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Cover Up of Darfur Rapes Simplified by Reuters, UN Airbrushed Out

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 21, more here -- Who covered up the mass rape in Tabit in Darfur last November? As Inner City Press has reported in detail, Sudan was not alone. The UNAMID mission under Herve Ladsous accessed Tabit and issued a November 9, 2014 press release saying no evidence of rape, and that the residents got along well with Sudanese security forces.

  The UN has not retracted that cover-up press release; UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has repeated refused to answer Press questions about it.

  But a pliant Western wire, breathlessly passing through information, makes the situation into a cartoon. Khartoum, it reports, has blocked P3 Ambassadors Peter Wilson, Alex Lamek and David Pressman. There is no mention of the African Union process or of the election; worse, there is no mention of UN Peacekeeping's role in the cover up. This is, at best, incomplete coverage - there is a pattern of omitting (or even censoring) things.

 Many civil society groups active on Darfur issues submitted a petition to the UN and Security Council about the cover up by UNAMID and Ladsous - here - but the pliant wire did not report on it. This is a pattern on which we'll have more.

  Back in December the UN said it would fight to keep its Resident Coordinator Ali Al Za'tari in the country.

  That was the UN's response to Za'tari being ordered to leave Sudan by January 2, Inner City Press first reported. Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported, and asked the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about, Sudan's ouster of UNDP Country Director Yvonne Heller on December 24.

  But did the UN follow through on its vow to push-back? No, the UN remained quiet when it ended up replacing Za'atari, as Inner City Press noticed and asked about on March 31, video here, transcript below

Inner City Press: I wanted to go back to Sudan, because remember there was that standoff about the Resident Coordinator Ali Za’atari, who has said that the UN is standing behind him and he won’t be PNG’d, and I saw an announcement that on March 21st, a new Resident Humanitarian Coordinator began work in Khartoum, Mr. Mustafa Bin Al Malih.  And so what happened?  And why didn’t the UN announce that they removed Mr. Za’atari as Resident Coordinator?

Deputy Spokesman:  We pressed for them to continue with Mr. Ali Za’atari and they continued with their objections.  Ultimately we do need to have somebody on the ground to do the work, although we do not accept that our impartial, neutral experts did not get permission to be on the ground to do their work.

Inner City Press: And has Yvonne Helle also been replaced as the representative of UNDP in the country?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe Ms. Helle left some time ago.  She was already out of the country when they took the decision so I believe there’s a process in place to make sure that the work is done.

 Back on December 25 after another inquiry by Inner City Press to Dujarric and UNDP, Dujarric sent this:

From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 1:31 PM
Subject: Re: Press request on Sudan PNG-ing Yvonne Helle (asked Dec 24) & now Dec 25 Ali Al-Za'tari
To: Matthew Lee [at]
Cc: UNDP, funca [at]

Matthew, The UN has filed a protest with the government of Sudan following their decision to request the departure of two senior UN officials from the country.

  So the UN filed a protest. But what about the UNFPA case in April, and aother one, in Darfur, which Inner City Press exclusively reported on in December?

On March 31, Inner City Press also asked on Myanmar:

Inner City Press: I heard your statement on behalf of or by Mr. Nambiar praising the country.  I just wanted to know:  has he or anyone else in the UN system have anything to say about the filing of criminal charges against the students who protested the national education law?  A number of… even some countries have [inaudible] this standoff in March where the peaceful demonstrators have been arrested.  Now the charges have been filed, they haven’t been released.  Is there any follow-up by the UN on that?

Deputy Spokesman:  We’ll check with Mr. Nambiar what he has to say on that.

  Six hours later and counting, nothing.

  On Sudan back on December 24, Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported and then asked the UN Spokesman about UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle being ordered out of Sudan, citing her and Al-Za'tari's e-mails. Video here.

  A full day after that, Reuters reported on Helle's ouster -- typically, for Reuters, with no credit to the Press' prior exclusive story. (Reuters' UN bureau chief has said he has a policy of not crediting Inner City Press' exclusive, and has gone to far as to censor, Sudan-style, his "for the record" anti-Press complains to the UN, click here for that, via EFF's

   On December 24, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Sudan having just similarly "PNG-ed" or declared persona non-grata the Sudan Country Director of the UN Development Program Yvonne Helle, with Za'tari barely pushing back against the government.

  Dujarric said that host countries' ordered to PNG a UN staff member are treated seriously and should be sent to, and considered and acted on by, Ban's Secretariat in New York. But Dujarric in the 18 hours after Inner City Press asked about Helle has not returned with any information or answer.

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