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In Final S. Kordofan Report, UN Airbrushes Out Its Own Inaction, Cover-Up?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 15 -- When the UN released its final, edited human rights report on Southern Kordofan on August 15, references to inaction by UN peacekeepers had been dropped. The initial report, which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople continually derided as "leaked" and subject to editing by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, stated for example that

"29. On 8 June, an UNMIS independent contractor (IC) was pulled out of a vehicle by SAF in front of the UNMIS Kadugli Sector IV Compound in the presence of several witnesses, while UN peacekeepers could not intervene. He was taken around the corner of the compound and gunshots were heard. Later he was discovered dead by UNMIS personnel and IDPs. Several sources confirmed that the victim was an active SPLM member." (Emphasis added.)

  Weeks later, when the edited version was released, this paragraph appeared with the key phrase "while UN peacekeepers could not intervene" entirely removed, as if the Egyptian UN peacekeepers had not been there:

"17. On 8 June, an UNMIS individual contractor (IC) was pulled out of a vehicle by SAF in front of the UNMIS Kadugli Sector IV compound in the presence of several witnesses. He was taken away from the vicinity of the compound and gunshots were heard. Later he was discovered dead by UNMIS personnel and IDPs. Several sources confirmed that the victim was an active SPLM member."

There are other difference betwen the original and edited reports. But how can the UN justify airbrushing out the presence of its inactive peacekeepers? Inner City Press asked the Anglical Bishop of Kadugli about the peacekeepers, and he said the Egyptian troops were not impartial, were close to Khartoum and did nothing. Now the UN system airbrushes it out.

Ban & Pillay & Deputy Kang, Kordofan report edits not shown

Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice last week about the UN's withholding and editing of its report and she replied:

"On Kordofan, let me just say-yes, we're looking forward to the release of the report that we requested back in June. We think that it's important for the United Nations-whether it's through its dwindling presence on the ground or through the human rights agencies and authorities-to give us, the member states, as clear a picture as they can of the unfolding humanitarian circumstances in Southern Kordafan, and to provide insight and investigate the allegations of abuses."

Now on the UN's airbrushing out of its own inaction and complicity, what will the US, France, UK, South Sudan, other member states and even NGOs do? Watch this site.

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At UN on Sudan, Darfur in Darkness, Kordofan Report Delayed, Will Pillay Explain?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 12 -- At the UN less and less is done about Sudan, on government abuses in Darfur and Southern Kordofan, regarding which the UN is withholding a damning human right report, which criticizes UN inaction, for well more than a week now.

  Three week ago UN official Ivan Simonovic told the Press that the report, an advance copy of which Inner City Press had already put online, would be released in two weeks. Now it still has not been, but the UN will not explain and instead seeks to further limit questions from the press.

  Simonovic's boss Navi Pillay will brief the Security Council on August 18, along with top UN humanitarian Valerie Amos; the topic as bragged about by the French mission will by Syria, with nothing on Sudan.

   The withheld report, as "leaked," says that UN peacekeepers then under the ultimate control of now departed DPKO chief Alain Le Roy did nothing as civilians were killed. For example:

42. On 8 June, UNMIS Human Rights witnessed the movement of four armed men (two armed civilians and two Central Reserve Police) carrying weapons in and out of the UNMIS Protective Perimeter without any intervention from the UNMIS peacekeepers guarding the premises.

   With the top UN Peacekeeping post now empty at this important time, with another Frenchman, mostly likely Jerome Bonnafont, in waiting, perhaps this explains DPKO blocking-by-edits the report, and Pillay's so far limited August 18 agenda for briefing the Council.

At the UN's noon briefing on August 12, Inner City Press posed several Sudan questions to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: Sudanese armed forces helicopters are buzzing and making hostile movements around the Zamzam refugee camp in Darfur. So I wanted to know, is that something that UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] is aware of?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: We’d have to check whether it is. As is the case, some of these reports on the ground have not checked out. But we’ll check with UNAMID to see whether this is, whether this holds up.

Inner City Press: And what about the Southern Kordofan human rights report, I think Mr. Simonovic, it was three weeks ago today, was in here and said it would be released in two weeks. What’s the hold up?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: There is no hold up. It’s being finalized, and when we know for sure that it is coming out, we will certainly tell you.

  If there's no hold up, why does it take more than three weeks to "finalize" a completed report about a situation as grave as Southern Kordofan?

  Meanwhile in the Security Council on Southern Kordofan, the US only asked for a press statement, and according to the US Mission's statement given Friday to AP withdrew even that, blaming Russia and China. (For a UNSC Press Statement, any Council member can block it, not only the Permanent veto wielding members.)

  Now one wonders if the US, or France or UK, will at least have Pillay and Amos when they are in the Council give an update on Southern Kordofan, including the UN report that seems to be getting swept under the rug.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

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