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


Follow us on TWITTER

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

At UN, Darfur and Kalma Camp Belatedly Discussed, No Rice, No Understanding? Elements to the Press Expected, Not on Relocation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- After weeks of starvation of the Kalma Camp in Darfur, the Security Council took up the matter for a second time on Monday morning. Weeks ago, Alain Le Roy of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was charged with coming to a “full understanding of the facts” of violence in the Kalma Camp.

But no understanding of any kind, much less a full one, has yet been announced. Nor, it seems, has either the UK or US sufficiently planned for an outcome of the Monday meeting. A non Permanent Five member's spokesperson, on the way into the meeting, said that informal polling showed a lack of support for even “elements to the press.”

US Permanent Representative Susan Rice was noticeably absent -- or AWOL -- while Sudan's new Permanent Representative worked the crowd. He promised to do a stakeout Q&A about not only the Kalma Camp, which South Darfur authorities now seek to close down and split in two, but also about “the new strategy.” This refers to Khartoum looking away from the so called Doha process, which neither the JEM nor Abdul Wahid faction rebels are taking part in.

For the briefing on Kalma Camp, outgoing humanitarian chief John Holmes and DPKO's deputy Atul Khare walked into the Council. DPKO's spokesman told Inner City Press that UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky had been given a written update on Kalma before the August 20 noon briefing. But Nesirky did not read out the update, apparently only willing to do so in response to a question.

Khare in the Council, Susan Rice, UN update and understanding not shown

With his announced regime of limiting questions, this becomes more problematic -- and emblematic, too, the UN Secretariat's seeming cover up of civilian suffering. Watch this space.

Update of 11:30 a.m. -- Not only Sudan's new Permanent Representative, but now the UN's Atul Khare as well, will be doing stake outs.

Update of 11:56 A.M. -- Inner City Press asked Sudan's Perm Rep six questions and will write them up later. Sources tell Inner City Press there WILL be an "elements to the press" after the meeting, calling for humanitarian access, supporting UNAMID. But nothing on the relocation of the Kalma camp.

* * *

In Darfur as Kalma Camp Faces Closure and IDP Sorting, UN Spokesman & DPKO Silent, OCHA in Sudan Concerned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- In South Darfur the Kalma Camp, which the Sudanese government blockaded and starved for two weeks with surprising little said by the UN, is now slated to be closed, officials said over the weekend.

  The remaining residents, estimated by the UN at 50,000, will be separated into two camps in Bileel. Some wonder from past practices if the governmental sorting will be along political or ethnic lines, presaging further blockages and attacks on internally displaced persons.

On August 20, Inner City Press asked the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations for its update on the Kalma Camp. DPKO said it had provided an update that day, and every recent day, to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky for his noon press briefing.

  But Nesirky has decided to only provide the Darfur information if he allows a question on the topic; later on August 20 he chided Inner City Press to not tell him about rules or asking questions. “It is my briefing,” he said.

  Contacted again on August 22, DPKO still did not provide the update it gave Nesirky on August 20, but said it would do so on August 23.

Thus Inner City Press reached out to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman in Sudan, Samuel Hendricks, who provided the following update:

Subject: Re: Press request re Kalma Camp
From: Samuel Hendricks at
To: Inner City Press
Date: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Mr. Lee,

Thanks for your message. Latest info on Kalma as follows... Estimate of current camp population thus remains around 50,000; location of many Kalma residents remains unconfirmed... Motorized water pumps are functioning; fuel shipment will be needed in coming days, NGO will seek permission to transport.

Food distribution in neighboring Bileil camp for Kalma IDPs still awaiting provision of list from camp leaders (sheikhs); distribution contingent on proof of Kalma residence (ie, ration cards).

Regarding the issue of closure/movement of Kalma camp: Local media has reported Gov't identifying new site for Kalma IDPs. Humanitarian Team (UN and NGOs) in South Darfur will meet to discuss issue of proposed new site, as there are various implications. The UN cannot support any movement of IDPs that is not voluntary or otherwise appropriate.

Kids in Darfur between two UN vehicles, "don't tell me about rules"

 Until such a time as a suitable location and facilities are established, and decision reached on movements in full consultation with IDP community of the camp, IDPs in Kalma camp should continue to have access to humanitarian assistance as required.

  But will this statement of UN principle be implemented by DPKO and envoy Ibrahim Gambari? The government is already claiming that the NGOs have approved the new sites, and the sorting process.

  IDPs continue to insist that Gambari threatened to turn six of them over to Sudanese authorities if they did not agree to government patrols of the camps. The UN denies this. We'll see. Watch this site.

* * *

As Sudan Expels UN Officials from Darfur for Rape Detection, UN Silent, Menkerios One Year & Out, Gration's Khartoum Jaunt

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 18 -- As in West Darfur UN officials are being expelled for distributing rape detection equipment and collecting signatures on an anti-hunger petition, the UN in New York insists on saying nothing, trying desperately to ingratiate itself to Sudanese authorities.

After a spokesman for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed the expulsion of its official for circulating the petition on hunger, Inner City Press asked the Spokesman for Ban Ki-moon about this, and the expulsion of other UN officials for conducting research into rape in Darfur. Video here, from Minute 17:41.

Nesirky insisted, contrary to the FAO confirmation, that the UN has “still received no official notification,” is still speaking with the government and “can't say any more.”

But doesn't this reflect a split of the UN Secretariat from from FAO, which confirms the expulsions? Nesirky pointed back at his own answer, that he “can't say anymore.” Can't or won't?

Ironically, Nesirky moderated an August 6 press conference by Margot Wallstrom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, at which Ms. Wallstrom said that Sudan would be a major focus of her offices since rape by “men in uniform” is widespread there. Video here.

How can the UN work on the issue of rape in Sudan it is lets its personnel be expelled for distributing rape detection equipment, and then refuses to defend them or even speak about the case?

UN's Ban and Wallstrom on rape, comment on Sudan expulsions not shown

Inner City Press also asked if the UN is facilitating or helping the visit to Sudan by US Envoy Scott Gration. While some said with this trip Gration would be addressing his perceived disinterested in Darfur, now this trip is reported to be mostly about the North - South conflict and the referendum.

So who in the UN would be facilitating his trip -- Haile Menkerios, the head of the UN Misssion in Sudan? Earlier this week, Inner City Press asked Nesirky's acting deputy Farhan Haq to confirm that Menkerios only went to Sudan begrudgingly, with a deal to come back to New York and his Department of Political Affairs job in at most one year.  Video here, near end.

  That is the informal understanding, Haq said. What does this say about the UN's commitment to protecting civilians in Sudan?

Another joke making that rounds is that while Sudan may throw out the UNAMID mission, it would allow UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to stay. Others say Gambari, despite all odds, may have his eye on the top post in his native Nigeria. We'll see.

* * *

In Darfur, UN Is Forced To Correct Its Fast Thanks to Sudan, Kalma Camp Problems, Expulsions and UN Silence Persist

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- The UN in Sudan is too slow to complain and too fast to celebrate. On August 16, after refusing to confirm to Inner City Press at the noon briefing that UN officials in West Darfur are being expelled, the UN Spokesperson's Office put out an unequivocal statement that “the Secretary-General appreciates the restoration today of humanitarian access to Kalma Camp.”

Inner City Press' sources in South Darfur told it that access had not, in fact, been restored. Even the UN had to acknowledge it, putting out a correction at 3:25 pm that “the Secretary-General appreciates the restoration today of some humanitarian access to Kalma Camp.”

Nearly immediately, Inner City Press wrote to the two top officials working in the Spokesperson's Office on Monday, asking

In light of the revision of today's statement on Darfur to include “some” in “restoration of some humanitarian access,” please describe as specifically as possible what types of humanitarian access have NOT yet been restored. On deadline. Thanks.”

Despite the statement “on deadline,” and the UN's own mistake, three hours later no response was provided. A report from Sudan quoted an OCHA spokesperson whose contact information is not online that “it was mostly an assessment mission.”

Another UN spokesman in Sudan confirmed on Monday what the UN in New York would not, that "The heads of the UNHCR (U.N. refugee agency) and FAO (Food and Agriculture) agencies in West Darfur as well as the head of UNHCR agency in Zalengei have been asked to leave.”

UN's Ban and Al Bashir, thanks for access to Kalma: correction not shown

At Monday's noon briefing in New York, according to the UN's own transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask a couple of questions about Sudan. One is: can you confirm the reports that in West Darfur, the head of FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization], two people from UNHCR [United Nations refugee agency] and two Red Cross people have been expelled by the Government? Particularly as to the UN officials, is that something you can confirm? And also as to the two peacekeepers, a Jordanian newspaper has said that those who had taken the peacekeepers have made demands about some reforms for UNAMID to make. I wonder if the UN has any idea whether these are Government-affiliated kidnappers. And finally, whatever happened on the pilot investigation, the Russian pilot that was taken in Darfur? Did they ever find out who was behind that? Was it the Government-affiliated Janjaweed or other rebels?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Well, first of all, on the question of the various abductions: on the Russian pilot issue, I don’t have anything further to say. On the issue of the two people that were abducted over the weekend from UNAMID, we did put a press release from UNAMID over the weekend mentioning that abduction, but we do not have any further comment or any details at this time. We are, of course, working for their safe release and wouldn’t have any comment to make on that.

As for the situation at Kalma camp of the various agencies, we have seen the preliminary reports of these developments, and we are awaiting further clarification from the Government of Sudan.

Inner City Press: It seems like a whole other region; these expulsions are the head of FAO for all of West Darfur, and El Geneina and in Zalingei. I’m not trying to be… I’m just saying that it seems like the standoff between UNAMID and local officials in Darfur seems to be spreading from South Darfur to West Darfur. I just wonder what the plan to deal with this is.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: On the question of West Darfur, our understanding is that the statements were related to security matters in West Darfur State. However, expulsion orders have not been officially issued. Discussions are ongoing between the UN and the Government in Khartoum. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has requested that it will handle these developments on its own behalf, which the UN will respect...

Inner City Press: I’m sorry, there’s just one more on this. There’s a story about these West Darfur expulsions, says that the head of FAO for West Darfur was asked to leave because he had forwarded a petition against hunger, “”, and authorities said he did not obtain approval for it. So I’m wondering, you said it was a security situation, but is there any indication… that’s why I’m saying it seems like the Government is cracking down. Are UN officials permitted to forward things like this “” petition to stop hunger without governmental authority, or do they seek approval?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I’m not really aware that this is a central issue. Like I said, discussions are ongoing between the UN and the Government in Khartoum, and we’ll see what the results of that are.

But at the same time, Abdallah al-Fadil, head of UNAMID in West Darfur, was quoted that "The heads of the UNHCR and FAO agencies in West Darfur as well as the head of UNHCR agency in Zalengei have been asked to leave.” So why did the UN in New York says that “expulsion orders have not been officially issued” and that all humanitarian access to the Kalma Camp had been restored?

The UN in Sudan is too slow to complain and too fast to celebrate. And this puts civilians at risk. 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 2006-2010 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -