Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Darfur, As UNAMID Withholds Tabarat Report, Le Roy Says It's Public

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 15 -- Amid complaints that the UN - African Union Mission in Darfur does not investigate or publicly report the murder of civilians there, top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy on Wednesday told Inner City Press that the problem is Sudan's government granting access.

  Le Roy acknowledged continued lack of access to Jebel Marra. He claimed, however, that UNAMID reports on killings like at Kalma Camp and Tabarat, where UNAMID peacekeepers refused to go despite requests from the families of those being slaughtered in September. Le Roy said that the UN's reports, including on Tabra, are public.

  But UNAMID, which after Inner City Press' visit to Darfur in October has refused to answer e-mailed questions, has answered another request for its Tabarat report with the following:

"A report on the Tabarat incident was sent to UN Headquarters in the days following the event. This internal document is classified as UN Restricted, thus not for public dissemination. There are no plans, at UNAMID level, to release it.”

Inner City Press asked Le Roy why the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations would refuse to release its report on an incident like Tabarat. Le Roy did not answer, instead claiming that such reports are public. They are not. And this is a problem.

While Le Roy was genial, he also did not answer Inner City Press' request for an update on the plans of UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari, exposed by Inner City Press, to hand over to the government of Omar al Bashir five sheikhs in Kalma camp who support Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur.

Le Roy did not address what the US has announced as the postponement of any referendum for Abyei, nor the bombings of Southern Sudan by Khartoum's air force.

Le Roy & UN's Ban, who summoned Gambari re Tabra but now report withheld

On December 14, Inner City Press has asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: Scott Gration yesterday said that, apparently after this… after having conferred with both parties, that the Abyei referendum will not take place 9 January. And I am just wondering, I’ve asked you this before, what’s the UN, given its role in… under the… in the process, does it acknowledge the seemingly now conceded fact that the referendum in Abyei will not take place 9 January?

Spokesperson Nesirky: What we’ve said is that there is a commitment by all to adhere to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to the timetable that is implicit in that. Everybody recognizes the difficulties that there are with regard to particular part of the equation; and nobody is suggesting it is easy. Those who are involved in this from the United Nations side are obviously pushing to help to ensure that things remain on track. As I have said before, and I’ve just repeated just now, no one is suggesting this is easy. It is obvious that there are difficulties there, and I know that many players in this are trying to find a way that this can be tackled so that everything remains on track.

Inner City Press: Also on Sudan, there are these, at least 200 Sudanese refuges being deported by Israel. There’s a number of media outlets who are reporting this today, quoting an unnamed Israeli source confirming what others had said. There seems to be a UN involvement. The UNHCR is quoted as saying as being involved and an unnamed NGO. They are being deported through a third country and back to Sudan since having been in Israel would cause them problems in Sudan. But what I am wondering is, is it the UN system’s position that it’s safe for these people to return to Sudan, and what do they make of what some people are calling, you know, forced or refoulement of Sudanese refugees back to Sudan at this time?

Spokesperson: Well, I have seen the reports, I don’t have anything specific on that. Please do try UNHCR to see if they have anything direct to tell you.

Inner City Press: I guess, because of the Sudan… the DPKO and peacekeeping presence, whether they have a position on the safety of the return of these people.

Spokesperson: Well, Mr. Le Roy will be here tomorrow.

But when Inner City Press on December 15 put the question to Le Roy, first Nesirky cut in to refer the question against to UNHCR. Then Le Roy seemed to say that those returning to Sudan, even from Israel, will not face any harassment. We'll see.

Footnote: While allowing other media questions on two countries, Nesirky pointedly told Inner City Press, one question only. Therefore questions such as DPKO's seeming lack of planning before withdrawing from Birao in the Central African Republic, and other questions about the Cote d'Ivoire mission and about Somalia were not possible. Watch this site.

* * *

On Darfur, As UNAMID Covers Up Killings by Sudan, ICC Reports Them

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 9 -- After the UN refused to release what it knows about the killing of civilians at Tabarat and the destruction of Soro and other villages in Darfur in September, the International Criminal Court's report unveiled in the Security Council on December 9 names 13 other destroyed villages (with Soro transliterated as “Souroo”), and has witness quotes what it calls the government sponsored killing in Tabarat (which it calls Tabra).

After ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's presentation to the Security Council on Thursday, Inner City Press on camera asked both him and Sudan's Permanent Representative to the UN Dafallah Osman about the Tabra killings and the destruction of villages.

Sudan's Ambassador said that the killings were “tribal,” involving kidnapping and promises to pay blood money. He praised UNAMID and its leader Ibrahim Gambari (calling him a “seasoned diplomat”).

Inner City Press asked if he thought UNAMID should release what it knows about the Tabra killings. This, he did not answer, instead ranging from saying that Ocampo's report shows NGOs were engaged in “espionage” to claiming that Radio Dabanga was disseminating destabilizing and even “genocidal” information.

Ocampo had stood several yards away, unlike with the previous Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed, whom Ocampo stood right next to during their final stare down. When Ocampo came to the microphone, Inner City Press asked him if he thought UNAMID was in essence covering up Sudan's and Bashir's acts by not reporting on them.

Ocampo said that UNAMID is under threat, that's why it doesn't report. This means that UNAMID is not reporting, which is its job. What will Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council and Obama administration do?

ICC's LMO close to Sudan's last Ambassador, new backing away mirrored by UN- & US?

Earlier on Thursday, Mark Hanis of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition on a press conference call said Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden campaigned on (among other things) protecting civilians in Darfur, and named Samantha Power and Susan Rice as officials. Hanis called them “disappointing” so far. Inner City Press asked what UNAMID should do. Report, Hanis said. But UNAMID does not.

On both December 8 and 9, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about fighting and death in Darfur, including in Tabarat / Tabra:

Inner City Press: a request made to UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] for the report that they were supposed to do on the Tabarat killings of 2 September, near Tawilla, the one that the Secretary-General summoned Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari to speak about. Anyway, somebody that asked him was told that there is no report for external dissemination available on it, and I just wonder, what is the UN’s final finding? Did it do the right thing, in apparently not getting out to the site despite the warning by relatives of those killed? Are all such reports confidential, and in which case, how is the Security Council or the international community to assess the level of violence and killing in Darfur if these new reports never come out?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, that’s a very long question.

Question: This is the only time I’ll ask it, but if there is anything the UN can say about those killings, I’d like to know.

Spokesperson: Well, I hear your question, I think, and let’s look into what the Mission tells us.

More than a full day later, UNAMID has said nothing. When Inner City Press asked again about UNAMID on December 9, Nesirky claimed he had already answered questions, including about attacks the Sudanese government had just bragged about.

In assuming Presidency of the Security Council for December, Susan Rice told Inner City Press that UNAMID (and UNMIS) are required to investigate and report on attacks on civilians. Does that mean report to the public, as the ICC does? What will Susan Rice and the US Mission do?

The press had been told that Susan Rice would speak at the stakeout, where Ocampo and Sudan's Ambassador did. But she did not. A reporter given advance notice that she would not come was told that “one country” had blocked the elements to the press that she would have read. But she could have spoken, especially after what Sudan's Ambassador said, including denying things that the US Mission has previously said, about the Council's interlocutors being harassed and Radio Dabanga's Khartoum office being shut down.

Footnote: Inner City Press also asked Ocampo about Guinea -- he said he is watching “national proceedings” -- and Kenya, where witnesses are under threat. Ocampo answered by bragging that none of his witnesses have been injured. But how about retaliated against, given what Sudan's Ambassador said about the NGOs. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -