Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On S. Sudan, UN Silent on Uganda & Treason, If Ladsous Will Meet Machar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 31 -- After the South Sudan trip of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous was announced by the UN on January 31, Inner City Press asked spokesperson Farhan Haq about the UN's role if any under the cessation of hostilities agreement, and if Ladsous would meet with Riek Machar's opposition as well as with Salva Kiir's government. Video here and embedded below.
  Haq wouldn't say if Ladsous will meet with any in the opposition, nor did he answer on any UN position on what Machar says are threats to charge with in treason.

  UN envoy in Juba Hilde Johnson of Norway, closely aligned with Kiir, has during the crisis been substantially lower profile than her deputy Tony Lanzer. On January 31 Inner City Press asked if the UN (and Hilde Johnson) share the view of Norway, that Uganda's troops which helped dislodge Machar's from Bor and Bentiu should now leave South Sudan. Haq did not answer this either.

  So what is the UN doing in South Sudan? For example, what has the UN Development Program accomplished? A close observer opines, as to constitutional review, that UNDP "funded the process including the commission yet the process was never inclusive. Its members were mainly individuals from the ruling party. They supported the same constitution that gave powers to the President and they reported its completion as a success."  Sounds like the UN...

  Right before the South Sudan cessation of hostilities (and cessation of "hostile media") deal was signed, Inner City Press asked Haq about the deal, and allegations against the UNMISS mission. Video here and embedded below.

  The signed deal, we note, has as one of three IGAD Special Envoys the Sudanese General Mohamed Ahmed Dabi, whose role in Syria in 2011 for the Arab League gave rise to much criticism. Look at him now.

 Inner City Press asked UN Security Council president Jordan's Senior Deputy Permanent Representative if the UN would have any role under the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism. He wasn't aware of you. His summary said the members of the Security Council "condemned the accusations" against UNMISS. One wondered: what if they're true?

   In his noon briefing response, Haq said the UN was "monitoring" the talks. He refused to comment on the allegations, calling them statements by South Sudanese officials. But what about the underlying facts? Did the UN return government vehicles? Did a UN staff member send text messages for rebels?

Haq would not answer.  He referred back to his comments of two days before -- which said the government minister of information was banned from entering an UNMISS camp not only for arms, but also cameras. Could the cessation of hostile media policy be in place?

   That the UN banned from one of its bases a South Sudan minister citing his armed guards is one thing. But the UN has also cited that the minister's party had cameras. What's wrong with that? Especially when the UN publishes its own photographs of those inside the camps?

  Inner City Press on January 21 asked deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm that the Minister was blocked. Haq confirmed it, citing both arms and cameras. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked, what's wrong with cameras? It and the Free UN Coalition for Access have protests against various forms of attempted censorship by and at the UN. Haq backed off on cameras. But he'd said what he said, and not improvising: it was a written script. So what gives?

   With Uganda bragging of its role in re-taking Bor in South Sudan, the marginalization and double standards of the UN are ever more in focus.

  For week the Press asked the UN about Ugandan troops' presence in South Sudan, and if the UN as elsewhere at least called for restraint in the re-taking of population centers.

   The UN dodged the questions, as recently as January 16 saying the Ugandans' presence -- offensive as now confirmed -- was just a bilateral matter between governments, and saying its focus is on protecting civilians in its bases.

  What is the message of Uganda bragging of having helped Salva Kiir retake Bor from rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar? What is the UN's role, if any, in the "cessation of hostilities" talks in Addis Ababa? The UN on those wouldn't even call for more inclusion of women, as it has for example on the Syria talks in Switzerland. We'll have more on this.

 In South Sudan, the lack of transparency by UN Peacekeeping does not serve it. On December 30, Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous admonished South Sudan to not put in "caveat" on accepting troops from any country.

Though Ladsous didn't name the country -- for reasons that soon became obvious -- and later in the week UN spokesperson Farhan Haq declined to specify any country being considered for South Sudan, later on December 30 at the UN Mission of an African (and troop contributing) country Inner City Press was told Ladsous was trying to push into South Sudan peacekeeping from Morocco. Click here for more on that.

  After telling Inner City Press "I don't answer you Mister," Ladsous dodged about the impact of shifting peacekeepers out of Darfur, where two had just been killed, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Then he mentioned, for South Sudan, "half a regiment" from the MINUSTAH mission in Haiti. UN Video here, from Minute 3:09.

  Now, which country's half-regiment could that be? Questions have been asked, particularly in light of UN Peacekeeping's dubious record in Haiti: the introduction of cholera, multiple cases of sexual abuse or exploitation, nearly always followed by mere repatriation and no update on any discipline meted out, for example in the case of repatriated Sri Lanka peacekeepers.

  The website of the UNMISS mission in South Sudan lists fully 55 countries as contributing peacekeepers (Morocco notably is NOT among them) and some additional countries contributing UN Police, including Zimbabwe.

On January 2 Inner City Press asked UN acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: Yes, Farhan. I wanted to ask you two questions about peacekeeping in South Sudan. One is that, it’s reported that India is unhappy with not being consulted in some of the ways their peacekeepers were used and intends to send its own military team to meet with its peacekeepers there. I wanted to know, separately, [Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar] Mukerji has, over the holidays, said that the Force Intervention Brigade may put peacekeepers in danger. What’s your response to that? And also, if you could confirm, I’ve heard that the UN wants to send Moroccan peacekeepers to South Sudan and they’re pushing back. And one of their reasons for pushing back is that Morocco is not a member of the African Union due to the Western Sahara. And I wanted if it’s DPKO’s (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) position that countries don’t have a right to have a sort of principled, political stand on why they wouldn’t take peacekeepers? Or should they take anyone that DPKO sends?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all, we wouldn’t comment on the specifics of how we’re trying to bring more peacekeepers in. We, as you know, are in touch with a number of Member States trying to build up the forces, as was approved by the Security Council. And when we have details of which countries are coming in, we’ll provide those details at that point. But, I don’t have any specific names to give up until more arrivals come in.

Inner City Press: I ask that only because Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous at the stakeout made a big point of saying, it’s not… when the house is on fire, anyone must be taken. So, I just wanted to know, can you say… is that the UN’s position? That even if there’s a political, principled stated reason not to take them… that wouldn’t… that should be overridden?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: For us, the priority is to get as many peacekeepers in as we can. They’ve been authorized by the Security Council. We’re trying to get the right numbers in order to stop the bloodshed as soon as we possibly can. So, that’s our priority. But, if we have any specific announcements to make about different countries joining in, we’ll make it at that point. But, that’s not ready at this stage.

Inner City Press: And on India?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: I wouldn’t have any comment on that. Is that it? Okay? Pam?

Correspondent: Hi, Farhan. I’d like to just correct the record that was established at this briefing a few weeks ago that the UN Correspondents’ Association has not… does not have any new Samsung TV sets in the room, never has had and has never accepted any donation or loan from the UN for Samsung TVs. Thank you.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Yeah, thanks. I’m in receipt of a letter from the United Nations Correspondent’s Association, which says, which does read: “Please be advised that there are no new Samsung TV sets in the UNCA room and have never been. And the UN Correspondents’ Association has not accepted a donation or loan of new Samsung TVs”. Thanks for that update. We’ll try to get any updated guidance about the language that we had earlier received. Yes?

Inner City Press: Because I’m thinking maybe you’ll correct the transcript on the answer that was given to me in writing about the television. If so, do you have any response about the note verbale that was filed by Syria that we previously discussed here?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: No, there’s no response to that at present. But, yes, if there’s any fresh language on the language that was given to you, we’ll try to correct the record here. Yes, Lou?

Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]