Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As UN Official Confirms Sudan Prescreens UNMIS Statements, Rice Says If True, It Would Be Disturbing: Will Probe?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 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 initiatives.”

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.”

The question 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"

On August 31, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky, the following:

Inner City Press: 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 rights incidents.

Spokesperson Nesirky: I 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

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply <>
Date: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 11:31 AM
Subject: Your questions on UNMIS and human rights
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your questions 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.

Regarding the opinion 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)

On Sunday, 14 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.

With reference to 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.

UNMIS has repeatedly 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 these.

  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 site.

* * *

UN's Amos on Working With Sudan Gov't, Justifies Withholding of Darfur Data

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 15 -- 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.

Already, the 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, from Minute 11:53.

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.

Most recently, 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.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2010 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -