IDPs Speak of Hunger, UN Says No Famine, Silent on
Blockade, No UNSC Oversight
IDP CAMP, DARFUR, October 8 -- Minutes after internally
displaced women here told Inner City Press of being unable to feed
their children due to cutbacks by the UN World Food Program, UN
Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier told the Press that “there
is no lack of food in Abu Shouk.”
as he presented it, was the presence of taxis in the IDP
camp's market area. The standard he applied became clear when Inner
City Press asked why it had taken him and the UN so long to speak out
against Sudan's government's blockade of the Kalma IDP Camp.
said that “there was no famine” in Kalma, and that
therefore the warnings were “exaggerated.”
question, Charpentier sounds suspiciously similar to the Wali of
North Darfur, who earlier on Friday had harangued the UN Security
Council members with statistics that various forms of crime have
decreased 70 to 80%. It is one thing for a government to try to
downplay its problems. But to have the UN humanitarian coordinator
joining in the spin is problematic.
Representative Susan Rice, who was on the trip, was previously
informed by Inner City Press of problems with Charpentier's
performance of his supposedly impartial humanitarian duties.
Ambassador Rice said she would look into it while in Darfur -- but
Council members spent less than a quarter of an hour in the camp.
Their intake was purely anecdotal. Inner City Press watched as one
Ambassador used a UN translator to ask a Sudanese woman how long it
had been since she'd been home. Oh you go ever six months, the
Ambassador then said. No, the woman said, I said I still have some
family members there, but I can't go due to safety.
the UN's missions and ostensibly humanitarian operations on the
ground? This trip has made it clear at the Security Council is not
overseeing even the peacekeeping missions it forms and send into the
field. In the humanitarian sphere there may be even less oversight.
Kids in Abu Shouk IDP camp, malnutrition not shown
due to UN, (c) MRLee
City Press is
widely told by people in Sudan that Charpentier has “gone native”
and sides and shares documents with the Sudanese authorities.
(Charpentier denies the latter, although a high placed UN official
has already admitted that the government of Sudan has been shown UN
documents before they are released.)
Press was trying to report on the Council members' movements through
the IDP camp, UN staff repeated told Inner City Press to “put the
camera away,” that the “G.O.S.” or Government Of Sudan could
come and seize the camera and even put Inner City Press in jail.
emerged from the
UN staff that this had happened not ago to a Japanese TV journalist.
Why did the UN say nothing about this? Why did Georg Charpentier say
nothing while the Government of Sudan blockaded the Kalma IDP camp?
What will Susan Rice and the other Council members do to try to stop
any of these trends? Watch this site.
* * *
Lectures UN Council, One Eyed Statistics: Down, Down USA or
8 -- The UN Security Council was lambasted on Friday
by the Wali of North Darfur as approaching Sudan's problems with “one
eye” rather than two. In a large room at the Wali's compound,
Sudan's Permanent Representative to the UN translated a series of
statistics comparing crime including violence against women from 2004
to 2010, each time with a decrease.
New Yorker in
the crowd saw it as similar to Rudy Giuliani. But when it was the
turn of Mark Lyall Grant to speak, as the Council's leader of the
Darfur leg of the trip, he countered with the 250% increase in
violent death from last year to this. While this surge -- which the
US has referred to as a mere “uptick” -- is undeniable, Lyall
Grant did not directly respond to the Wali's numbers, 2004 to 2010.
back and forth, the Press was asked to leave, reportedly at the
request of one or more UN Security Council members. Just outside the
door to the Wali's meeting room, several dozen protesters -- some
from Thursday's protest inside the airport -- chanted “Down, down
the man with
the bullhorn shifted to “Down, down USA” but was quickly
corrected by an official looking protester. A Rwandan UN Peacekeeper
joked about it with Inner City Press.
walls a crowd of several hundred chanted pro Bashir slogans and asked
that their banners be photographed. Soon thereafter, the Council
Ambassadors pulled out in their four by fours on the way to Zam Zam
IDP camp, whose population is now up to 80,000 - another increase.
Press was in this same room in June 2008. Since then, the
Wali's forture seem to have improved: a large horseshoe table, better
air conditioning and better food provided. Some out in the crowd also
spoke about a recent Ponzi scheme and local dissatisfaction with the
Wali. As requested, we are looking with two eyes. Watch this site.
* * *
Criticizes Nur & Inner City Press on Video,
-- 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.
Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents
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.
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
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
a closed door
meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari
of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press.
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
genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”
Gambari, Lyall Grant, Susan Rice, Churkin- oversight
not seen? (c) MRLee
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:
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?”
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.”
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.
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.”
Abdel Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost
before he comes.”
angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people
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?”
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.”
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.”
said. “Believe me, lives are at stake.”
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?”
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
leaked documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.
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?