Emboldened By UN Silence on Jebel Marra and IOM Expulsions, US Susan
Rice Darfur Focus
August 13 -- With the UN belatedly speaking out about
blockade of Kalma Camp for all of this month, and of Jebel
Marra since February, some have concluded that silence from the UN
and also the US emboldened Sudanese authorities to starve perceived
opponent directly under the nose of a $1 billion peacekeeping
only did the UN
remain silent -- it even reportedly tried to stifle the voices of
those being starved. At the August
13 noon briefing at the UN in New
York, Inner City Press asked
Press: Regarding Sudan, following yesterday’s statement that
Ibrahim Gambari [the Joint African Union-United Nations Special
Representative for Darfur] did not threaten internally displaced
persons (IDPs), another report has surfaced there. The quote had him
saying that the IDP spokesman, Yagoub Fouri, says that Mr. Gambari
refused a letter the IDPs had written and wanted it delivered to
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
It also quotes a Sudanese newspaper,
Al-Sahafa, saying that Gambari said it’s really only a matter of
time until the six are turned over if conditions are met. Those are
two separate issues. I’m pretty sure Mr. Fouri did say this, about
the letter, but can you state whether Mr. Gambari was aware of a
letter that the IDPs in Kalma camp wanted it delivered to the
Secretary-General and whether any such letter was delivered to the
Nesirky: I’m not aware of that particular part of your
question...the specific point that you mentioned about the letter,
I’d have to find out — I don’t have anything on that.[The
Spokesperson later said that no such letter has been yet received by
13, after the media and nearly all others had left the UN in New
York, outgoing humanitarian coordinator John Holmes issued a press
release belatedly bemoaning the blockade of Kalma, exclusion from
Jebel Marra since February and that “two International Organization
for Migration (IOM) staff were also expelled on 17 July 2010.”
do we call
this belated? Back in July -- on July 16th, in fact -- Inner City
Press asked about these IOM expulsions, and the UN had nothing to
day. From the
July 16 transcript:
Press: In Sudan, there are these reports that the Government
made persona non grata, are throwing out, two representatives of the
International Organization for Migration. Does the UN have concerns
about the expulsion of these humanitarian workers?
Farhan Haq: We don’t have any comment about the
treatment of this. We are aware of the reports, and we’ll check up
on what was behind this decision and what the facts are on that. But
we don’t have anything to say on that just yet.
said by the UN until August 13, nearly a month later. What message
did that send to Omar al Bashir and other Sudanese authorities?
the US called for an emergency Security Council meeting on the
violence in Kalma Camp in early August, it never followed up with any
meeting once Sudan blockaded the camp. Now comes news that the US
Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration wants to become Ambassador to
Kenya, and thus might lose his Sudan portfolio.
says that Hillary Clinton agreed to Gration's plan to prioritize the
South Sudan referendum over Darfur. While claiming that Ambassador to
the UN Susan Rice disagreed, she herself denied any disagreement when
asked by Inner City Press, and she has not called, or had her deputy
ambassadors call, for any Council meeting since Kalma was blockaded.
UNAMID drives in circles, Susan Rice not shown
either the US nor UN is doing much as the prospects for the
referendum on independence in South Sudan continue to worsen. On
12, Inner City Press asked the UN about South Sudan, still
without any answers:
Press: In South Sudan, the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement] has said two things. They’ve said that there is a total
standoff in choosing the leader of the Referendum Commission, and if
this isn’t… they’ve basically said the UN should be involved. They’ve
also said that this movement of tribes into the Abyei
region is akin to ethnic cleansing. They’ve said, the spokesman
for the SPLM has said, “We are asking the UN to get involved”,
presumably on both of those issues. So, I’d asked you yesterday
about very fact-specific things on South Sudan, but what is UNMIS
[United Nations Mission in Sudan], are they aware of this request,
that they become involved in the Commission to make sure that there’s
not a deadlock, and what about the deaths of 23 people?
On the deaths, I do have some guidance, which I will be
able to provide you shortly. I don’t have it right now. I do know
that I have some guidance for you. That’s the first thing. [He
later added that UNMIS has informed his Office that, according to the
SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army), on 8 August, a vehicle
carrying their soldiers and some civilians was ambushed by armed
gunmen in Koch County, Unity State. As a result, 23 of them were
reportedly killed and some others wounded. UNMIS has been in touch
with the South Sudan authorities and wounded soldiers in order to
ascertain the fact and circumstances surrounding the incident. UNMIS
is assisting the South Sudanese authorities in further investigating
the incident. Overall, it should be stressed that UNMIS has been
engaging the Government of Southern Sudan in order to address
disputes by peaceful means.]
broader question that you’ve raised, I will find out. On the
question of the deaths that you mentioned yesterday and the
helicopter, I do have something. I don’t have it here. [He added
later, regarding the helicopter incident, that, as this is a
complaint regarding a violation of the ceasefire agreement, UNMIS has
initiated an investigation by the Ceasefire Joint Military
answers were added after the August 12 briefing, on August 13 even
when asked against about South Sudan and the referendum, Nesirky had
nothing to say. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Denies Threatening IDPs, Defends Ending Humanitarian
Reports, No Access to Jebel Marra
August 12 -- On Darfur, even when the UN belatedly provides
some answers about the ongoing starvation
of internally displaced
people by the Sudanese government, it simultaneously dissembles
what six IDPs say were threats by the UN to turn them over to the
Camp, the six IDPs said
Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari met them on Wednesday in
presence of a government delegation led by state minister for
humanitarian affairs Mutrif Sideeg... Gambari asked them to accept
the presence of joint patrols formed by the Sudanese government and
the hybrid peacekeeping mission. 'If you refuse to accept this deal I
will have no choice but to hand you over to the Sudanese
authorities,' Gambari told them.”
Martin Nesirky denied this account on Thursday, when Inner City Press
asked if Gambari had asked the IDPs to consent to searches of the
camp by Sudan government authorities, only then did Nesirky read out
a second part of his prepared guidance. Video here, from Minute
12:35. As subsequently provided to Inner City Press by the UN
your questions at today's Spokesperson's Noon Briefing regarding
Kalma camp in Darfur...
Representative Gambari (JSR) met with the internally
displaced persons (IDPs) in Kalma yesterday on a joint visit with
Government of Sudan officials with whom he has been holding
consultations on issues related to recent developments in Kalma.
Contrary to press reports, the JSR did not "threaten" the
IDPs. UNAMID will not hand over the six IDP leaders in question
without a reassurance that certain preconditions as to their rights
stressed the protection of civilian mandate of UNAMID and
emphasized the need for sustainable peace in Darfur for all its
populations. He highlighted that IDP camps are designed to provide
shelter for vulnerable populations. Criminality and proliferation of
weapons is not acceptable in Kalma and or any other IDP camp. He
reassured the IDPs that all issues related to the Kalma incident are
being discussed with a view to mutually-acceptable outcomes for all
“certain preconditions” under which the UN would turn over these
IDPs to the Sudanese government? Watch this site.
UN's Ban and Gambari, reports of threats to
IDPs (and Darfur Humanitarian Reports) not shown
answers came in from UNAMID's Officer-in-Charge of both the Media
Relations Unit and the Publications Unit, Christopher Cycmanick:
Press 1. I was told re Kalma Camp that international NGOs are
barred, but some local NGOs get in. What percentage of the
humanitarian work is impacted by the ban on INGOs?
to increased insecurity and tension within the Kalma Camp the
work of International NGO's and Humanitarian Agencies is not taking
place. The last batch of humanitarian assistance reached the camp
some 11 days ago. No proper estimate of impact on humanitarian
programs in Kalma can be given without gaining access.
Press 2. Are the same or other restrictions in place at the
are no such restrictions in Zalingei. Humanitarian
organizations maintain full access to the camp.
Press 3. What can you can about lack of humanitarian access to
eastern Jebel Marra?
to eastern Jebel Marra remains closed to humanitarians with
very few exceptions.
Press 4. What access do UNAMID peacekeepers have?
Peacekeepers do not have access to the Jebel Marra area
because of the prevailing security situation and restrictions/denial
of access from both Government of Sudan and rebel movements.
Press 5. Can you confirm reports of firing into Kalma Camp by
people in government vehicles, and if UNAMID responded, what did this
response consist of?
firing in Kalma camp was reported, but this firing was done
by some camp resident. There were no reports or evidence of firing by
“people in government vehicles”. UNAMID Police is conducting 24/7
patrols in the Camp to increase security.
Press 6. Less immediately pressing, on humanitarian, the UN used
to publish a "Darfur Humanitarian Profile" every quarter.
It seems that these documents ceased appearing (with no explanation
offered) after the Jan 1, 2009 report (reflecting conditions as of
October 2008). Why is the UN no longer organizing and promulgating
what data it has, as it used to do with the "Darfur Humanitarian
continues to be collected and disseminated on the
humanitarian situation in Darfur. The Darfur Humanitarian Profile was
produced with broad participation of humanitarian organizations
working in Darfur. The expulsion of 13 international NGOs from Sudan
in March 2009 and increased relocation of remaining NGO staff in
remote locations (largely as a result of insecurity) have critically
reduced humanitarian presence on the ground. As a consequence,
efforts to produce reliable data at the level of the DHP became
untenable. OCHA continues to seek ways to restore reliable data
collection in remote locations.
Press 7. Q: What data do the UN / UNAMID have on Global Acute
Malnutrition? Why isn't it being collated and released publicly?
Please provide your most recent data for the three Darfur states.
limited amount of malnutrition data for Darfur has been verified,
which will be available in the next 1-2 days. Remaining data is still
in the process of verification and will be released once verification
not even UN
peacekeepers have been able to access Jebal Marra. What about the
protection of civilians mandate?
has asked for the malnutrition data and the “certain preconditions”
under which UNAMID would turn over the six IDPs to the Sudanese
government, and has posed the following additional questions:
ever found out about how had taken the Russian helicopter pilot?
on the Security Council's call for DPKO / UNAMID to reach a
“full understanding of the facts” underlying the violence in