Source: Inner City Press – By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, January 21 — The UN’s cover up of abuses in Darfur hit a new low on Friday when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon‘s spokesman Martin Nesirky openly refused to take a question about Darfur, telling Inner City Press “I will take questions from you when you behave in an appropriate manner.”
Apparently, asking about the UN’s double standards is no longer “appropriate” under Ban Ki-moon and his spokesman Nesirky.
In Sudan, through Ban’s humanitarian coordinator Georg Charpentier the UN absolves the government of responsibility for murders by nomadic tribes, despite International Criminal Court indictments of President Omar al-Bashir and Ahmed Haroun for organizing such tribes to drive people from their land. Some point out that in Cote d’Ivoire, the UN blames “tribal” deaths on the “defiant leader” Laurent Gbagbo.
On January 21 Nesirky read out a statement by Charpentier praising the “resettlement of IDPs from Kalma Camp.” The Sudanese government has been trying to move people out of Kalma Camp and shut it down for months, even imposing a blockade that the UN at first did not publicize or even mention.
Having questioned top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy on January 20 about the mission he oversees, UNAMID, and been told that there are now 43,000 new IDPs from fighting in Darfur, Inner City Press on January 21 asked Nesirky to compare these 43,000 to the undisclosed number of people moving out from Kalma Camp, voluntarily or not.
Nesirky declined to provide any of the numbers underlying the Charpentier statement he had read out, merely saying that it was “worth drawing attention to.” Video here, from Minute 16:45.
Earlier in the January 21 briefing, Inner City Press had asked why the UN has said nothing about Sudan’s Omar al Bashir’s government blocking the printing of an SPLM newspaper directed at Southern Sudan, Ajras al-Huriya, after they published articles about the secession referendum. Inner City Press also asked about the UN following its own rules. Video here, from Minute 16.
In response, after first indicating he would take Inner City Press’ question about Ban Ki-moon’s Charpentier’s claims that the thousands of violent deaths in Darfur in the last 12 months are not the fault of the government of Omar al-Bashir, Nesirky abruptly ended the briefing, telling Inner City Press “I will take questions from you when you behave in an appropriate manner.”
What could be inappropriate — to ask about the UN’s failure to abide by a UN rule? To ask about the UN’s ludicrous praise of and providing of transportation to indicted war criminal Ahmed Haroun?
UN’s Le Roy (says 43,000 new IDPs), Nesirky reads PR re Kalma IDPs, refuses questions
On January 18, Inner City Press asked:
Inner City Press: what does the UN say about that, and also the lawyer for these Darfur activists, including the editor of Al-Safaha newspaper, said that they were tortured? They’ve just recently been released. Their lawyer said that they were tortured, and I just wonder what is… Given the Darfur connection, what does Mr. Gambari or the UN system, along with praising the referendum in the South, what do they say about these two things?
Spokesperson Nesirky: On the first, we’re aware of the reports, and I think we’ll be able to say something a little later. On the second, I’ll need to check with my colleagues. I don’t have any details on that.
The next day, just before the noon briefing, Nesirky’s office sent this: “On your Darfur rights question from yesterday: “UNAMID is aware of the story which appeared in the press. The item is being monitored by the Mission’s Human Rights Section.” In the two days since, nothing. Monitoring?
On January 20, Inner City Press asked
Inner City Press: in Darfur, I wanted to know whether, now, several days after it happened, UNAMID has any confirmation or I guess denial of shootings of students in El Fasher right near the UN’s base, reported by Radio Dabanga and others. Has it been able to confirm that? Or did it not take place?
Spokesperson: What I can tell you is that, as the mission understands it, three students were hurt in this shooting incident at a high school in El Fasher, as you mentioned, on 18 January. The mission tells us that those three students have been evacuated by the local authorities to Khartoum for medical treatment and one of them is listed in critical condition.
Question: Who were they shot by, and why?
Spokesperson: That I can’t tell you, I don’t know, I would need to find out. But this is information that I have from the mission.
The Charpentier question that Nesirky refused to take on Friday concerned precisely this UN blurriness about who is responsible for allowing the deaths of civilians. Again, in Cote d’Ivoire, the UN blames “tribal” deaths on the “defiant leader” Laurent Gbagbo. In Sudan, through Charpentier it absolves the government of responsibility for murders by nomadic tribes, despite ICC indictments of the President and Ahmed Haroun for organizing such tribes to drive people from their land.
Inner City Press wanted and wants an explanation of this blatant double standard. But Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky simple refused to take the question. What should happen next?