A P-5 Member's Complaint Explains UN's Kalma Camp Flipflop, Kashmir
Echoes, Council Meeting Rumblings
August 17 -- A day after the UN's Ban
Ki-moon thanked Sudan
for restoring humanitarian access to Kalma Camp, then changed the
appreciation to “some” humanitarian access, the UN on Tuesday
said access had again been denied. But what happened, Inner City
Press asked on Tuesday, between the previous day's two statements?
Spokesperson Farhan Haq said that there had only been 20 minutes
between the two statements, and that “someone wanted to make that
point of wording.” Video here,
from Minute 13:03.
asked whether that someone was within the UN Secretariat.
“Of course in the
Secretariat,” Haq said.
it is not that
clear. In fact, recently when Haq issued
a statement about Kashmir,
the next day Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that it had only been
“media guidance,” not anything said by the Secretary General.
Haq on Tuesday chided
Inner City Press for not have been present for the beginning of his
briefing, when he obliquely mentioned the previous day's two
statements and downplayed the difference between them, it was that
the Security Council was emerging from consultations Tuesday at noon,
as Haq began.
Council sources, Inner City Press was informed that the Mission to
the UN of a Permanent Five Council member complained about the first
statement in which Ban thanked Sudan for full access. Then a second
statement issued, saying “some” access.
Farhan Haq previously, disclosures re Kalma and
Kashmir flipflops not shown
around the Security Council on Tuesday that this Permanent Five
member was going to ask for an emergency meeting of the Council about
Darfur on Wednesday or Friday.
Five member's Permanent Representative said he would support such a
request for a meeting, but that he'd not heard one. Another asked
jokingly if Inner City Press was requesting an emergency meeting. But
the blockade of an IDP camp with tens of thousands of people in it is
no joke. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Is Forced To Correct Its Fast Thanks to Sudan, Kalma Camp Problems,
Expulsions and UN Silence Persist
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.”
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.”
Inner City Press wrote to the two top officials working
in the Spokesperson's Office on Monday, asking
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.”
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.”
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
briefing in New York, according to the UN's own transcript:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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, “1billionhungry.org”, 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
“1billionhungry.org” petition to stop hunger without governmental
authority, or do they seek approval?
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
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?
UN in Sudan is
too slow to complain and too fast to celebrate. And this puts
civilians at risk. Watch this site.