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On Sudan, HRW Chides UNAMID, ICG on Aid into Blue Nile from Ethiopia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 21 – In Sudan, International Criminal Court indictee Ali Kushayb continues killing in Darfur and the SPLM-North rebels shell Kadugli, recently killing a UN peacekeeper there.

In New York, the International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International held a join press conference on Friday.

  On Kushayb, Inner City Press asked HRW's Jehanne Henry about the UNAMID peacekeeping mission responding on June 5 that “fighting between Miseria and Salamat tribes took place [but] UNAMID has not observed Muhammad Ali Abdel-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb) in Darfur.”

  Henry replied that while UNAMID has a strong protection of civilians mandate, it is not fulfilling this mandate, there are many examples and this is just one. Video here, from Minute 27:13.

We have noted in the past a reticence by HRW to criticize the UN. Perhaps because UNAMID is a hybrid mission with the African Union, it is different? One wonders: when Ken Roth met with Ban Ki-moon, was the weakness of UNAMID brought up?

  And why has HRW said so little about DPKO's Herve Ladsous' lack of communication and action about the rapes in Minova by two units of the Congolese Army he continues to support?

  About Ladsous' proposed use of the Chadian Army, on the UN's list of child soldier recruiters, in the MINUSMA mission in Mali – which not only Watchlist but also WorldVisior have criticized?

On the evening of June 20, Inner City Press asked top UN Humanitarian Valerie Amos about Amnesty's report on Blue Nile; she said that Sudan is offering to let aid in “cross line” but is opposed to cross border entry from South Sudan, which the SPLM-North is insisting on.

  The question is whether the insistence on cross border aid is, as in Syria, used for political purposes by some.

  Renzo Pomi of Amnesty declined to get into cross-border aid, saying it is being discussed but not yet put on paper. He noted divisions in the UN Security Council, and said he'd more closely review what Amos answered Thursday night. We'll await that. The Amnesty report, including recommendations to international NGOs and UN agencies, is online here.

  EJ Hogendoorn of the International Crisis Group said if the aid into Blue Nile couldn't be cross-line, it should be cross border. He said this might be possible from Ethiopia, which would be less problematic for Sudan.

  One wonders how the killing of an Ethiopian peacekeeper in Kadugli, pretty clearly by the SPLM-North, will impact Ethiopia's positions on Sudan and South Sudan.

  The Ethiopia idea was something new, at least in UN world – just as when ICG's Comfort Ero told Inner City Press of Mali, “there must be a willingness to include all armed groups at table if they are willing to end armed struggle.”

  That was not pen-holder France's thinking; Ero was also willing to publicly note that Romano Prodi with his Sahel report had been slow. Now that it's out – and underwhelming – we'll be writing on that soon. Watch this site.

Footnote: In a note on the ICG / Ero press conference on Mali, the UN Correspondents Association and some of its Executive Committee members' attempt to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN was reviewed. On Friday, the first question went to UNCA, taken by a person who lost when running for the Executive Committee. We've said it before: given the payment of dues, this amounts to questions being for sale at the UN. So says the FREE UN Coalition for Access, now tweeting questions, often from journalists denied access or answers by the UN, from @FUNCA_info. Onward.

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