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On Abyei, Ban Won't Disclose Rights Plan Until After July 9, Bashir Will Be There: Handshakes or Handcuffs?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 27 -- After a fight in the Security Council about including a human rights monitoring unit in the upcoming Ethiopian force in Abyei, the Council on Monday adopted a resolution that merely “requests the Secretary-General to ensure that effective human right monitoring is carried out.” But how?

  Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham how human rights will be monitored by the Ethiopian force itself, if there is no civilian component. As transcribed by the UK Mission, Parham replied that “the Security Council resolution mandating UNISFA, as you have seen, requires the Secretary General to ensure human rights monitoring, and that is what he will do, by whatever are the best means available.”

Inner City Press asked about the lack of any civilian component; Parham replied:

The establishment of this mission has obviously happened at speed in circumstances that are relatively unusual and it will be for the Secretary General to work out what the best way to achieve what the Security Council has asked it to do, which is to ensure that there is effective monitoring of Human Rights.”

  If it's for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to work it out, then Ban's spokesperson's office should have some answers, or at least preliminary ideas.

  But when Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about what Parham had said, and asked for example if the monitoring will be done out of the UNMIS mission in South Sudan, Haq not only didn't answer: he said no answer will be provided until Ban submits his required reports to the Security Council. Ah, transparency.

Ban & Bashir, right monitoring plan not shown: shaking on July 9?

  Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman also came to take Press questions. Inner City Press asked him about the UN staff arrested in South Kordofan. He replied that they are only “in custody,” for their own protection.

  Inner City Press asked his if President Omar al Bashir, indicted for genocide and war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, will be present at South Sudan's independence declaration on July 9 in Juba. Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman answers, as to Bashir, “He will be there.”

  Given their duties under the ICC's Rome Statute, what will other attendees do? Watch this site.

* * *

At UN on Abyei Force, Deal Struck Friday Night, Monday Vote Predicted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- With Abyei still smoking and South Kordofan in flames, UN Security Council members met past 8 pm on Friday to hammer out a final draft resolution.

  The text, subject to a silence procedure on Saturday and “going blue” on Sunday, should be adopted on Monday, numerous Council members told Inner City Press at the otherwise empty stakeout.

  Earlier the UK and France had questioned if 4000 troops would be needed. The UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations gave a briefing, mentioning NATO's 45,000 troops in Kosovo. Manhattan's 10,000 police officers were also mentioned. That concern dropped away.

  Delegations from both East and West said human rights concerns were raised, most notably by Germany, which was quoted by the other delegations as arguing that to not include rights monitors would be a bad precedent. Others pointed to the terms of the Addis Ababa agreement between North and South Sudan.

Leaving the Council Friday night, two non-Western delegations told Inner City Press that the agreed text, with a few “bracketed items,” followed the Addis agreement in all important ways. There was an air of collaboration, that this was important and should be passed.

  A more cynical or realistic view is that when both the US and China want stability in a place, for economic reasons, the others fall into place.

When the US & China want stability, it's agreed, rights not shown

   In a sense the Council's credibility is on the line. They embraced the Addis agreement, when Thabo Mbeki presented it to them on Monday. How could they then modify it so much as to give Khartoum the opportunity to renege and not remove its troops?

Silence procedure on Saturday, in blue on Sunday and a vote on Monday,” a member told Inner City Press. We'll see.

* * *

On Abyei, As France & UK Ask Why Fewer Troops Not OK, Others Says Just Stick to Addis Deal

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24, updated -- After the UN Security Council received a briefing about the Abyei peacekeeping force of Ethiopian troops agreed to by Khartoum and Juba, there were splits in the Council about what mandate the force should have and how large it should be.

  Multiple Council sources told Inner City Press that France and the UK questioned whether the more than 4000 troops agreed to by the parties in Addis Ababa are in fact needed. Another delegation marveled that on wanting the more than 4000, China, the US and India were all on the same side.

  To that list Russia can be added. They'd “like to save money” as much as the next delegation, they say, but “Babacar Gaye,” the UN's military chief, explained why over 4000 are needed, to defend themselves.

  Germany is known to argue that to stick to the Addis agreement, and have no human rights monitoring component to the mission, would be a step backward, a bad precedent. But as Gaye, the Russians and others argue, if is wasn't in the Addis agreement it shouldn't be imposed.

  To add more, they say, could be an invitation for Khartoum to refuse to withdraw its troops from Abyei.

UN's Gaye in Cote d'Ivoire, role in Abyei not yet seen

  In fairness to those who urge going beyond the Addis agreement, we publish this from a self-described “Security Council diplomat” --

a number of delegations have a lot of questions. Of course, those delegations want the Ethiopians in, and expeditiously. We need them there. We want them to have a robust posture. And we don't want to undermine the Addis agreement. But as proposed, its a purely military and not an integrated mission, so we need at minimum to ask some questions about how humanitarian and human rights issues, or links with policing in Abyei, or what the civilian component of UNISFA would do, could be addressed in a co-ordinated, if not integrated, way. These elements aren't necessarily inconsistent with what was agreed at Addis, and that's what we are trying to explore.”

  A member who favors simply adopting what was agreed at Addis said, if they delay or make additions, the violence will be on them. Call it brinksmanship. Watch this site.

Update of 6:40 pm -- while some are speaking of a Saturday session and even vote on the Abyei resolution, a knowledgeable P-5 source predicted to Inner City Press that it "needs to go back to capitals" and "they don't work on weekends, so Monday." We'll see.

Update of 7:10 pm -- a non-Western Council member tells Inner City Press the idea is to leave human rights only in the perambular paragraphs, while tying the operative ("thou shalt") paragraphs directly to the Addis agreement. In consultations, DPKO defended the 4000 soldier figure (against those asking why not reduce to 3000) by pointing to Kosovo with 40,000 troops; the number of police in Manhattan was also brought up, host country...

Update of 7:45 pm -- another non-Western political coordinator ups the ante, telling Inner City Press of 45,000 NATO troops in Kosovo, 10,000 police in Manhattan. Says they're onto operative paragraphs now, also predicts vote on Monday.

* * *

UN Admits 2d Flight of ICC Darfur Indictee Haroun to Abyei in Sudan, Impunity

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4, updated -- The UN has for a second time offered a free UN flight in Sudan to Ahmed Haroun, under indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, the UN admitted Friday in response to questions from Inner City Press.

  On March 3 the UN Security Council met about renewed fighting in the disputed Abyei region. Back in January, Inner City Press got the UN to acknowledge they had flown ICC indictee Haroun from South Kordofan, where he serves fellow ICC indictee Omar al Bashir as governor, to Abyei.

  The UN has defended this controversial flight by saying that Haroun and Haroun alone could stop violence in Abyei. The UN never explained why the government of Sudan, which has an air force currently bombing civilians in Jebel Marra in Darfur, couldn't itself fly Haroun.

The UN said it was a scheduled flight, then UN Mission in Sudan chief Haile Menkerios admitted to Inner City Press that it was a special flight. Inner City Press is told such flights cost $40,000, and the UN has confirm no reimbursement has been sought from the Bashir government.

But now the violence has continued, making the UN flight of ICC indictee Haroun harder to justify even by the UN's own argument.

  March 3 in front of the Security Council, Inner City Press asked Council president for March Li Baodong of China if the UN Peacekeeping official who briefed the Council, Atul Khare, had mentioned if Haroun would again be flown in a UN helicopter. Li Baodong did not directly answer.

At the March 4 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm or deny that that the UN would once again fly ICC indictee Haroun to Abyei, even now that his work in connection with the first flight has proved ineffective.

Nesirky said he would check. Ten minutes later, Nesirky's deputy Farhan Haq announced by speaker to all UN correspondents that yes, Haroun attended today's meeting in Abyei, and yes, “he was transported” by the UN.

  This UN promotes impunity, even for one of the few people indicted for war crimes by the ICC. Meanwhile Ban Ki-moon brags about the Security Council's partial referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC -- a referral that Ban Ki-moon did not even call for until after the Council voted to make the referral.

  This UN is promoting and enshrining lawlessness, with no transparency or accountability. Watch this site.

Update of 3:48 pm -- Human Rights Watch, via Richard Dicker, submitted this comment:

This is the second time in recent weeks the UN has transported Ahmed Haroun who is charged by the ICC with war crimes in Darfur. We have real concerns because the U.N. should not be in the business of transporting Haroun. There needs to be an extremely high threshold of urgency for such action by UNMIS.”

Responses have been sought from the Missions to the UN of France, the UK and the US, with the latter two asked if they knew in advance of the UN's new flight of ICC indictee Haroun. Given her statements this year about social media, & after hours of non-response by the US Mission to the UN,@AmbassadorRice has been asked directly as well. Watch this site.

Update of 4:30 pm -- Then this, from UK Mission to the UN spokesman Daniel Shepherd:

As spokesperson, I would only reiterate the message that my two Ambassadors have both said on the record (and published by Inner City Press) first time around: that we aren’t going to second guess how UNMIS fulfills its mandate to provide good offices to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) parties in efforts to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations. I’d only add that this work is particularly important at this sensitive time, to contain any potential escalation after the recent Abyei violence.”

We could note again that violence has persisted despite the UN flying ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun in the first time, and that it is the role of UN member states to oversee the UN Secretariat, not to defer in this case to what some see as its promotion of impunity - but at least the UK would put its position on the record.

Update of 4:43 pm -- this too has come in, perhaps in response:

Date: Fri, Mar 4, 201
Subject: Haroun and Abyei
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

You guys ask great questions! Have you noticed perhaps that the United Nations seems to be unaware of who is causing the violence in Abyei. And yet "diplomatic sources" report seeing the burial of 33 bodies - all southerners.

The Arab nomads say the violence started when SPLM police shot at them (Hitler used a similar ploy to invade Poland) - and today thousands of civilians fled Abyei fearing another crisis like in June 2008. The Dinka Ngok villages north of Abyei, such as Maker, have been burnt to the ground. The end explains the means. There is a creeping ethnic cleansing going on in the Abyei region despite the agreements of 2005 and the Court of Arbitration ruling in 2010.

Why fly Haroun to Abyei - what is his cv? It is, as you correctly point out, that of arming arab militias to burn villages. I hope to see more of your questions pinning the UN to the responsibility to protect.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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

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