Confirms Sudan Prescreens UNMIS Statements, Rice
Says If True, It Would Be Disturbing: Will Probe?
16, updated -- From Sudan,
last month multiple sources told
Inner City Press that the United Nations system's Humanitarian
Coordinator Georg Charpentier had started to show previews of the
UN's press releases to the Omar al Bashir regime's “ministry of
humanitarian affairs” before making them public.
Inner City Press
asked the UN to deny or confirm and explain this. Days later on
September 2 UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that
coordinator Charpentier “works with the government and opposition”
but “does not submit press statements to the government for
approval, with the exception of joint press statements on joint
But on September
16, a better placed UN official confirmed to Inner City Press that
Charpentier has of late been showing his releases to the Sudanese
government, “during this period of tension.”
Later on September
16, Inner City Press asked the US Permanent Representative Susan Rice
about this UN practice. In a comment vetted and approved by the US
Mission, Ambassador Rice replied, “I'm not aware of that, but it
would be disturbing.”
becomes, what are the responsibilities of members, particularly
Permanent Five members, of the Security Council, to monitor the
subservience to repressive governments by the peacekeeping missions
they vote to send into the field?
Update: it now appears
that the US Mission to its credit will be looking into this.
Susan Rice at Council, not yet aware, but "would be disturbing"
Inner City Press
asked the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon,
Martin Nesirky, the following:
On Sudan, I wanted to ask two things about UNMIS,
actually. So they’re about South Sudan and/or Khartoum. I’ve
been told that in two recent incidents, for example there was the
Girifna activist, the youth activists that were arrested by the
Government, for being pro-democracy. That, in fact, they called the
UN. They called UNMIS and asked for to be, when they were surrounded
by the national NISS, and were told that UNMIS would only respond
during normal office hours and in turn were arrested. In another
incident, a Darfuri student was in the morgue, having been, it’s
alleged, tortured to death. The UN was told to come to the morgue
and witness this, and was told it was Friday and a holiday and would
not come. So, I’m just wondering, does UNMIS have a policy of not
responding to even alleged torture deaths on weekends? And why is it
that Mr. [Haile] Menkerios, as much of the press corps in Khartoum
and Juba are complaining, has only had a single press conference and
says there’s no need to, actually. I mean that’s a separate one. People
there are unable to get an answer. I guess if you can get an
answer from UNMIS, if it’s true they didn’t respond and, if they
didn’t, why they didn’t respond to these two very troubling human
think colleagues have heard this just as I have and I’m
sure we’ll be contacting UNMIS to see what kind of response there
is and to what extent there is anything to these reports and, if so,
what that response is.
On these two
questions posed by Inner City Press, the UN responded
- Do Not Reply
Date: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at
Subject: Your questions on UNMIS and human rights
Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com
from last week, UNMIS has made clear to us that it has
a mandate for promotion and protection of human rights and will
implement it in both in the North and in the South.
of a “senior SPLM official” on what must be a
reference to the killing of Darfurian student Mohamed Musa, the facts
have been misrepresented.. UNMIS Human Rights was informed of Mohamed
Musa’s death on Friday, 12 February 2010, and immediately on that
same day proceeded to the morgue to confirm the allegations, but
unfortunately UNMIS was not given access to the body or the medical
examiners. On the same day (12 February), UNMIS Human Rights met with
the victim’s fellow students and witnesses to his abduction (on 10
February 2010 (the first working day after his death),
UNMIS Human Rights raised the case with the Government of National
Unity’s Advisory Council for Human Rights, and urged that an
independent investigation into Mohamed Musa’s death be promptly
carried out. Since then, UNMIS Human Rights has continued to monitor
progress in the investigation through speaking to further witnesses
to Mohamed Musa’s abduction, meeting repeatedly with Mohamed Musa’s
family, pursuing meetings with the Police and National Security
Services (NSS), and raising the case with the Government, including
the alleged responsibility of the National Security Services (NSS)
and lack of progress in the investigation, in various fora.
the Girifna activists, UNMIS Human Rights has been in
contact with the group since the arrests of three of their members by
the National Security Service (NSS) on 4 March 2010 were reported. In
response to those arrests, UNMIS Human Rights interviewed two Girifna
activists on 9 March 2010, one of whom was rearrested by the NSS on
15 March 2010 (that’s six days later, not one) and alleged that he
was tortured. UNMIS does not have the mandate to offer security
protection or medical assistance to victims, and UNMIS Human Rights
staff make that clear to all victims that they interview (as was done
in this case). Upon hearing of the Girifna activist’s alleged
arrest and torture, an UNMIS Human Rights officer went immediately to
an off-site location to interview him and find out what had happened;
he was again interviewed by another UNMIS Human Rights officer
outside of Khartoum one week later. UNMIS Human Rights continues to
maintain regular contact with the group, and has responded to
subsequent allegations of violations of their rights and raised them
with authorities when possible.
raised concerns over the National Security Service’s
pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention, and representative cases
have been highlighted in reports of the UN Secretary-General, the
Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert on the Situation of Human
Rights in the Sudan, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Since 2005, UNMIS has been advocating with Government authorities for
reform of Sudan’s legislation in order to bring it into line with
the human rights guarantees of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the
INC, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The NISS law was highlighted by Ban Ki-moon in his April report to
the Security Council as one that requires reform to avoid cases like
But on September
16, the lawyer for Mohamed Musa said that the UN did almost nothing.
Another civil society activist described events at Geneina IDP camp
on which Inner City Press is doing additional reporting. Watch this
* * *
With Sudan Gov't, Justifies
Withholding of Darfur Data
-- A month after the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it would provide Darfur
malnutrition data to the Press in “one or two days,” new OCHA
chief Valerie Amos responded that the UN has been slowed by trying to
do “joint assessments” with Sudan's government.
peacekeepers of UNAMID in Darfur refuse to leave their bases to
protect civilians without getting approval from the Sudanese
authorities. But why would the UN's ostensibly independent
humanitarian arm tie its ability to release information about
malnutrition to obtaining the joint agreement of the very government
accused of playing a role in the starvation?
Inner City Press
asked more generally what Ms. Amos will do about humanitarian, not
only in Jebel Marra in Darfur, from which NGOs have been barred since
February, but also Waziristan in western Pakistan, blockaded by the
military and subject to done strikes in the US. Video here,
Ms. Amos began by
saying that the “independence and impartiality of humanitarian
workers” cannot be compromised by the UN. Then, by referring to
security and the “duty of care,” she compromised it. Sudan, for
example, tells the UN it cannot guarantee its safety, a code word
for: don't go.
local authorities in West Darfur have come up with a strategy of
“persona non grata by another name,” saying that UNHCR and FAO
officials in Darfur are not safe and should leave.
What does Ms. Amos
think of these government announcements?
UN's Ban and Ms. Amos, access and Darfur starvation data not yet shown
Does she believe that the
UNHCR officials have a right to distribute rape detection equipment?
That FAO can circulate petitions against hunger? These are the
grounds on which the UN officials were told they are not safe and
should leave. What will Ms. Amos do? Watch this site.