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On S. Kordofan Report, Sudan Declares Victory, Blames UN for Abyei Lack of SOFA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- After the UN Security Council took no action Friday on the report of war crimes by Sudan in Southern Kordofan, with inaction by UN peacekeepers airbrushed out, Inner City Press asked UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay to explain her deletion of portions of the draft report. She claimed not to know about them. Her staff promised to respond by e-mail, but seven hours later had not.

At two pm with no other reporters around, Sudanese Permanent Representative to the UN Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman emerged from the Council and spoke with Inner City Press, which asked, how did it go?

"You know we are righteous people," Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press, "today is a holy day, Friday for us as Muslims, our prayers to the Almighty, we have defeated faulty, groundless allegations."

Since UN TV was not in operation, perhaps due to UN budget cuts, Inner City Press began filming Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman. He said, "We have conveyed to all members of the SC that we have two reservations on the report. First of all , it's a preliminary report." See YouTube video, here and embedded below.

He went on to say that his government would itself investigate the allegations. Inner City Press asked, by when? In two weeks, he said.

He then said, making news, that his government had agreed to allow in to Southern Kordofan a UN humanitarian assessment mission.

Too-dark YouTube video by

Inner City Press asked about top UN humanitarian Valerie Amos' statement that visas were being blocked, amplified by her staff's email to Inner City Press that

"Humanitarian agencies have raised concerns on S Kordofan with various international mediators, including Thabo Mbeki, the head of the AU high level implementing panel on Sudan, and with Haile Menkerios, the UN Special Envoy. I think the Govt Sudan has said it sees the situation in S Kordofan as an internal matter - the international community is still trying to raise awareness of humanitarian issues and concerns. Since mid-July, only three international staff have received travel permits for South Kordofan."

  Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said, on (YouTube) camera, that very few visas have been requested from his Mission.

  Later, when UN TV re-opened, Inner City Press asked there if Sudan would allow the UN to rescue injured peacekeepers from Abyei by flying from Wau in South Sudan, as was recently blocked. Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman replied that the government has been ready to negotiate a new Status of Forces Agreement, but the UN has not sent anyone to negotiate.

UN TV seemed to be filming this, so Inner City Press stopped. But six hours later, the footage is not online. In the middle of the stakeout, a fire alarm went off. Only at the UN. Watch this site.

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Pillay Report on S. Kordofan Edited Out Critique of UN & Sudan Red Crescent, Shifted IDPs Out of Protective Perimeter

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- As the UN Security Council takes up the Southern Kordofan report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the portions most critical, including of the UN itself, were removed from Pillay's "final" report.

  Inner City Press, which put the initial draft of the report online, has since August 15 been asking why a reference to UN peacekeepers of the Egyptian battalion being present as an SPLM-North member was killed was deleted in Pillay's final report.

  "The published report was shortened and was brought in line qualitatively with UN standards," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Inner City Press on August 15. On August 18 outside the Security Council, Pillay took only two questions, none of Southern Kordofan.

  A closer reading of the draft and final reports shows systematic underplaying of abuses by Sudan, and letting UN peacekeepers off the hook.

 Beyond the airbrushing out of UN peacekeepers between Paragraph 29 of the draft report and Paragraph 19 of the final versions, the draft described inaction as Sudan's police and militia violated the UN's "Protective" Perimeter:

"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."

  The final version changes the location to "outside the UNMIS protective perimeter" --

"30. On 8 June, UNMIS Human Rights witnessed the movement of four armed men (two armed men in civilian clothes and two Central Reserve Police) carrying weapons in and out of the IDP area situated outside the UNMIS protective perimeter."

Whole incidents, for example with the Sudanese Red Crescent, were omitted from Pillay's final report. The draft reported

"53. As of the morning of 20 June, there were about 11,000 IDPs in and around the vicinity of the UNMIS Protective Perimeter, most of whom had come from Kadugli and its immediate environs. In an attempt to force these IDPs to return back to their homes, it is believed that National Security agents, donning Sudan Red Crescent vests, came to the UNMIS Protective Perimeter and requested all the IDPs to relocate to the Kadugli Stadium by 17:00 that same day where they would be addressed by state authorities on the security situation and where they would be provided basic services including shelter in schools. Human Rights verified this allegation through multiple interviews of IDPs within the UNMIS Protective Perimeter.

54. UNMIS Human Rights also observed a well known National Security agent wearing a Sudan Red Crescent reflective vest intimidating IDPs. When approached and questioned by UNMIS Human Rights the agent identified himself as a NSS agent and said he had received instructions from state-level authorities to move out IDPs from the UNMIS Protective Perimeter. IDPs interviewed said that they were informed by Sudan Red Crescent personnel that they must evacuate the Protective Perimeter by 16:00 and that they feared the Central Reserve Police would evacuate them forcibly if they did not leave the premises."

  This incident is entirely omitted from the final report, in which the Sudanese Red Crescent is mentioned only once, as a source of data for Pillay.

  These edits and omissions are significant: but will Pillay answer the Press, or will Security Council members even ask her?

 As noted, when US Ambassador Susan Rice appeared the same day the report came out on the Steven Colbert comedy show, she said "the blue helmet guys are protecting the people who are the victims of conflict and protecting those that are delivering the assistance in many parts of the world. So they’re good guys..."

  While this is surely true in some situations, Inner City Press is informed that even the UN's Haile Menkerios, who approved the use of UN helicopter to fly Southern Kordofan government Ahmed Haroun, indicted by the International Criminal Court, to Abyei said while in Juba in July he would never again accept or use Egyptian peacekeepers.

The Anglican Bishop of Kadugli told Inner City Press that the Egyptian troops used by the UN there were too close to Khartoum, and sided with the government.

    For example which Inner City Press raised August 15 to the UN, the initial report stated  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.)

  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."

  How can Pillay justify airbrushing out the presence of inactive UN peacekeepers? 

  On August 15 at the UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, click here for that exchange. and watch this site.

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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