Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh
Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.
UNITED NATIONS, June
29 -- The rights of Ugandan civilians have been abused by government soldiers,
leading the UN Development Programme to halt its programs in eastern Uganda,
Kofi Annan's spokeswoman Marie Okabe
on Thursday. (Video is here, answer is Minute 11 to 13:35.) While clearer than
before in acknowledging abuses by the Ugandan People's Defense Force, which
Inner City Press has reported on for the past eleven days, this statement does
not address what the Ugandan government's funders knew and when they knew it.
UNDP has repeatedly declined to answer this question, which has been put to it
in writing and orally, or has left its answers vague and not, it's said, to be
however is AllAfrica.
statement issued in Kampala on Thursday, three paragraphs in length, waited
until its last terse sentence to disclose that "pending clarification from the
Government of Uganda on the current disarmament approach in Karamoja, UNDP
Uganda has suspended its support to activities related to the KIDDP."
last stands for the Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and Development Plan, a copy
of which Inner City Press has obtained. The KIDDP lists a number of funding
partners, including the Danish International Development Agency, the European
Union, the World Bank, the government of Italy, Germany's GTZ, USAID,
Netherlands' SNV, Ireland's DCI, and the UN agencies World Food Programme and
UNDP. Since UNDP initially named Denmark as the funder of disarmament programs
in eastern Uganda, Inner City Press last week asked the Danish mission to the UN
for its comment on specific allegations of abuses in Karamoja. "It will take
time to look into," the mission's spokesman said. On Thursday Inner City Press
asked the Danish Ambassador to the UN, the outgoing Security Council president.
The World Food Programme was asked for comment a week ago but no response has
been received. The inquiries will continue.
With regard to
UNDP, the statement is undated, and cannot itself be the warning which UNDP
states it has given. Some surmise that the abuses were to meet the aggressive
gun-collection targets, even to provide a photo-op. As with photography,
transparency would have been better from the beginning, and is still being
the UN on Thursday, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan spoke to the press about the
June 17 meeting in Almaty of the 18 member Conference on Interaction and
Confidence Building Measures in Asia, called CICA and pronounced seek-a.
Thailand is a member; the Ambassador said diplomatically that the Thai deputy
foreign minister is an attractive candidate to become UN Secretary General.
Kazakhstan has reportedly pledged its support to Bangkok, just as Uzbekistan has
opened traded its vote to South Korea in exchange for an ongoing energy sales
about Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan's pattern of returning dissidents to that
country to face torture, that Inner City Press questioned Ambassador Yerzhan
Kazykhanov, specifically about the recent arrest of Gabdurafikh Temirbaev. The
Kazakh Ambassador's response, after saying that Kazakhstan gets along fine with
UNHCR, was that Kazakhstan wants and needs prosperous and stable neighbors. One
could infer that he meant that returning dissidents to Uzbekistan makes that
country and its Karimov regime more stable. Through the OSSG, Inner City Press
has asked what the UN and UNHCR are doing to stop the trend of refoulement
to Uzbekistan, which has already taken place from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, is
constantly threatened from Kyrgyzstan, and is now said to be happening in real
(media) time to a person, Gabdurafikh Temirbaev, who UNHCR reportedly on June 16
deemed to be a refugee? What guidance might the UN or UNHCR give to the
organizations and members in the CICA and of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization? Kofi Annan at his June 15 press conference answered that he is
aware of those facing refoulement from Kyrgyzstan, the transcript is
-- but what about Kazakhstan's refoulements of Uzbeks? We'll see.
This time the
stories connect, thusly: despite Uzbekistan's record, and UNHCR being tossed out
of the country by Karimov, UNDP has not retracted its praise of the regime. And
so it goes...
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