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

On Darfur, UN Won't Confirm Village Burning, Pledges Action on Sudan Data Block

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, 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.

  Back 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 Sudan's government.

But 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.)

  On 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.

  Depending on 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.

  Inner 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.”

Ms. 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

Since UN Humanitarian Coordinator Charpentier has recently praised the Sudanese government for allowing access to Jebel Marra. So which is it?

Sudan 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.

* * *

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.

Gambari, hiding in plain sighting, CAT violation not shown

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.

* * *

UN Won't Count IDPs in Darfur or Soldiers in Sudan, Gambari to Violate Convention Against Torture?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- 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 border.

  In Sudan, however, the UN is hitting new lows. Earlier this month covering the Security Council's trip through the country, Inner City Press exposed how UN Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier was downplaying and even covering up the destruction of villages in Jebel Marra like Soro, and the blockade of Internally Displaced Persons' camps like the one being disassembled in Kalma.

  Now back in New 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.

   While from the former, the Security Council was blocked from visiting by the government, the latter has a Rwandan battalion of UNAMID peacekeepers.

  Haq responded with 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.

  To many, it 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

  Meanwhile Gambari's counterpart at the UN Mission in (South) Sudan, Haile Menkerios, was caught in a misstatement of fact, according to reporters who cover him.

   In an October 18 press conference, Menkerios told Xinhua -- 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.”

  But senior southern army officer Mat Paul told an enterprising 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.”

UNMIS “lies,” according 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?

Footnote: UNAMID's Ibrahim Gambari's 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.

He replied that no 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.

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] -