On Darfur, UN Won't
Confirm Village Burning, Pledges Action on
Sudan Data Block
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 26 -- While on Darfur the UN continues to say it is
unable to confirm its own report of attacks on six villages in East
Jebel Marra, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos on Tuesday told Inner
City Press she has “asked someone to go down to Sudan from here in
Headquarters” to see how to improve UN reporting of malnutrition
and other data. Video here,
from Minute 9:38.
on September 15, Inner City Press first asked Ms. Amos about the UN's
discontinuation of reporting global malnutrition data for Darfur. Ms.
Amos said that the UN was trying to do “joint assessments” with
later, UNICEF's Sudan
Representative Nils Kastberg said that the Sudanese
government has been blocking collection and release of such
information. Inner City Press raised this
on October 21 to the UN Special
Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter, who said he would
look into it as a
violation if he receives a formal complaint (which he now has.)
October 26, Inner City Press asked Ms. Amos the question again, and
she said “I have discussed [it] with the team... there is an issue
of capacity.” Someone - it is not clear who - has been dispatched
from New York to Sudan to see how to improve the reporting.
what is done, the UN could end its own violations of the right to
food -- but the Sudanese government, it seems ever more clear, has
been in violation.
City Press also asked Ms. Amos about the statement, in the OCHA
Darfur Weekly handed to the Press by the UN's Humanitarian
Coordinators for Sudan Georg Charpentier about “intense ground
fighting and aerial attacks in Eastern Jebel Marra over the past
week, with several villages heavily affected, including Sora [Soro],
which was completely burned down.”
Amos responded by reading out a weeks old statement handed to her by
the spokesman UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky, saying
that the information -- in an
OCHA report -- is “sketchy” due to lack of access.
UN's Ban & Ms. Amos, Soro confirmation
& Darfur data not shown
UN Humanitarian Coordinator Charpentier has recently praised the
Sudanese government for allowing access to Jebel Marra. So which is
is a large country,” Ms. Amos said, noting that the government
could provide access in some places and not others. But why then
Charpentier's fulsome praise? Ms. Amos said the UN will now do
everything it can to confirm. We'll see - watch this site.
* * *
Data, Allowed by UN, Raised to Right to Food
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.
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.
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,
Schutter told Inner City Press that he will investigate the
complaints if provided with sufficient prima facie evidence. Video here,
Minute 37. This has now been done.
De Schutter in Geneva, action on Sudan not yet shown
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
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.
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.'
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.'
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
has now been
submitted to Special Rapporteur de Schutter by Inner City Press.
Watch this site.
* * *
Hand Over to Bashir in Sudan, Torture Complaint Mulled at
-- Could the UN, or the chief of its peacekeeping
mission in Darfur
Ibrahim Gambari, be on the verge of violating the UN Convention Against
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
genocide, war crimes and, yes, torture. Video here,
“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.
Gambari, hiding in plain sighting, CAT violation not shown
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,
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.
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 or Soldiers in Sudan, Gambari to Violate
Convention Against Torture?
-- The UN routinely fails at stopping conflict,
even at stopping rape. But it continues to be counted on to at least
do some counting. It issues reports, to the Security Council and to
the public, about how many security patrols its mission in Darfur
UNAMID conducted, or how many ceasefire violations occurred across a
the UN is hitting new lows. Earlier this month covering the Security
Council's trip through the country, Inner City Press exposed
Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier was downplaying and even
covering up the destruction of villages in Jebel Marra like Soro,
Displaced Persons' camps like the one
being disassembled in Kalma.
York, Inner City Press on October 19 asked Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny
reports of increased aerial bombardment in Jebel Marra, and a stream
of IDPs to the camps in Shangil Tobaya and Tawila.
former, the Security Council was blocked from visiting by the
government, the latter has a Rwandan battalion of UNAMID
an old statement from Charpentier about Soro, how hard it is to
know. But, Inner City Press asked, can't the UN count the number of
new IDPs arriving, at least at the camps in which it has
peacekeepers? Haq did not answer this simple question of fact. Video here.
appears that the UN, or at least its UNAMID mission under Ibrahim
Gambari, is trying to help cover up the Omar al Bashir regime's
renewed push of ethnic cleansing in Darfur.
Gambari with UK Lyall Grant, US Susan Rice, IDP
counts and CAT not shown
at the UN Mission in (South) Sudan, Haile Menkerios, was
caught in a misstatement of fact, according to reporters who cover
October 18 press conference, Menkerios told
reportedly one of the media organizations whose Sudanese staff was
thrown off the UN Security Council plane by UNMIS in Juba -- that his
Mission hasn't investigated troop build ups on the border of North
and South Sudan because there were only “in the press.”
army officer Mat Paul told
reporter “U.N. officials were not owning up to
their lack of access. 'This year, the build-up of SAF (northern army)
started in June in South Kordofan and other areas and we've been
raising this several times with the U.N.' said Paul, who is the
SPLA's representative in the joint north-south ceasefire monitoring
commission (CJMC) chaired by the United Nations. 'They...just keep
quiet so there is no monitoring,' he said.”
to local reporters, to cover up that it has given in to
Khartoum's blockage of access to monitor troop build ups. UNAMID in
Darfur simply refuses to even count incoming IDPs. Both are (mis?) run
by Ban Ki-moon's Department
of Peacekeeping Operations, although Gambari often freelances.
At what point has
the UN become complicit?
planned turn over to the al Bashir regime
of five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur may, it was argued
Tuesday at the UN, violate the spirit and even letter of Article 3 of
the Convention against Torture. Inner City Press asked the chairman
of the Committee Against Torture Claudio Grossman if the obligation
not to hand anyone over to a government accused of torture applied to
the UN and UNAMID. Video here.
one should make such a turn over, and that arguments can be made
about the applicability of the law to the UN (and by implication
Gambari). Watch this site.
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.