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On S. Sudan, UN Johnson Tells ICP Expulsion of Rights Official Final, Copter Haze

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 -- Back in November 2012 South Sudan expelled a UN human rights officer. The UN spoke up, briefly, but has said little since.

  When the UN's envoy to Juba Hilde Johnson spoke Monday across the street from the UN, Inner City Press went to ask about this and about the four Russian pilots killed when South Sudan shot down a UN helicopter in December. Video here.

  Russia has the presidency of the Security Council this month, and on March 4 Inner City Press asked its Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin about the copter.

   He said he would meet with Johnson on March 6, and would hope for answers before the South Sudan session of the Council later in the month.

   After a slide presentation by Johnson to a packed house at the International Peace Institute, Inner City Press asked Johnson the two questions, about the Persona Non Grata (PNG) rights officer and the helicopter and its black box.

   On the helicopter, Johnson said among other things the Russians were happy, at least with regard to the black box -- that is NOT Inner City Press' understanding -- and that the UN's own board of inquiry should be finished by mid March, that is, before the Council session.

   South Sudan's investigation, she said, can extended to May 10.

   Johnson said the human rights officer hadn't been “PNG-ed,” but rather told to leave the country. She said while it was raised, the decision will not be reversed. So does the UN does accept it? Notably, the UN is continuing to try to push into Sudan to the north their sanctions "expert" Ghassan Schbley. What's the difference?

Footnote: also at the IPI session and on the video was a question by Agence France Presse's Tim Witcher. Inner City Press had been informed just before Johnson's presentation by UN Security that Witcher and Reuters had filed a frivolous complaint concerning a verbal disagreement on March 8 about AFP acting, once again, as a pass-through for UN Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous, this time on 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, DPKO's partner.

  Witcher's question was about the UNMISS mission not directly supporting the SPLA against the Yau Yau rebels. (Some have concluded, Witcher and so AFP support anything Ladsous wants to do, and so wonder if this question meant Ladsous who favors drones and intervention brigades with other people's soldiers would like UNMISS to directly take one David Yau Yau.)

  Johnson spoke of tagging along to protect civilians, while fighting of which the UN has foreknowledge begins. Is this the UN? Watch this site.

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