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After UN Spent Billions in Sudan, No Comment on Critiques of Elections, Rights Violations

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- With the UN Mission in Sudan having "expired," the UN no longer has any answers, including on reports showing fraud in the election in Southern Kordofan of indicted war criminal Ahmed Haroun which then UN envoy Haile Menkerios "welcomed."

 The UN tries to explain that away, but has had no comment about Haroun's ethnic firing of 177 Nuba civil servants. This is what a $1 billion a year UN peacekeeping mission comes down to?

  There's another $1 billion a year mission in Sudan, UNAMID in Darfur. But it can or will not even answer basic questions about the murder and detention of the civilians it is supposed to be protecting, thirty hours after the questions are referred and went to them midday on August 22.

  On August 23, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq some Sudan questions:

Inner City Press: there is a report out today by the Rift Valley Institute going back into the South Kordofan elections that were held, I didn’t understand the distinction, but that the UN welcomed the election but not the result. This new detailed analysis is saying that Ahmed Haroun didn’t win, stole the election and that’s one of the roots of the problems there. And I just wonder since the UN sort of opined or at least welcomed the elections if not the results, what do they think of this study?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: They welcomed the holding of the elections; we never commented on the result. We had no favoured result, one way or the other. And you are aware of course of the long-standing indictment against Ahmed Haroun. But we welcomed the peaceful holding of the election at that time. That’s what, that’s where we had stood.

Inner City Press: But has the UN see it, if there was still an UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan], I guess they may want to have a comment on this, but is there anyone now monitoring that including Mr. [Haile] Menkerios?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: As you know, the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan has expired. If Mr. Menkerios has anything further to say about that, we will let you know if he has said that. But he has not commented on this particular case. Yes?

Inner City Press: A Darfur question; another from the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, put out a detailed account how in Darfur, in Nyala two — a Fur and a Masalit — political activists that were released by local courts were in turn arrested by national intelligence of Sudan. So I am wondering, I know that yesterday you told me, ask UNAMID [United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur], and I want to tell you that I sent three questions to UNAMID and thus far have no answers. So I am asking you, since there is a billion-dollar peacekeeping mission there, what does UNAMID think of this account by a respected NGO that civilian protesters in Darfur are being arrested and detained by the Government?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Well, again, that’s a question for UNAMID. I think you’d have to follow up and get the facts. I know some of these things are local media reports you’ve been following up on and we’d need to get those verified.

But there has been no response to the questions below, thirty hours after they were sent to two UNAMID spokesman including chief Kemal Saiki:

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

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 still been no response on the first. We'll see.

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

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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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