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On Sudan, OCHA's Studying NGO Ousters, DPKO Only Verifies, 4 Days Late

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19 – On three recent questions about Sudan, UN Peacekeeping with three missions together costing over $2 billion a year answered four days later or not at all; the smaller UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs answered the same day. Why?

  On February 15 Inner City Press asked about widely reporting fighting in Darfur. At the noon briefing on February 19, still having no answer, Inner City Press asked two questions about Sudan: deadly clashes near Abyei, and a move by Sudan's military and intelligence authorities to “review” aid groups in the country.

  The last of these was answered before day's end:

Subject: Your question at noon today on Sudan
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has read reports in the media about the announcement of the revocation of licenses of an unspecified number of local humanitarian groups in Sudan by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). OCHA is seeking clarification with the HAC on organizations affected by this announcement to ascertain any potential impact on the provision of humanitarian assistance to people in need.

  At least OCHA reads “reports in the media.” While the header refers to one “question at noon today on Sudan,” there were two Sudan questions, the second for DPKO about the fighting near Abyei. But by deadline on Tuesday it had not been answered.

  Rather from DPKO came this answer to a question from four days earlier:

Subject: Your question from last week on Darfur
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Feb 19, 2013
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question from last week about fighting in Darfur, we have been informed that UNAMID is verifying reports of clashes that took place on 14 February between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi forces near Umm Goniya (30 km south of Nyala, South Darfur).

  So even four days later, the answer is.. that DPKO is verifying. Will that be the answer to the Abyei question, three days from now?

  When DPKO chief Herve Ladsous said the UN knows the identity of the perpetrators in the Congolese Army of 126 rapes at Minova in November, then his DPKO said no action is being taken until the Congolese investigation is completed, a DPKO “rape grace period” became evident.

  There is also a “response grace period” - four days, and even then, only an interim answer. Watch this site.

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