Now Probes New Darfur Attack, Silence from Council on Sudan Press
By Matthew Russell Lee
November 3 -- With the UN speaking less and less on human
rights, the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur has provided fewer
and fewer reports about casualties
of fighting in the area, about
arrests and crackdowns on media.
Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman
Martin Nesirky why UNAMID had nothing to say about days old reports
of a new attack on civilians in Tawila, leading to at least 18
casualties being taken to the hospital in El Fasher, UNAMID's
hours later, Nesirky's office confirmed, only over the loudspeaker
system in the UN press floor and not anywhere in writing, that UNAMID
is “aware of reports” of
the attack on Tawila and “is investigating them... there have been
other incidents recently.”
most of these
incidents, UNAMID has had no comment on. Many observers opine that
UNAMID's silence emboldens the government and its proxies to step up
their attacks on civilians in Darfur.
UN has still
not spoken on arrests by the Sudanese authorities in the Darfur IDP
camps, both Abu Shouk where the UN Security Council visited, and now
in Al Salaam in North Darfur, about which Inner City Press asked on
questions directed to Nesirky's office on
about UNAMID's selective reporting -- and not just
Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier's -- and about UN
conflicts of interest and UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari's mode of
transport have still not been answered.
IDPs in Tawila, protection of civilians not shown
Council stakeout earlier on November 3, Inner City Press asked this
month's Council president Mark Lyall Grant of the UK, the lead
country on Darfur, if the Council planned any meeting, discussion or
action on the Government's radio station closure. On November 2, the
Department's spokesman PJ Crowley, then Ambassador
Susan Rice, spoke
on the topic.
Rice entered the Council Wednesday morning for a Council meeting about
Ivory Coast, Inner City Press asked if the US would be asking for
Security Council action on this issue.
Grant later on Wednesday, after the meeting, told Inner City Press that
“as President of the Security Council, there are no plans to
discuss the issue specifically” although he said Sudan is “the
centerpiece of the British presidency” of the Council. He added
that in his national capacity, the UK regrets any restriction on free
press, especially at this “sensitive time.” Video here,
from Minute 3:04.
other hand, had as the UN had nearly nothing to say about Darfur, or
even the wider Sudan. Watch this site.
transcript of Tuesday, November 2:
Does the UN have any comment on these arrests of Darfur
human rights activists, both in Khartoum and in Darfur, the closing
of a radio station, and can it confirm that Georg Charpentier has
said that there should be none but an essential monitoring mission
sent out from now until February, as some in Darfur are saying?
Nesirky: On the last question, we’ll check. On the first,
likewise on the middle one about the radio station, we are aware of
those reports about the closing down of the radio station and the
reported arrests of some journalists. Clearly, we would urge the
authorities to ensure that journalists can carry out their work
Press: Human Rights Watch did a report on these arrests and the
activists, saying they note that UNAMID [African Union-United Nations
Hybrid Operation in Darfur] doesn’t report on human rights
conditions, and that Charpentier hasn’t put out a report on this
since November 2009. Why did the UN stop reporting on these topics
at this important time?
Well, you asked Ms. [Valerie] Amos that, and I think that she gave
you an answer. I don’t have anything to add to what she said last
time. Maybe there will be an update at some point from the Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but I don’t have that
at the moment.
Press: Sorry, I’m sorry…
Yes, there are other people who have questions.
Press: I understand, but the difficulty is that if we start at
12:15, it becomes tricky. But the human rights and the humanitarian
reporting are two separate issues. The humanitarian, I understand
that it’s a joint thing with the Government, but the human rights
reporting is something that just seems to have ceased, and some are
now saying that there’s a Joint Monitoring Assessment Centre [JMAC]
that in fact has reports of civilian deaths and doesn’t report them
to the public. Somehow they leak out to some, but… I guess I
wanted to ask you… it’s two separate things.
Let me find out, Matthew. Let me find out.
waiting. Watch this site.
* * *
Amid Darfur Force Build
Up by Sudan, UK is Cautious, UN Cuts Off
By Matthew Russell Lee
2 -- The UK leads on Darfur for the UN Security
Council, over which it presides this month. Inner City Press asked UK
Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant what the UK is doing about the arrests
which have followed the Council's visit to Darfur last month, and
about reports of the Government of Sudan amassing forces for an
assault on Darfur before the North - South referendum is scheduled on
that it is “unclear who was arrested” and whether they met in
preparation “for the Security Council meeting or actually met”
with the Council members. He said it will be pursued, before the at
the Council's November 16 session about Sudan. He did not address
reports of a build up.
Inner City Press that tanks and troops have been seen in the North
Darfur areas of Kutum, Kernoi, and Altina, while janjaweed gatherings
have been seen in the West Darfur in areas of Geneina and Kulbus.
Government of Sudan volunteers reportedly landed in Kutum airport,
one was asked by a Darfuri policeman, who are you and where are you
going? The person reportedly answered, we are mujahideen and the
government told us we have to fight the infidels and their supporters
in Darfur. We came to clean Darfur.
revolted and refused to participate in the operation. Sources say
most of those revolted were in the army and belong to Bani Halba Arab
tribe. The operation would start with aerial bombings with planes
from Dongola in the North Sudan (neighboring state to Darfur in th
nile north) rather than from Darfur airports (due to the last noise
regarding U.N.S.C. visit and arms embargo reports). The operation is
timed to finish before referendum of
Jan 2011. That's what sources say.
asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN could confirm that its
humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Georg Charpentier has ordered the
cessation of all “non essential” monitoring missions and thus
reporting, and if it could confirm the build up. Nesirky said that
he will check and get back. He curtailed the Q&A session for
Lyall Grant's briefing, and declined to continue it afterward.
UK's Lyall Grant & US Susan Rice stroll
in Sudan, arrestees & Darfur build-up not shown
Grant's program of work briefing, Inner City Press also asked about
the November 4 “horizon scanning” briefing by the UN's Department
of Political Affairs, whether it was meant to be called “preventive
diplomacy” but some countries opposed that. Lyall Grant did not
directly answer, but said it should be free wheeling, as he said that
evening's dinner and UK ship ride with Ban Ki-moon will be. We'll
the program of work, the UK service muffins and coffee,
and gave each Council member a copy of a caricature of all 15
Ambassadors by artist Steve Nyman. Inner City Press asked UK Deputy
Permanent Representative Philip Parham, said to have originated the
idea of giving a caricature instead of, say, a clock, about the
artist. It's said he has a web site. For the UK's knowledge, the
names of two people arrested after the Darfur visit are Abdullah
Ishaq Abdel Razek, the supervisor of the nutrition program of the
camp’s schools, and Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Haj. Their
connections to the Security Council visit are also on the web. Watch
UN Sudan Debate
Degenerates to Book Sales, In Empire of Deng,
By Matthew Russell Lee
27 -- When the UN holds an event entitled “Sudan,
a Vision for the Future” six weeks before the referendum on
secession is slated to be held, it seems worth going to.
were piles of books for sale by the event's entrance in the UN's
North Lawn building. UN official Francis Deng, charged with
preventing genocide but rarely seen these days, was speaking about
his writings, including “New Sudan in the Making” published,
strangely, by Third World Book of Trenton, New Jersey and Asmara,
event was moderated by Kiyotaka Akasaka of the UN Department of
Public Information, who intervened to cut short the response by
Sudanese Ambassador Dafaala El Haj Ali Osman so that questions could
be asked the audience, including those online.
City Press asked about the religious differences between South Sudan
and the North, about how external debt might be divided, and the
implications of a planned new oil pipeline to run south through
Kenya. Only one of these questions was answered, and even then only
by saying that debt is being negotiated in Addis Ababa, under the
rubric of Liabilities.
City Press asked Mr. Deng what other countries he and his UN
Prevention of Genocide are working on, including what he might think
of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel of experts on accountability
in Sri Lanka, which has not even asked to visit that country.
said “we don't like to single out countries” then said he was
distracted due to an upcoming appointment. He was courteous as always
and patrician -- of Abyei aristocracy -- but one wonders what is being
say that under Deng, the UN Prevention of Genocide office is largely
devoted to producing and promoting Deng's writings, including the
time of other staff members of the Office.
if you can get it,” one insider
commented, while noting that a less distracted person might be better
for the UN's Prevention of Genocide post, unless it is by UN design a
Deng earlier at UN, book sales and Prevention of
Genocide not shown
Deng's writings are being produced on UN time and with UN money, then
shouldn't they be attributable to the UN? His “New Sudan in the
Making” volume has a chapter by “Eltigani Seisi M. Ateem” --
the former UN staff member at the Economic Commission on Africa who
was drafted, including by joint UN - African Union mediator Bassole,
to lead the Darfur “Astroturf rebel” group the Liberation and
Justice Movement. (Astroturf, the artificial surface in the now
demolished Houston Astrodome, means fake grassroots.)
appearing on the panel was UN peacekeeping's Team Leader of the Sudan
Operational Team Jack Christofides, who afterward briefed a Permanent
Five Security Council diplomat about the “logistics” of the
Security Council's recent trip to Sudan.
is the UN accomplishing with all this book publishing and self- and
Deng-promotion? As Deng concludes New
mark... is therefore pertinent.” Watch this site.
UN DPI and Mr. Akasaka, having debates with Q&A is
generally a good thing. But it was alleged by a panelist after
Tuesday's session that the purpose was to promote sales of a UN
official's book. This should be clarified. Mr. Akasaka at the end
mentioned possible future sessions on Haiti or Pakistan -- perhaps
Jean Maurice Ripert could lead that session, since he is still being
paid despite being relieved of his Pakistan envoy position. Could
there be a book deal in the works?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.