As UN Is Blocked from Tabarat Killing Site, It Claims It
Resists Sudan Restrictions
September 8 -- While in Sudan the UN claims to be
“insisting” on its rights to free movement under its agreements
with the government, in practice the UN refuses to go out to sites
where civilians have been killed without first receiving government
approval, it has emerged.
case in point is the Tabarat
Market in North Darfur, where more then
50 people were killed earlier this month. As Inner City Press
documented with internal UN documents, the UN peacekeepers nearby at
Tawilla told relatives of those killed and injured that they could
not go to the site without approval from El Fashir, and it now
appears clear, from Sudanese authorities.
September 7, UN
acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told Inner City Press that “this
of approval is a standard procedural process.” Since the
Security Council has given the UN Mission, UNAMID, a mandate of
protecting civilians, for Haq to call awaiting approval to offer
protection “standard” seemed strange.
7, Inner City Press asked UN Peacekeeping deputy chief Atul Khare
about the restrictions which Haq had called standard. Khare intoned
that such restrictions would be in violation of the UN's agreements
with the government of Sudan.
that “[o]n 7 September, a UNAMID on its way from El Fasher
to Tarabat was stopped by a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) convoy and
were informed by the commanding officer not to return before two
this restriction seems to contradict what Atul Khare said on
September 7, video here.
also seems to
contract what Haq told Inner City Press, that “on 7 September, a
UNAMID mission traveled to Tawilla to further assess the impact of
the violence.” Rather, UNAMID describes a convoy from El Fashir to
Tabarat being stopped and not allow to proceed.
asked Haq on September 8 to explain these contradictions, to state
what the UN's actual policy is about awaiting approvals to move and
accepting restrictions on movement. Haq simply re-read what he had
said the previous day. Video here,
from Minute 10:28
document obtained and published by Inner City Press about the
September 2 to 4 delay, and UNAMID's admission of being blocked on
September 7, Haq claimed that “we do not require approval.” He
went on to say that “different parties inform us of actions,
combats, which affect our movements.”
the delay from
September 2 to 4 was not based on any communication of danger by the
government, rather on a policy of not moving out from a UN base like
Tawilla, even to a site of killing of civilians like the Tabarat
Market, without approvals from El Fashir and, it's clear, the
government of Sudan.
asked Haq to explain the delay announced by the UN peacekeeping
“people at Tawilla” on September 2.
“I don't speak
for the Tawilla people,” Haq said, refusing to take any more
questions on the matter.
tell Inner City Press that it is well known that the UN accepts
restrictions on its movement. In fact, even the UN's John Holmes,
before he left, said that the UN has since February accepted a
restriction on any movement to Jebel Marra.
Khare, this violates the UN's rights to movement under its agreements
with the government. Why dissemble about it? Where is the Security
Council, and members like the U.S. -- silent so far on this -- the UK
and France -- on this? Watch this site.
UN's Ban and Sudan's Bashir, restrictions on
movement and bleed-outs not shown
is the UNAMID
document obtained by Inner City Press:
about 1800hrs on 02 Sep 2010, UNAMID Police Advisors received
unconfirmed information from locals in Tawilla IDP camp that
unidentified armed men attacked Tabarat Market near Maral village
about 28kms southwest of Tawilla, where about 30 people were killed
and more than 70 others were injured.
information was received by the PF Force Commander Major Aimable
Rukondo from relatives of victims in Tawilla IDP camp. At about
2030hrs, people from the Tawilla IDP camp gathered near the gate of
Tawilla UNAMID Base requesting for assistance to evacuate their
relatives who were in Tabarat market. The PF Commander together with
the Acting Team Site Commander advised the relatives that prior
approval from El Fasher Headquarters is needed before proceeding to
the place and with that they were advised to be back to Tawilla Base
tomorrow morning for possible medical evacuation movement to Tabarat
market once it has been approved by the higher Headquarters.”
from the UN
transcript of its September 7 noon briefing; the September 8 is
Press: There’s also, and I’m sure African Union-United
Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is aware of this, reports
that UNAMID said they confirmed some of, of up to 37 people killed in
a village, in a market — Tabarat Market near the town of Tawilla —
that said that the United Nations peacekeepers were told of the
attack and said that they could not go to pick up even the wounded
until they got approval from Al-Fasher. What I want to know is
whether, how long it took them to respond and whether this approval
included approval from the Government in Khartoum and if so, whether
if any of the people expired there of their injuries might have been
saved had the United Nations actually gone to protect civilians?
Well, first of all, this process of approval is a standard
procedural process. But in terms of the details, on 4 September a
UNAMID patrol gained access to the Tabarat area. It observed that
Tabarat was practically deserted and reported the presence of
Government police in the area. Today, 7 September, a UNAMID mission
travelled to Tawilla to further assess the impact of the violence.
UNAMID has made efforts to assist in evacuating some of the injured
victims by air to Al-Fasher. In terms of our estimated casualties,
the Tabarat incident left more that 50 people dead and a large number
Press: Tawilla, to my understanding there’s a Peacekeeping
unit there… that there are peacekeepers stationed there. Is that
true? So did UNAMID sort of buttress its presence there and why
weren’t those people able to go after they were told by relatives
of those injured that this attack had taken place in the market?
I think I have some further details for you for afterwards, but
basically in terms of the ability to gain access, as soon as we
gained access, that was on the 4 September, a UNAMID patrol did go
into the area. The difficulty is in dealing with access to areas on
Press: Just one last… that means that… somebody there gave
me a copy of a United Nations document showing that the relatives of
the deceased or the injured had approached the UN peacekeepers of
Tawilla and were told “we can’t go there tonight. We have to
come back tomorrow because we need approval from Al-Fasher.” And
I’m just wondering, how does the approval process work? Is it as
simple as calling UNAMID in Al-Fashir and they say yes you can go
out, or does it involve reaching the Government if their offices are
closed or not and how does it…
It varies from case to case, but ultimately it depends on dealing
with authority on the ground to make sure that approval is in place
for our deployment.
video of Atul
Khare saying that this violates the UN's agreements with Sudan is
* * *
UN Admits 50 Dead in Tabarat, Khare Says Sudan Shouldn't
Russell Lee, Exclusive
September 7 -- The killings in
Darfur were described to the
UN Security Council late on Tuesday, by UN Peacekeeping deputy Atul
Khare. Afterwards Inner City Press asked first US Ambassador Susan
Rice, then Khare, about the killings, and restrictions on the UN's
ability to protect civilians in Darfur.
even read from, the notes read out earlier on Tuesday by acting
Deputy UN Spokesman Farhan Haq in response to Inner City Press'
questions. The UNAMID mission, he said, was able to get to the
Tabarat Market on September 4 and found it almost empty. It went back
on September 7 and now estimates that 50 people were killed.
City Press asked, about the document it obtained showing that UNAMID
peacekeepers initially declined to go to Tabarat, saying they needed
approval from El Fashir and, it seems, Khartoum?
would be a restriction on the movement of UNAMID, and therefore
impermissible. Video here.
Haq said that such approvals were “the
normal procedure.” Video here,
from Minute 10:21. Which is it?
Khare in the Council, "normal" restrictions on UNAMID not shown
surprisingly to some, deferred to Khare. Video here.
Equally surprising, it was
France and not the U.S. which requested the Darfur briefing. While
some say that it is Scott Gration minimizing the upsurge in killings
in Darfur, of late the US Mission to the UN is hardly leading on the
issue. The rapes in Congo are terrible, but the US Mission should be
able to lead on more than one issue at once, shouldn't it? Watch this
said that in
the IDP camp in West Darfur, nine people were killed, and more
injured. Those who are followers of Abdul Wahid Nour did not accept
transport to Zalingei, fearing for their lives -- or fearing being
turned over by UNAMID to the government. They were treated in the
camp. Inner City Press asked Khare to respond to JEM's request that
the UN's (and African Union's) Ibrahim Gambari resign, for failure to
protect civilians. Khare declined to answer. But afterward, outside
on First Avenue, he promised that he and his staff will be a font of
answers. We look forward to it.
Update of 8:40 pm --
from the US Mission transcript:
Press: we understand that France called for some kind of
consultation at the end on Darfur and the killings. Can you say what
information was transmitted and the what the US thinks of the events
in Zalingei Camp and also in Jebel Marra where the janjaweed
apparently killed 50 people over the weekend?
Well, we just heard a brief summary of what information is
available to the Secretariat on the violence that occurred over the
last several days in Darfur. Obviously we are gravely concerned about
it, we are awaiting further information and so there is still much
that is unknown. I will let Assistant Secretary General Khare, since
he is here, give you any more detail.