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

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 said “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.

* * *

UN Peacekeeping Dreams On of Abyei, No Mention of Darfur or W. Sahara

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- Sudan, or at least part of Sudan, was the hot topic when top UN peacekeepers Alain Le Roy and Susana Malcorra met Monday afternoon with the Non-Aligned Movement Working Group on Peacekeeping.

  In the closed door meeting, Le Roy described contingency plans based on what happens with the South Sudan referendum. If South Sudan becomes independent -- by vote or unilaterally, it seems -- the UN plans to reconfigure in Juba and add “peacebuilding” to its work.

  While Le Roy said that the South Sudan and Abyei referendums should both be done on January 9, Abyei in particular seems off track for that deadline.

  If, as seems unlikely, unity is chosen, the UN will try to keep civil peace. Given the UN peacekeepers often stay in their base, in the Congo and in Darfur, while civilians are attacked, it is not clear what the UN would do in the case of war.

The sources were amazed at how little -- “nothing,” said one -- Le Roy and Malcorra spoke of the UN - African Union Mission in Darfur, UNAMID. “This is why Gambari is able to build his empire,” one of the sources marveled. “Even DPKO doesn't oversee him.”

Le Roy & Malcorra, Abyei referendum, Darfur & Gambari oversight not shown

  This silence on Darfur, even from UN Peacekeeping, takes place as violence escalates, with the village of Soro destroyed and fighting spreading throughout Jebel Marra.

Le Roy spoke about the upcoming election in Cote d'Ivoire, and said that the Mission in Timor Leste might soon end.

  While the Polisario Front said it was meeting with Le Roy at 12:15 on Monday, the topic of Western Sahara was another vast emptiness in the UN Peacekeeping briefings. Whatever happened to the protection of civilians? Watch this site.

* * *

In Darfur, Gambari Criticizes Nur & Inner City Press on Video, Transcription Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

DARFUR, October 8 -- Peacekeepers were sent to Darfur after reports of a brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.

Now top peacekeeper Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents leaked to and published by Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.

Several members of the UN Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and “Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali Karti.

On the UN plane Thursday to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the Council.

After a closed door meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari and two of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press. Gambari called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents “reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful... lives are at stake.”  Transcription below.

  Yeah, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”

  Gambari's statements to Inner City Press were caught on video and will soon be published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of Gambari's UNAMID compound:

Inner City Press asked Ibrahim Gambari, “What's happen with the Kalma Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government... or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”

Gambari answered: “Here is the situation. We have these five sheikhs who have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27 peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”

Inner City Press asked about Abdel Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his group would not cooperate with the UN any more.

Gambari responded, “you quote words Abdel Wahid was supposed to have said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”

Of Abdel Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost before he comes.”

“Matthew, I'm very angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people indefinitely?”

Inner City Press said, “Several Security Council members, when they saw the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this Mission overseen by the Security Council?”

Gambari said “Ask them. Ask the S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international community is key to finding a solution.”

Inner City Press said, as Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle, “Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's probably a good thing.”

“No,” Gambari said. “Believe me, lives are at stake.”

Or maybe jobs, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation. “Is this what the UN should be doing?” Watch this site.

Footnote: it's worth noting that even before Inner City Press obtained and published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication of other leaked documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.

  That time, before the UN's September 24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old” (2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?

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] -