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UN Gassed Up SPLA, Lanzer Defends Inaction as Fighters Walked on By

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- Amid questions about why UN Peacekeepers just stood by this month as a column of Lou Nuer fighters marched by, and allegations that the UN Mission in South Sudan provides gasoline and other support to SPLA units which are perceived to take sides against the Murle, Inner City Press is asking questions. And getting some answers, if only on a delay.

  Last week Inner City Press asked about UNMISS providing gas to SPLA units and how the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, already in tatters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under Herve Ladsous, would apply.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office replied, but as if to a hypothetical question:

Subject: Your question on South Sudan.
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

A request for aviation fuel to aircraft of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army would be viewed as a request for “support” and would be subject to a risk assessment on the basis of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

In the event that such a request was approved, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) would take steps to monitor how the fuel is used in order to ensure that it not be diverted for other purposes.

In publishing the response, Inner City Press asked: was such a request made? Was it approved? Which units of the SPLA does UNMISS support? Because Ladsous is not credible in implementing or enforcing the stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

  On Monday July 22, Inner City Press thanked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky for Friday's written answer, but asked if such a request for gasoline had been submitted, and if so, approved. Now this has come in:

Subject: Your question on South Sudan
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question today about any request for aviation fuel by South Sudan, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has the following information:

UNMISS received such a request from the SPLA in late 2012. On the basis of the human rights due diligence policy, a task force reviewed the request for aviation fuel, which was premised on the SPLA's need to reach isolated groups of civilians at a time of escalating military operations by armed elements loyal to David Yau Yau. The request was granted and the fuel was delivered in November and December of last year to help the SPLA carry out its protection-of-civilians mandate and deter violence.

  What has happened since? The Free UN Coalition for Access, ever interested in the (lack of) responsiveness of UN social media, has asked South Sudan humanitarian Toby Lanzer about this assistance, so far without response. Lanzer has been defensive, saying "36 peacekeepers can secure a landing site for an UNHAS chopper to evacuate the wounded; but 36 cannot engage with thousands of armed youth."

  But couldn't and shouldn't they have sounded the alarm about the armed march?

  As we've said of late, OCHA seems to be losing its way, in the Ladsousification of the UN. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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