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On Sudan, UN Stonewalls Then Spins Suffering & Empty Blue Nile Glass as Half Full, Unlike Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 12 -- For more than a week, Inner City Press has been asking the UN if there is humanitarian access to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states in Sudan. On June 4 an answer was promised.

  On June 12, still with no answer, Inner City Press asked it again, this time citing an Amnesty International report on Blue Nile issued on June 10.

  The report (online here) details horrendous conditions in Blue Nile, and concludes by recommending to the UNMISS mission and other UN agencies that they monitor violations of humanitarian law and report them to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  After the second request to Ban's Spokesperson's Office, that Office sent this:

Subject: Your question at the noon briefing
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.or
Date: Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM
To: Matthew.Le [at]

UN access to Government-controlled parts of Blue Nile has improved significantly since this time last year. In late May, WFP reached 84,000 people with food assistance and UNHCR delivered emergency shelter and non-food items to 5,000 people. UN staff had meetings with the authorities and NGO partners in the state capital, Ad-Damazin, last week.

The UN still does not have access to areas of Blue Nile controlled by the SPLM-N, however. The UN continues to call for a cessation of hostilities so that a polio vaccination campaign can be carried out in these areas from within Sudan and for the parties to return to the negotiating table so that all civilians affected by the conflict can be reached with humanitarian assistance.

  The rosy picture of relations with the Sudanese authorities is at odds, to say the least, with the Amnesty International report. There is no mention of the type of cross-border the aid that the same Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is demanding in Syria. Why not? Watch this site.

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