on Afghan Human Rights, Strategic Speech in Pakistan
July 4 -- As the US prepares to pull back from Afghanistan,
moving at the UN to make it easier to take Taliban off the sanctions
list and encouraging Hamid Karzai to negotiate with them, what is the
place of women's rights and human rights more generally?
Washington there is much telegenic hand-wringing on the topic -- for
example, last month Af-Pak czar Douglas Lute had himself filmed
providing assurances of US commitment to a delegation of professional
Afghan women some of whom worked for the UN -- the US embassy in
Kabul is surprisingly quiet.
just diplomacy, of a decidedly realist bend: don't highlight Western
of human rights in a country where the US wants to say that its
massive military spending has resulted in enough improvements to
leave. Some contrast this with the US
embassy in Pakistan's June 26
LGBT event. Why not hold that in Kabul? Or Baghdad, for that
And why not actually offer US asylum to those facing imprisonment and
death due to discrimination?
Lutes in Congress, Af and Pak contrast not explained
international community, too, seems quite prepared to let bygones be
bygones in Afghanistan. After UN staff member Louis Maxwell was
executed, by Afghan national forces, the UN has never pushed the
Karzai government to conduct the investigation a UN panel called for.
UN staff were killed by protesters in Mazar-i-Sharif in
April, there has been very little follow-up by the UN. And where is
the new head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, on the topic of women's
rights in Afghanistan as the US and other powers pull out? We'll see.
* * *
& Bashir Headed to Juba, UN and War Crimes Are Left Murky:
Handshakes or Handcuffs?
July 4 -- For the upcoming independence day of South Sudan
on July 9, the President of North Sudan Omar
al-Bashir “will be
there,” Bashir's ambassador to the UN told Inner City Press on June
27. The next day, South Sudan leaders in Juba confirmed the
indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war
crimes in Darfur.
July 1, after
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq
announced that Ban will attend on July 9, and “will meet with
[South Sudan] President Salva Kiir Mayardit, as well as with the
troops, staff and management of the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS”
Inner City Press asked
Haq if Ban would meet with Bashir:
Press: Sudan’s Permanent Representative says that Omar
al-Bashir will be attending as he is indicted by the ICC
[International Criminal Court]. What does the Secretary-General
think about that? Is he going to meet with Bashir? Is he opposed to
meeting with Bashir if he is there at this, as stated by the Perm Rep
in Juba for this ceremony?
Spokesperson Haq: First of all, I don’t believe that there
is any plan to meet with President Bashir. But second, beyond that,
regarding the invitation, what I can say is that the International
Criminal Court is an independent judicial institution. It has a
mandate distinct and separate from that of the United Nations. The
Secretary-General fully respects and supports the International
Criminal Court and its work. How States conduct themselves in the
light of the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal
Court is a matter for States to determine in the light of the legal
instruments applicable to them.
appears tailored to avoid the recent controversies of Bashir's
travels and meetings with heads of state. But shouldn't the UN hold
itself to a higher, less legalistic standard?
repeatedly used UN helicopters to fly Ahmed Haroun, indicted for war
crimes in Darfur, into conflict zones in which Bashir's and Haroun's
National Congress Party is accuse of orchestrating more ethnic
cleansing while UNMIS peacekeepers stood by or worse.
Ban & Bashir, right monitoring plan not shown:
shaking on July 9?
flights, Ban on June 6 said “On this use of UN helicopters by Mr.
Haroun, that was done, as we have already explained, on a very
specific and special case. It is not routinely provided that these
helicopters or military assets are provided to those people who are
indicted. There are legal implications – we are fully aware.”
Really? We'll see.
on July 1 Inner City Press asked
Haq about UNMIS inaction:
Press: ....the fighting in Kadugli, and they, in one instance
they, they quote a person saying that his friend Philip drove to the
UN compound and was shot to the chest in front of it. And the Times
says UN officials confirmed the killing. So I just wanted to, I
guess, I mean there it is, it’s in writing, but how did the UN
confirm it and what has it learned from an instance of civilians
seeking protection being killed directly in front of the UN
peacekeeping base in Kadugli?
Spokesperson: Well, we’ve made our concerns known about the
situation in Kadugli, and we have repeatedly called on the parties to
halt the fighting. You are aware, and we’ve mentioned several
times in recent days the consequences of the fighting in Kadugli. For
details on that specific shooting incident, I’d refer you over to
in the three
days since, nothing has been heard from UNMIS. Watch this site.
* * *
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.
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.
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.
UN said it was
a scheduled flight, then UN Mission in Sudan chief Haile Menkerios
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.
violence has continued, making the UN flight of ICC indictee Haroun
harder to justify even by the UN's own argument.
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.
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.
to all UN correspondents that yes, Haroun attended today's
meeting in Abyei, and yes, “he was transported” by the UN.
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
of 3:48 pm -- Human Rights Watch, via Richard Dicker, submitted
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.”
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
media, & after hours of non-response by the US Mission
to the UN,@AmbassadorRice
has been asked directly as well. Watch
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.”
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.
Subject: Haroun and Abyei
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
be unaware of who is causing the violence in Abyei.
And yet "diplomatic sources" report seeing the burial of 33
bodies - all southerners.
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.
out, that of arming arab militias to burn villages. I hope to see
more of your questions pinning the UN to the responsibility to