Announce Darfur Kidnappings, Waited to See if Questioned
January 14 -- When UN peacekeepers or humanitarian
contractors are injured or especially kidnapped, the UN usually
speaks up quickly to deplore and demand action by the host
But this week when three Bulgarians working in Darfur for
the UN and its World Food Program were taken hostage, the UN didn't
even announce it in its daily media briefing in New York.
after a coalition of human rights groups accused the UN in Darfur,
particularly the UNAMID mission under Ibrahim Gambari, of imposing a
“humanitarian information blackout” which benefits the Omar al
Bashir government of Sudan. The group surmise that the blackout is
getting worse and worse as the UN tries to
not upset Bashir, despite
his indictment for genocide, during the Southern Sudan secession
appear to be right, not only as to the UN stopping or delaying
response to and reporting of attacks on civilians in Darfur, but even
attacks on and kidnappings of UN affiliated personnel. How else to
explain the UN's failure to mention the kidnapping of the three
Bulgarians, and to follow through and name the guilty parties --
allegedly Bashir connected and even funded tribes -- in previous
transcript of the UN's
January 13 noon briefing:
Press: On the Sudan, can you — this kidnapping of humanitarian
workers, Bulgarian pilots of the UN in Darfur. What’s the —
what’s being done about it, and I guess I was expecting you to say
it at the beginning. It’s widely now known.
Nesirky: What did you expect me to say?
Press: I guess that three UN-contracted humanitarian workers
have been kidnapped in Darfur, and they should be returned, and the
Government should do all it can — if the tribes that did it are
associated with them.
So what’s the question?
Press: I guess my question is, I’m just saying as an aside, I
wonder — what’s the standard? If UN personnel are taken hostage,
isn’t it usually said from here?
Well, you’ve asked me, and I can tell you.
Mr. Nesirky & Ban Ki-moon, Darfur kidnappings
not shown (until asked about)
Press: Okay, so what’s the status?
That we can confirm. But you’ve pretty much — it’s almost as
though you wrote it, Matthew. We can confirm that three helicopter
crew members working for the United Nations humanitarian air service,
managed by the World Food Programme, have been abducted by armed men
in Sudan. The incident happened at 10:35 local time on Thursday —
that’s today — at a landing strip at Um Shalaya, 60 kilometres
south-east of El Geneina in West Darfur.
Press: Since this has been — it’s happened many times —
it’s always said that nothing will be said while they’re being
held, but once they’re released something will be said. In the
case, for example, of the peacekeeper that was taken in El-Fasher and
was returned, did the UN conclude that these were
Government-affiliated kidnappers? Rebel-affiliated? What conclusion
have they reached? It seems to happen all the time.
The point is that Istvan Papp, the Hungarian civilian working in the
Mission, was released. And as you know, he was held for 90-something
days. That’s the most important point here, is that he was
released. I don’t have anything further on who abducted him and
why, but simply — the local authorities, the [UN] Mission and the
Department for Safety and Security worked extremely hard to secure
Press: There’s just always this — the reason I asked you
about announcing, is that — that definitely is an indicator of kind
of lack of stability and of a problem. It seems like — maybe you
think it’s a strange question. Because normally the UN speaks
about if a staff member is injured or taken hostage — it just
strikes me — to some, it seems strange not to say it, if it happens
in Darfur. Is it a big deal, or…
But I’ve said it, Matthew. I’m not quite sure what the point is
Nesirky only said anything about the three kidnapping because he was
asked a question. He had the information, but waited to see if anyone
would ask about it. The UN does this when it does not want to offend
a government. But should that be its approach now to Sudan? Watch
* * *
Transporting ICC Indictee Harun to Abyei, NGOs & US Have Yet
11 -- The UN Mission in Sudan transported and
assisted International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Harun, UN
spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed to Inner City Press on Tuesday,
because the UN finds Harun helpful in dealing with violence in Abyei.
Nesirky implied that the UN will continue to transport
Harun, saying that the UN "will continue to provide necessary support
to key players." Video
asked why the UN transported Harun, not only in light of his ICC
indictment for war crimes in Darfur, but also of the capacities
the Sudanese Air Force, which has recently conducted bombing raids
and near Southern Sudan.
Air Force can bomb, Inner City Press asked, why can't it fly Harun to
Abyei? Nesirky did not answer this question. Nor would he tell Inner
City Press if UNMIS, led by Haile Menkerios, had checked with UN
Headquarters' Office of Legal Affairs or Ban Ki-moon before
transporting an indicted war criminal.
seems to some
that the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir, who has also been
indicted by the ICC for genocide as well as war crimes, has no lack
of capacity to transport its official Harun, but instead wanted to
get the UN further involved in undercutting the war crimes
and his counterpart at the Mission in Darfur UNAMID Ibrahim
Gambari attended the inauguration of Omar al Bashir. Inner City Press
asked Nesirky, without answer, if the UN would provide transport and
assistance to other ICC indictees, including Joseph Kony of the the
Lord's Resistance Army, widely thought to be in South Darfur.
UN Security Council in Sudan w/ Gambari, 10/10 (c)MRLee
11, Inner City Press asked representatives of
non-governmental organizations active on Sudan about the UN's
transport of ICC indictee Harun. David Abramowitz, the Director of
Policy and Government Relations of the group Humanity United, said
that he wasn't aware of the reports of Harun being transported, "I have
not seen that report."
has the US
administration, including its Mission at the UN, yet spoken on the
matter. Some wonder whether they were consulted, even whether, in
light of the offer to delink Darfur from the offer to remove some
sanctions on Sudan in exchange for the South Sudan referendum, if the
Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur
Coalition, said he hadn't
seen the report confirmed, but either way
it did not send a good message to the people of Darfur, where Harun
was indicted for war crimes: "already Darfuri are suspicious of UNAMID
and UN personnel."
fact, Harun was
indicted for working with and organizing the type of nomadic tribes
which are accused of the killings in Abyei, and now in South Kordofan
state as well.
told Inner City Press that "Governor Harun was critical" to bringing
the Miseriya tribes together. Video
in this view,
it is not only a matter of the fox guarding the hen house: the UN has
taken to transporting the fox to the hen house. Where will there be
accountability? Watch this site.