest I suppose.

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Re: Actor George Clooney withdraws from UN peacekeeping role

Post by Butterfly on Wed Apr 30 2014, 05:42

Katiedot wrote:I have to wonder at the timing of this.  Right as he gets engaged he pulls out (or was he kicked out?) from this role.  Coincidence?

Exactly. When I heard the news 2 days ago, on the same date the law firm confirmed the engagement - the first idea that came to my mind was - conflict of interest.

I think lawyers told him he must do it on the same date, as the engagement is official, in order not to conflict his assignment with the UN with professional duties of his fiancee. An Attorney at law (barrister) must adhere to the code of ethics especially regarding client-attorney privilege. Also, she must always think about the possibility of conflict of interest in every case and act appropriately.

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