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UN Refuses to Confirm Darfur Rapes After 11 Days, Speaks Only of South Sudan Referendum Off the Record

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 4 -- Eleven days after reported rapes by Sudanese government authorities in Tawilla right next to peacekeepers of the UN - African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, the UN in New York still refused to deny or confirm and explain inaction on the rapes.

The rape took place on Christmas, after which Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky repeatedly about the incident. No answer was provided then, nor at the first in person press briefing since Christmas, on January 4.

  Inner City Press asked again, citing a report now in the UN's own ReliefWeb site. That's another one you asked the previous week, Nesirky said, as if that were responsive. He said he would revert “when we get an answer.” Video here, from Minute 34:50.

  But one would assume that the UN's $1 billion UNAMID mission, headed by Ibrahim Gambari, would be able to answer an e-mail from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman in less than eleven days.

  Some surmise that the UN is looking away from abuses in Darfur in order to focus on the referendum in Southern Sudan, on which the UN has scheduled a press briefing for January 5 by two officials who will refuse to let their names be used.

  Ban's envoy for the referendum Haile Menkerios on New Years Eve on the record praised the “courage” and leadership of Sudanese president Omar al Bashir, whose forces are accused of the rapes the UN has refused for 11 days to confirm.

  Likewise, Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq have refused to confirm or deny that Ban's Department of Political Affairs told NGOs that, among other things, they do not expect results from the referendum until February 2.

  “When we get an answer,” Nesirky said on January 4, cutting off the question. So does DPA not answer Nesirky's calls?

UNAMID views Darfur from APC, rapes not shown or confirmed

   Or is this all a ruse not to answer simple factual questions that the UN deems inconvenient, such as about rape right next to UN peacekeepers in Darfur?

  In front of the UN Security Council on January 4, a diplomat of a Permanent Five member stopped to tell Inner City Press that while the Council will meet at least three times about Sudan this month, “the outstanding issues are more important than the referendum itself.” Watch this site.

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On Sudan, UN Ends 2010 in Dream World on Darfur & Rape, Praising ICC-Indicted Bashir's "Leadership" & Courage

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 31 -- The UN in Sudan is living in a dream world. As President Omar al Bashir ended participation in the Darfur peace talks in Doha, UN envoy to Sudan Haile Menkerios praised Bashir's “courage” and leadership.

   The joint UN - African Union mediator Djibril Bassole issued a UN propaganda statement about the Doha process, entirely ignoring Bashir's move and the facts on the ground.

Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman about reported rapes near UN peacekeepers in Darfur and was told to just “ask UNAMID.”

  But ever since Inner City Press in October with the UN Security Council visited the Joint UN - African Union Mission in Darfur inquiring about UNAMID's Ibrahim Gambari's moves to hand five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur over to Bashir, that Mission has refused to answer any of the questions Inner City Press has submitted.

  Meanwhile Ban's spokesman has simply ignored and refused to acknowledge receipt of this question:

On Sudan, please confirm or deny that the Department of Political Affairs in a recent briefing to NGOs said that

UN projects no consolidated results before end Jan – result likely to be announced February 2.

Major technical challenges now are training staff, deploying materials, and being ready to handle results management (this is still a serious risk because little done to prepare for results period)

Probability of extension to polling remains high

UN's Ban & Bashir, amid praise of "courage," rapes & answers not shown

Arab League visit to Sudan (Qaddafi and Mubarak) - castigated Bashir, pretty clear now that LAS will not try to spoil what is almost international consensus on recognition - there is even talk they will offer an independent S. Sudan membership in the LAS.

Bosnian Presidency likely to take cues from US and UK.

  Ban's Spokesman's Office has now twice ignored this question about statements that NGOs have to Inner City Press attributed to Ban's DPA. The UN tries to live in its own world about Sudan. But in 2011, this will be more difficult. Watch this site.

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.

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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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