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March 1, 2011: Libya

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In S. Kordofan, UN Meets with ICC-Indictee Haroun, Silent on Ethnic Firings, Darfur

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- With Sudan blocking any outside investigation of human rights abuses in Southern Kordofan, over the weekend it allowed in certain UN humanitarian agencies -- so that they could meet with International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Haroum.

  With Haroun's razor thin election as governor condemned by a just-finalized report, Khartoum's goal in belatedly letting the UN agencies in appears, just as the granted request that the UN fly Haroun in a UN helicopter to Abyei, to be legitimating Haroun despite his ICC indictment.

  Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on Monday about Southern Kordofan and about Haroun's reported firing of 177 Nubans civil servants. On the latter, Haq typically had no answer, saying he would check with the UN Mission in South Sudan -- which has no jurisdiction -- or with undefined "political colleagues."

  Perhaps this means UN official Haile Menkerios, who approved Haroun's two flights in UN helicopters, for "peacemaking" in Abyei that obviously didn't work. Haq also told Inner City Press to direct questions about killing in Darfur by government-aligned militias "to UNAMID." But that $1 billion UN - African Union mission has not responded to Inner City Press' questions:

I was just told to "ask UNAMID" about the following:

"A sheikh in Hamidiya refugee camp in Zalingei, West Darfur was allegedly shot dead on Saturday by gunmen loyal to the Sudanese government. Witnesses said that the perpetrators shot Sheikh Abbas Juma Barak twice in the chest by a creek between Zalingei town and Hamidiya refugee camp. The coordinator of the Zalingei camps [said]that camp leaders had informed the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) of the incident."

So, was UNAMID told about it? If not, has it sought any corrections? If so, what has UNAMID done? Also, just to confirm, does UNAMID deny it was informed of the following:

"Nine (9) gunmen riding horses are reported to have looted three (3) cars carrying goods and passengers on its way from Marchin to east of Jebel Marra in South Darfur on Monday. One of the passengers in the car [said] “The gunmen raped four (4) women at gunpoint in front of Nazerem in daylight in Ramadan.” The passengers in the car were also asked to empty the goods and subjected to beating by the armed men. The incident has been reported to the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)."

What does UNAMID say about this? Has it sought any correction? Or done anything?

Finally, for now, what is UNAMID's knowledge of any attack on any UN affiliated person earlier this month in or around Fur Baranga in West Darfur?

  So far, the UN has denied the last of these three allegations; UNAMID denied even hearing about the second, and there has been no response on the first. We'll see.

From right: Haq, Ban, then Pascoe & Kim, Sudan answers not shown

From the UN's August 22 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: It was said that on Saturday, the six UN agencies would have access to Southern Kordofan and begin to assess needs there. Did they get in and what have they found?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Yeah, actually I do have an update on that for you. One second. The joint mission of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and UN agencies visited Kadugli on 21 August, which is yesterday, and met with Governor Ahmed Haroun. They agreed that the needs assessment plan would be implemented under the guidance of the State Authorities.The aim is to assess humanitarian needs in order to replenish stocks and deliver vital relief supplies. This humanitarian assessment is very urgent, as relief stocks are running low. Joint assessments in priority areas throughout South Kordofan State need to be started this week. The UN and its partners stand ready to provide support and call on all parties to enable safe access and to facilitate humanitarian operations.

Inner City Press: I just want to ask about Ahmed Haroun. The SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] has said that he has just dismissed 177 Nubans from civil service in South Kordofan. And they have said this is entirely on an ethnic basis and I just wonder, since the UN was just there, are they aware of this, do they have any comment on it, do they think it is a good thing to do?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, they were there on a humanitarian assessment issue, not on this particular thing. We’d have to look to the UN Mission in South Sudan to see whether they have any… actually, sorry, it would, we’d have to look to our political colleagues to see whether there is any comment about this latest development...

Inner City Press: Can I ask one more question? It’s reported that, that a sheikh of the Zalengei camp in West Darfur, Abas Juma Barak, was shot by a Government militia. And again, this is one of these stories that says the camp coordinator says that they informed UNAMID [United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur] of this. So I am wondering, is UNAMID aware of it? Can they confirm it and what are they going to do about it?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: I don’t have any confirmation on that, but perhaps you should check with UNAMID on it.

We'll see how UNAMID responds to the three questions sent to them -- more have arisen since. Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

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