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As UN Is Urged to Monitor Sudan Moving Militia, DPKO Chief Claims No Mandate

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 29 -- As Sudan's government drives civilians perceived to be opponents out of Blue Nile State, the UN's new head of Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous has told Inner City Press that the peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, has no mandate to monitor the government's reported flying of Janjaweed militia from Darfur to Blue Nile.

  Shocked by this answer from a billion dollar a year UN peacekeeping mission, Inner City Press put the question to several Permanent Representatives on the Security Council, including US Ambassador Susan Rice, asking her whether she thought UNAMID could or should monitor flights from Darfur allegedly full of janjaweed transported by the government to Blue Nile State.

  Ambassador Rice said, "I'd have to take a close look at the text of recent mandates but I'm not aware of anything that would make that clear."

  Inner City Press asked about the UN having an abiding duty to stop war crimes

  Ambassador Rice said, "I don't think it's specifically mandated."

  Further inquiry with the US Mission to the UN resulted, some days later on October 28, in this more detailed answer from the US Mission's Deputy Spokesman Payton Knopf:

We’ve reviewed the mandates. UNAMID has a mandate from 2007 to monitor, verify, and promote efforts to disarm the Janjaweed and other militias. It can’t be expected to fulfill this mandate outside of Darfur. However, we would urge UNAMID to do all it can within its capabilities and area of deployment to track, deter, and report on any movements by air of Janjaweed to areas outside of Darfur.”

  It would seem that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and its chief should also know about the mandate of UNAMID with regard to disarming the Janjaweed.

(c) UN Photo
UNAMID limited view of Darfur, Ladsous not heard from

  So Inner City Press went again on October 28 to ask this UN, this time the Deputy Spokesperson of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

Inner City Press: There is continued fighting in Blue Nile State of Sudan, and previously I’ve asked, the SPLA-North has alleged that Janjaweed fighters, the same militia that have been active in Darfur are being flown there, and I was told that there was no way they can monitor it. But in the mandate of UNAMID, they’re supposed to promote efforts to disarm the Janjaweed and other militias. So I wanted to know how this doesn’t include ensuring that armed Janjaweed militias are not flown elsewhere in Sudan to aid the Government in fighting rebels.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, have you checked with DPKO now?

Inner City Press: Mr. Ladsous himself has said they’re not going to do it, and what I wanted to know is,how can that be? How can they ignore their mandate when people are being killed in Blue Nile State? That’s my question to you.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I think Mr. Ladsous has answered that question to you.

Inner City Press: then my question to Ban Ki-moon is how is it acceptable that the Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations either hasn’t read the mandate or refuses to enforce it?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, we’ll have to check and see...

  No further answer was added to the UN's transcript of the October 28 noon briefing, where the Deputy Spokesperson said to look for it.

  And so again we ask: how is it acceptable that the Head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations either hasn’t read the mandate or refuses to enforce it?  Ladsous is on mission to Sudan -- will this issue follow him there? Watch this site.

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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

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