UN Police Guard Liberia Ministry, Can't Use Toilet
There, Loj on Base
October 20 -- From Liberia, Inner City Press received
troubling whistleblower reports earlier this week and sought
confirmation, on matter ranging from the deaths of UN peacekeepers
and the facilities they are provided, to the unique lodging
arrangement of the UN's Special Representative in Monrovia.
a series of
UNMIL spokespeople, Inner City Press asked:
or deny, and comment: A member of India’s all-female police
unit deployed by UNMIL has been seriously hurt in a traffic accident
on or about 17 Oct, in Monrovia.
or deny, and comment: Ms. Sheena, a constable, is battling
multiple fractures of limbs and head injuries at a local hospital.
or deny, and comment: the injured constable, a member of the
team guarding the Liberian President’s office round the clock, was
crossing the road past midnight looking for bush cover to relieve
herself due to lack of adequate toilet facilities at the deployment
site for the female police team.
or deny, and comment: female peacekeepers have to rely on
bush cover at night to answer nature’s call;
or deny, and comment: So far three Indian peacekeepers have
died while on UN peacekeeping duty in Liberia since their deployment
four years ago;
or deny, and comment: two of them in traffic accidents and
one due to lack of proper and timely medical attention for illness.
or deny, and comment: the SRSG in Liberia living in a
UN-furnished, UN maintained apartment lavishly decorated at the
expense of the United Nations.
or deny, and comment: the free, UN maintained accommodation
is part of her contract.
or deny, and comment: the rest of the staff in the UN Mission
in Liberia, including 2 Deputy SRSGS and the entire staff stay in
rented houses paying between US $1,000 and 3,000 every month.
sent these questions to UNMIL spokesperson Yasmina Bouziane then to
Michael Sahr, Margaret Odoch-Jato and Zayzay Kolubah, finally
receiving responses from Ms. Bouziane, 24 hours after the stated
Press questions re UNMIL, on deadline from resident correspondent
at UN HQ
From: Yasmina Bouziane
Date: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at
To: Matthew Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
Nesirky, Farhan Haq, Nick Birnback, Susan Manuel, George Somerwill,
Anayansi Lopez, Josephine Guerrero, Ben Malor, Michel Bonnardeaux
below responses to the queries you raised on behalf of Inner
traffic incident on the 17th of October involving an UNMIL Female
FPU in Monrovia, the investigation is still on-going to determine the
exact circumstances of the incident.
UNMIL FPU member is in stable condition after being treated at the UN
Level 3 Jordanian medical hospital, for a minor head injury and a
broken arm and leg. Last Sunday 17th October, the President of
Liberia, accompanied by the UNMIL SRSG, paid a visit to the patient
at the hospital. The President and the SRSG expressed their support
and appreciation for the commitment of all UNMIL FPU staff in
carrying out the duties mandated to them.
indeed saddened to have lost 3 Indian FPU staff since the
beginning of the mission; two (one man and one woman FPU member) died
in the course of performing their duties and one woman succumbed to
illness with complications caused by malaria and typhoid; the Police
Contributing Country expressed satisfaction at the level of care that
was given to the FPU staff at the time.
query regarding lavatory facilities for the FPU guard post
located outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building: Existing
arrangements are in place for access to the near-by UNMIL
Headquarters Annex building, which is a 2 minute walk from the guard
Loj & female peacekeepers at UNMIL, toilet and apartment not shown
your queries about accommodations:
SRSG lives in a simple furnished apartment within the UNMIL
headquarters. The SRSG pays for the accommodation herself, according
to the UN rules and regulations that govern all staff members who are
provided with UN accommodation.
acceptance to stay within the headquarter premises saves the
mission resources it would have otherwise used to provide security
arrangements, if she had taken up an outside residence.
all other UN staff members, they are responsible for obtaining
their own accommodation which must have a UN mandated minimum level
of security, known as MORSS compliance. The costs of the
accommodations are borne by the staff members and it is up to the
discretion of an individual staff member how much he or she wishes to
spend on living space within the local price range available.
to the accommodations questions -- it is amazing that the UN would
send its peacekeepers to guard a Liberian ministry without making
provision for them to use the toilet there, and that the President of
Liberia would accept this, even after her visit -- it remains to be
seen how much Ellen Margrethe Loj pays for this on-base housing.
executives like in four contiguous trailers in what's called
“Guantanamo Bay,” surrounded by barbed wire. Liberia is described
as much safer -- except, it seems, for Indian peacekeepers. To be
continued, watch this site.
* * *
in Darfur, Of UN's Curfew & Low Morale, Gambari VIP Culture
8 -- Even as spruced up Thursday for the visit of the
UN Security Council, there was a feeling of fear and boredom and low
morale at the joint African Union - UN Mission in Darfur. After the
Council's delegation was met by
protests at the gate of the El Fasher
airport, its convoy rushed into UNAMID's compound, surrounded by
concertina wire and earthen barriers against suicide car or truck
and even before
the Council's first meeting, limiting the program and visits was the
topic, even though Internally Displaced People in a nearby IDP camp
had been quoted as waiting to be visited by the Council.
compound, when Inner City Press sought to leave the air conditioned
space into which the media were shepherded, a UNAMID minder said “You
are really not supposed to be wandering around. [Wherever you go]
I'll go with you.”
the path to
the restrooms, men lounged on the sidewalk, and offered greetings to
Inner City Press. Later, without the UNAMID minder, Inner City Press
was approached by and spoke with a range of people inside UNAMID's so
called Super Camp, which military contractor Lockheed Martin was
given a sole source contract to build, unsuccessfully.
described a curfew imposed on them: none of the required four wheel
drive vehicles can be used after 7 pm, and no two wheel drive
vehicles or walking outside the camp after 10 pm.
job would seem to require leaving the Super Camp told Inner City
Press they rarely if ever leave. Their highlight seems to be going on
these staff are given five days vacation and two travel days, seven
consecutive working days in total. Those interviewed said they
largely go to Europe, only to return against to what one called an
unhealthy house arrest.
there a gym
or work out facility? There is, was the response, but it is not a
good one and is poisoned by what is called UNAMID's “VIP culture.”
It was noted that UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari
flies about in a Lear Jet, unlike his counterpart in South Sudan.
UNAMID 4x4, curfew, low morale &
Gambari's Lear Jet not shown, (c) MRLee
to spread to the Security Council's dinner Thursday night. While
initially two tables for journalists had been set up in their room,
before it began the tables were moved outside. Even though two UNAMID
staff later asked the Press if offense had been taken, the VIP
Thursday, when the UN plane from Juba was found to have one too many
people aboard, a Sudanese
journalist who had been permitted for the
flight and to report from Darfur was ordered by UN Security to get
off the plane or be “forcibly” removed.
was thrown to the floor, the three other Sudanese journalists left
with him in solidarity. Still the Council has had nothing to say
about what's viewed as disparate treatment or even, to some,
accomplished by the Super Camp bound UNAMID? Inner City Press had
wanted to ask UNAMID chief Gambari about detailed reports it has
received about UNAMID peacekeepers refusing to leave their bases to
protect civilians, saying they must await “permission.”
published an internal UNAMID document to this
effect, show inaction after the murder of at least 47 people in the
1800hrs on 02 Sep 2010, UNAMID Police Advisors received
unconfirmed information from locals in Tawilla IDP camp that
unidentified armed men attacked Tabarat Market near Maral village
about 28kms southwest of Tawilla, where about 30 people were killed
and more than 70 others were injured.
was received by the PF Force Commander Major Aimable
Rukondo from relatives of victims in Tawilla IDP camp. At about
2030hrs, people from the Tawilla IDP camp gathered near the gate of
Tawilla UNAMID Base requesting for assistance to evacuate their
relatives who were in Tabarat market. The PF Commander together with
the Acting Team Site Commander advised the relatives that prior
approval from El Fasher Headquarters is needed before proceeding to
the place and with that they were advised to be back to Tawilla Base
tomorrow morning for possible medical evacuation movement to Tabarat
market once it has been approved by the higher Headquarters.”
has yet to
explain this document. But on Thursday night, Gambari approached
Inner City Press, not about this but another exclusive
leaked documents: Gambari's drafts to Sudanese foreign minister Ali
Karti, showing Gambari on the verge of turning over five supporters
of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the regime of Omar al Bashir, already
indicted for genocide and war crimes. These documents have led Abdel Wahid
Nur to say that if the turn over occurs, UNAMID will have become
complicit in genocide.
outburst -- first reported
here -- Inner City Press was told that
there had been a “security incident” regarding which no further
description would be provided to Inner City Press, since “you'll
probably get the scoop.” A UNAMID staff member was kidnapped. In a
guest house surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled -- virtual house
arrest -- Inner City Press sat down under an overhead Pak Fan and set
about transcribing Gambari's remarks. Watch this site.