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On Sudan US, Norway and UK Say Elections Not Credible, Bashir to Indonesia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 20, more here -- After Sudan's elections such as they were took place, amid boycotts, on April 20 the US, Norway and UK put out this joint statement:

"The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) regret the Government of Sudan’s failure to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment. Restrictions on political rights and freedoms, counter to the rights enshrined in the Sudanese Constitution, the lack of a credible national dialogue, and the continuation of armed conflict in Sudan’s peripheries, are among the reasons for the reported low participation and very low voter turnout.  The outcome of these elections cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the Sudanese people.

"We condemn the acts of violence during the election period and continue to support those Sudanese who wish to peacefully advance a comprehensive and legitimate political process of dialogue, toward an end to the conflict, meaningful governance reform, and long-term stability."

Back on April 13, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman if there was any UN comment or role:

Inner City Press: about Sudan, I saw the Secretary-General's comment about the national dialogue but now that the election has begun and many people — basically the opposition parties are all boycotting it.  Is there any role by the UN country team there?

Spokesman:  Not that I'm aware of.

  On April 14 copies of the African Union's Pre-Election Assessment Mission to Sudan went online (here and h/t, h/t), saying that the AU mission consulted "stakeholders in Sudan from 2 to 9 March 2015. The stakeholders consulted included representatives from NEC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, political parties, candidates, civil society, media, women’s groups, Political Party Affairs Council, Human Rights Commission, Parliament, AU/UN Hybrid Operations in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), AU Liaison Office to Sudan, Arab League, IGAD, African Ambassadors, and European Union (EU) and ‘Troika’ (US, UK and Norway) Ambassadors."

 Speaking of UNAMID, Inner City Press on April 14 asked the UN's expert on Sexual Violence and Conflict Zainab Bangura about the Mission's cover up of rapes in Tabit in Darfur; she replied among other things that she has raised it to the AU.

The AU report concluded:

"The overwhelming demand of stakeholders is that elections be held after a comprehensive national dialogue process that would address not only the numerous challenges facing Sudan but also creates an enabling environment for the conduct of genuine and inclusive electoral process. Based on its findings and assessment, the pre-election assessment mission concludes that the necessary conditions and environment for the holding of transparent, competitive and credible elections as agreed in the AU principles governing democratic elections have not been satisfied."

  But it went ahead. And what has the UN said?

  Amid charges that the UN in Sudan, including Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping in Darfur, has colluded with the authorities in Khartoum to cover up rapes and killing, the UN in December said it would fight to keep its Resident Coordinator Ali Al Za'tari in the country.

  That was the UN's response to Za'tari being ordered to leave Sudan by January 2, Inner City Press first reported. Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported, and asked the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about, Sudan's ouster of UNDP Country Director Yvonne Heller on December 24.

  But did the UN follow through on its vow to push-back? No, the UN remained quiet when it ended up replacing Za'atari, as Inner City Press noticed and asked about on March 31, video here, transcript below

Inner City Press: I wanted to go back to Sudan, because remember there was that standoff about the Resident Coordinator Ali Za’atari, who has said that the UN is standing behind him and he won’t be PNG’d, and I saw an announcement that on March 21st, a new Resident Humanitarian Coordinator began work in Khartoum, Mr. Mustafa Bin Al Malih.  And so what happened?  And why didn’t the UN announce that they removed Mr. Za’atari as Resident Coordinator?

Deputy Spokesman:  We pressed for them to continue with Mr. Ali Za’atari and they continued with their objections.  Ultimately we do need to have somebody on the ground to do the work, although we do not accept that our impartial, neutral experts did not get permission to be on the ground to do their work.

Inner City Press: And has Yvonne Helle also been replaced as the representative of UNDP in the country?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe Ms. Helle left some time ago.  She was already out of the country when they took the decision so I believe there’s a process in place to make sure that the work is done.

 Back on December 25 after another inquiry by Inner City Press to Dujarric and UNDP, Dujarric sent this:

From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 1:31 PM
Subject: Re: Press request on Sudan PNG-ing Yvonne Helle (asked Dec 24) & now Dec 25 Ali Al-Za'tari
To: Matthew Lee [at]
Cc: UNDP, funca [at]

Matthew, The UN has filed a protest with the government of Sudan following their decision to request the departure of two senior UN officials from the country.

  So the UN filed a protest. But what about the UNFPA case in April, and aother one, in Darfur, which Inner City Press exclusively reported on in December?

On March 31, Inner City Press also asked on Myanmar:

Inner City Press: I heard your statement on behalf of or by Mr. Nambiar praising the country.  I just wanted to know:  has he or anyone else in the UN system have anything to say about the filing of criminal charges against the students who protested the national education law?  A number of… even some countries have [inaudible] this standoff in March where the peaceful demonstrators have been arrested.  Now the charges have been filed, they haven’t been released.  Is there any follow-up by the UN on that?

Deputy Spokesman:  We’ll check with Mr. Nambiar what he has to say on that.

  Six hours later and counting, nothing.

  On Sudan back on December 24, Inner City Press similarly exclusively reported and then asked the UN Spokesman about UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle being ordered out of Sudan, citing her and Al-Za'tari's e-mails. Video here.

  A full day after that, Reuters reported on Helle's ouster -- typically, for Reuters, with no credit to the Press' prior exclusive story. (Reuters' UN bureau chief has said he has a policy of not crediting Inner City Press' exclusive, and has gone to far as to censor, Sudan-style, his "for the record" anti-Press complains to the UN, click here for that, via EFF's

   On December 24, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Sudan having just similarly "PNG-ed" or declared persona non-grata the Sudan Country Director of the UN Development Program Yvonne Helle, with Za'tari barely pushing back against the government.

  Dujarric said that host countries' ordered to PNG a UN staff member are treated seriously and should be sent to, and considered and acted on by, Ban's Secretariat in New York. But Dujarric in the 18 hours after Inner City Press asked about Helle has not returned with any information or answer. Then Reuters published its story, with no credit.

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