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

At UN on Darfur Arrestees, Sudan Defiant While Gambari Absent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 25 -- As on Darfur the UN Security Council met on Monday, the Ambassador of Sudan Dafaala El Haj Ali Osman denied to Inner City Press that any of the internally displaced people who met with the Council in Abu Shouk IDP Camp have been arrested.

  While the US on Friday belated went public with charges of the arrests, there was no direct response from the US Mission to Sudan's denial.

  Inside the Council, top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy said cautiously -- and vaguely -- that “we are not in a position to provide names of the alleged victims, out of concern to protect our sources from retaliation.”

  Did this mean that the UN is confirming the arrests but withholding the names? Inner City Press asked lead UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, who insisted, you've heard what Mr. Le Roy said. Yes, but it is intentionally unclear.

UN's Le Roy & AU's Ping, clarity on Darfur arrestees and Gambari not shown

  It seems to some that Sudan knew in advance that the UN would decline to provide the names of arrestees. But how would Sudan know?

  Ibraham Gambari, it emerges from Nigerian Mission sources, has been in New York since Friday. Surprisingly, as the Council met Monday about his peacekeeping mission, he was not present. Inner City Press asked Nesirky about this, and Nesirky said he would inquire. Watch this site.

* * *

Amid Arrests in Darfur, UN Council Sits With Gambari, Menkerios South Sudan Blindness

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 25, updated below -- As the UN Security Council convenes Monday about Sudan, the issues are many but the follow through, especially about Darfur, is sorely lacking.

Internally Displaced People with whom the Council met earlier in the month in the Abu Shouk camp have been arrested and harassed.

  While the UN Secretariat has been asked to brief the Council about the issue on Monday morning, as of late last week UN acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told the Press the UN still wasn't sure it had happened.

  Meanwhile the UN's Darfur chief Ibrahim Gambari still prepared to turn over five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid al-Nur to the government of Omar al-Bashir, indicted for genocide and war crimes.

  While the leaked documents obtained and published by Inner City Press show Gambari seeking only to get a promise from Bashir not to execute the five, no mention is made of torture.

  But Bashir's government is charged with torture, and the UN has looked away, as in the case of the Darfuri student beaten to death, not seen for days by the UN in the morgue in Khartoum.

   And even as to execution, a resident of Kalma camp has been sentenced to death by hanging.

   While the UN insist that Kalma is not be dismantled, just as it says it has seen nothing “out of the ordinary” in the Shangil Tobaya camp the Council was told not to visit, by the Sudanese authorities as well as Gambari's UNAMID, it is reported that the government is using LJM supporters in Kalma to intimidate those staying there to leave.

  UNAMID's spokespeople Kemal Saiki and Chris Cycmanick have stopped answering any of the Inner City Press' questions, which the UN in New York reflexively says should be submitted to UNAMID in El Fashir. What are these people being paid to do?

  The money, it seems, is being spent on a Lear Jet for Gambari, who has been in New York since Friday across to Mission sources. Nice to spend a weekend in New York City -- but at this time?

Gambari, hiding in plain sighting, Convention Against Torture violation not shown

Gambari's counterpart with respect to North - South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, last week told the press that he has only heard about Khartoum's troop build up on the border through media reports. But it emerges that the issue has been raised at least three times this year in the the very ceasefire commission Menkerios chairs.

Supporters of both Menkerios and Gambari say the two are close to the government in Khartoum. Perhaps -- but at what cost? And to what end? Watch this site.

Note: Sources in Darfur tell Inner City Press that more people have been arrested, and others have had their movement restricted including (arrested) Mohammed Hassan Isshag, Ali Ibrahim Idriss, Mansour Mousa Tajeldin, Abdul Rahman Adam Yahiya, Abdel Aziz Eissa, Adam Hamid Shareif, Abaker Ahmed Abdella, Ommda Salih and Abdel Rahman Ibrahim Abdul Gaadeir; (movement restricted to El Fasher) Ommda Ateim Ahmed, Tajeldin Mousa Ommda and Khadeeja Adam Bashar.

Update of 10:13 am -- at the briefing on arrested IDPs, Brooke Anderson reps the US; with Susan Rice not here, seems US won't speak at stakeout on arrests. Will UK Lyall Grant?

Update of 10:24 am -- #Sudan PR #Dafaala El Haj Ali tells #InnerCityPress, no one was arrested, we challenge them to produce names. Says he will do a stakeout. Will US?

Update of 10:38 am - Le Roy says not in position to provide names, to protect sources from retaliation. Also says NISS is accused of torture. Gambari should stakeout. But although Nigerian Mission sources say Gambari has been in New York since Friday, he is not present at the Council's briefing Monday about "his" peacekeeping mission. Watch this site.

* * *

Sudan Blocking Malnutrition Data, Allowed by UN, Raised to Right to Food Rapporteur

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 21 -- On Darfur, first the UN stopped producing its Humanitarian Report, then it stopped producing any Global Malnutrition Data. In August 2010, Inner City Press asked why and was told the data would be available “in one or two days.” It wasn't.

In mid September, new Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos told Inner City Press that the delay was due to attempts to do “joint assessments” with the Sudanese government, whose President Omar al Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide.

  On October 21, with data still not released and the UN - African Union Mission in Darfur now refusing to answer questions from Inner City Press about the data and other collaboration with the al Bashir government, Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter about both the blocking of release of malnutrition data, and Sudan's blockade of food from internally displaced persons camps like that in Kalma. Video here, from Minute 32:02.

  Olivier de Schutter told Inner City Press that he will investigate the complaints if provided with sufficient prima facie evidence. Video here, from Minute 37.  This has now been done.

De Schutter in Geneva, action on Sudan not yet shown

  Beyond Ms. Amos' September 15 statement that the cessation of reporting malnutrition data is attributable to the Sudanese government, now at last a UNICEF official has spoken out more clearly, expressing

concern that the Sudanese government 'very often' bars the release of data on child malnutrition in Darfur. Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Representative in Sudan, said that the Sudanese security services have also hindered or delayed UNICEF’s access to camps in Darfur.

Kastberg told Radio Dabanga: 'Part of the problem has been when we conduct surveys to help us address issues, in collaboration with the ministry of health, very often other parts of the government such as the humanitarians affairs commission interferes and delays in the release of reports, making it difficult for us to respond timely.'

UN cooperation with the Khartoum ministries like the Ministry of Health has failed to secure publication of the reports. The UNICEF country chief said 'we are raising these issues with the government at the moment that the humanitarian affairs commission should not interfere with the release of these reports.'

Kastberg also pointed out that certain government agencies hinder the entry of UNICEF staff into the camps. 'Sometimes it is security services that hinder access or delay access, sometimes it is the humanitarian affairs office that delays the release of nutritional surveys. Sometimes it is delays in granting permissions and visas. It is different sections of different institutions which interfere in our work.'”

This has now been submitted to Special Rapporteur de Schutter by Inner City Press. Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Gambari Plans Hand Over to Bashir in Sudan, Torture Complaint Mulled at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- Could the UN, or the chief of its peacekeeping mission in Darfur Ibrahim Gambari, be on the verge of violating the UN Convention Against Torture?

  Inner City Press asked the chairman of the UN Committee Against Torture Claudio Grossman this question on October 19, referring to the leaked documents showing Gambari's plan to turn over five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the government of Omar al Bashir, accused of genocide, war crimes and, yes, torture. Video here, from Minute 23:25.

  Grossman answered that “as to the UN system... no one should be sent to places where he or she will be tortured.” Video here from Minute 30. He cited this prohibition to Article 3 of the Convention.

Inner City Press asked, but if a complaint is filed about Gambari's and the UN's pending turn over of five people to Bashir, how would Grossman's Committee Against Torture process it? Video here, from Minute 30:20.

Grossman said that while in one sense the Committee's work is limited to member states, there is creative lawyering. Not only other venues such as Working Groups and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, but also “journalism can play a role,” he said.

So one wonders why the SLA, or someone on behalf of the Kalma Five, doesn't start raising the question as an anti-torture issue, using Gambari's draft -- which contains no assurances on this -- as the basis for the complaints? Watch this site.

* * *

In Darfur, Gambari Criticizes Nur & Inner City Press on Video, Transcription Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

DARFUR, October 8 -- Peacekeepers were sent to Darfur after reports of a brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.

Now top peacekeeper Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents leaked to and published by Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.

Several members of the UN Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and “Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali Karti.

On the UN plane Thursday to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the Council.

After a closed door meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari and two of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press. Gambari called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents “reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful... lives are at stake.”  Transcription below.

  Yeah, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”

  Gambari's statements to Inner City Press were caught on video and will soon be published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of Gambari's UNAMID compound:

Inner City Press asked Ibrahim Gambari, “What's happen with the Kalma Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government... or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”

Gambari answered: “Here is the situation. We have these five sheikhs who have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27 peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”

Inner City Press asked about Abdel Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his group would not cooperate with the UN any more.

Gambari responded, “you quote words Abdel Wahid was supposed to have said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”

Of Abdel Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost before he comes.”

“Matthew, I'm very angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people indefinitely?”

Inner City Press said, “Several Security Council members, when they saw the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this Mission overseen by the Security Council?”

Gambari said “Ask them. Ask the S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international community is key to finding a solution.”

Inner City Press said, as Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle, “Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's probably a good thing.”

“No,” Gambari said. “Believe me, lives are at stake.”

Or maybe jobs, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation. “Is this what the UN should be doing?” Watch this site.

Footnote: it's worth noting that even before Inner City Press obtained and published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication of other leaked documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.

  That time, before the UN's September 24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old” (2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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] -