By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 10 -- After UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien visited South Sudan, Inner City Press on August 10 asked him about UN delays in registering Internally Displaced People (IDPs) arriving at the UN's Protection of Civilians sites and about reported UN inaction as mostly Nuer women were raped just outside the PoC site in Juba.
O'Brien acknowledged some delay in registration, diplomatically chiding the government for suggestion that people return to where they had fled from in order to register. He described a quickly built camp in Wau, though the reports of registration delay have mostly been from Juba.
Pressed on the issue of UN inaction on rapes, O'Brien said he had not gathered any new information about the allegations during his visit, adding that Salva Kiir told him rapes are “unacceptable.”
Interestingly, O'Brien said that now food is only allowed be to flown in from Uganda, not Sudan or Kenya. We'll have more on this.
Separately, Inner City Press asked O'Brien about the “Functional Review” he had commissioned, and the Heads of Office critique of it, which Inner City Press published here.
O'Brien in his response offered praise and emphasized how short a time he's been at OCHA. We'll continue to report on whether O'Brien, and certain other Ban Ki-moon Under Secretaries General, can or will remain under the Next SG. Some, "even" P-5, should go. Watch this site.
In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.
As the UN refuses to answer questions, and Bans the Press from South Sudan meetings, video here, we publish this internal UN report:
"On 04 August in Yambio, UNMISS received a copy of a directive from the National Security Service (NSS) instructing the senior SPLA Liaison Officer to inform UNMISS that all staff arriving in Gbudwe State from Juba or elsewhere must register at the NSS office in Yambio before proceeding to the UNMISS compound. The Internal Security Bureau (ISB) Director stated that the registration of UNMISS staff is for their own security."
Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about the incident with no real answer. Later on August 5, the UN belatedly emailed its Malakal report, or the executive summary, which Inner City Pressimmediately put online here. On August 8, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokeman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: The Malakal report that was released on Friday. It seems like one of the recommendations is that, going forward, any… any failure to respond by TCCs [troop-contributing countries] or police-contributing countries [PCCs] be… it said reported to UN Headquarters and to the TCC or PCC involved. In the spirit of kind of name-and-shame, which is taken to the sexual abuse issue, is there a problem with naming the contingents who either didn't respond or said they could only respond if their capital told them they could respond? Is the idea to make that public or to simply keep it in-house?
Deputy Spokesman: At this stage, we're following up with the relevant countries and trying to make sure that any appropriate follow-up is happening. We've also set in motion adjustments to the force structure to identify some of the issues in the investigation, but in terms of actions by the contributing countries, we're working with them to make sure that they do follow up.
ICP Question: Right. And so is that the sum total, all you have on DPKO's (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) response to this lengthy and pretty troubling report?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, there is more. As it is, two commanders were repatriated following the Malakal incident. And, as you have seen from the report, we gave a detailed summary of the events in Malakal of the response by the mission and their recommendations in there. And so that describes the state of play.
“local authorities accused UNMISS of not protecting civilians, Paragraph 14;
UN complains of “unrealistic expectations for the protection [UN] could feasibly afford” Paragraph 19. So UN, What Is It Good For?
Feb18-19 was “not the fist instance when military units in Malakal demonstrated unwillingness to implement ROE,” Rules of Engagement, Paragraph 21;
The UN “acted without urgency to repair the breach in the PoC fence which had been reported on 17 February” - that is called negligence.
Then the UN report cites “failing to cease [sic] an opportunity to better manage the developing security situation” - that is called misspelling. Paragraph 22
The UN BoI's Malakal report says the names of UNresponsive units should be given to UNHQ and to their missions - but NOT to the press or public. This is Ban Ki-moon's ad Herve Ladsous' UN.
And here is the UN's “Confidential” instructions to UN staff, how to deal with authorities in South Sudan - when the Press tries exactly the same inside UN Headquarters with UN Security, it gets ousted (audio here) and evicted.
UN Security will like to remind staff members on actions that should be
taken on approach to/at military check points.
v Reduce speed, slow down and stop completely at the checkpoint.
v Dim headlights/put interior light on, if at night.
v Roll window down not more than 1”, be friendly/courteous.
v Show ID if asked - do not surrender, stay in vehicle unless ordered out.
v Observe any search of vehicle - theft or planting of items.
v Protest the removal of personal items - but do not resist.
v Do not attempt to bribe your way out of a situation.
v Remain calm and give honest answers if questioned. If they mis-state
facts, correct them.
v Insist on your rights as a United Nations staff member. Never forget that
you have rights.
Note: At no point should a staff member speed pass or ignore an official
check point, as such action could be misinterpreted to be hostile and could
result in the vehicle being shot at.
Just two points for now: when Inner City Press points out that the UN mis-spoke to the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders, claiming there was an “altercation” in the UN Press Briefing Room which is disproved by video, the UN does not correct itself. And UN Security's McNulty tore Inner City Press' UN ID off its neck, threw bag with laptop in it on the sidewalk. We'll have more on this.
"On 03 August at 15:00 hours in Juba, one UNMISS Military Personnel (MLO) was prevented by airport security personnel from boarding Kenya Airways flight at Juba International Airport for allegedly taking pictures at the passengers’ waiting room. Before being released HG security personnel seized his laptop, national passport and a smartphone and asked him to report to their office on 04 August. The case was reported to UN Security."
Inner City Press on August 4 asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about it. Video here. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you two things about South Sudan. One is this report that… that, in the camps, in light of the recent violence, the people that have gone into them weren't, in fact, registered as… as… basically, in order to have food delivered to them, to register… to get bigger WFP and that this is in fact leaving some of them without food, and so, they have to go out of the camp, and it puts them at risk. The second question I have it from an UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] memo I've obtained and published, which said that on 3 August an UNMISS military personnel was stopped at the airport by the Government. Computer laptop and phone all taken. UNDSS [United Nations Department of Safety and Security] is aware of it. And I wanted to know, what is the protocol for a Member State to take electronics concluding… presumably including secret information from UNMISS military personnel? And what is the UN doing in this case both to protest it and to make sure the information is not misused?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I will check what UNMISS is doing by way of reaction, but, certainly, our… all of their personnel are supposed to have freedom of movement. And they and their belongings, including, of course, their communications, are to be protected.
ICP Question: This one… I just want to ask you, because what it says is that this was taken because they were taking photographs inside the airport. So I wanted to know, does your interpretation of freedom of movement and freedom of action include taking photographs inside an air… the airport, which is the Government's rationale?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we would have to see whether the actions taken by staff are appropriate. But, certainly, the Government knows what its obligations are under the Status of Forces Agreement, but also, of course, UN personnel are… wherever they go are supposed to have freedom of movement if they go in accordance with their work responsibilities.
ICP Question: And registration? Did you have an answer on that, on whether IDPs [internally displaced persons] that have gone into the camps last week have registered…?
Deputy Spokesman: As far… if I hear otherwise, I can let you know, but as far as I'm aware, all… at all Protection of Civilians sites, the registration continues.
ICP Question: There's an AP story that says totally the contrary, by Justin Lynch.
Deputy Spokesman: Well, registration is a standard practice of the sites. I don't know whether there's a problem at any particular site, but it's standard for all of the inhabitants to be registered.
On August 3 we published these UN internal reports from South Sudan, marked "“UN STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL: ST/SGB/2007/6, Information Sensitivity, Classification and Handling" --
"Armed Conflict – Attack: On 03 August at about 05:00 hours in Leer, reportedly, SPLA soldiers from Koch launched attacks at the villages located north of the UNTCC TOB destroying and looting villages. At 08:10 hours, about 105 IDPs from Kuleer Payam arrived at the Leer TOB seeking protection from GHANBATT.
"On 02 August at about 23:47 hours in Juba, a UN ambulance escorted by UN military departed UN House Level I Clinic to UNMISS-Tomping Level II Clinic, with a female IDP patient in labour. Along the way, the team was harassed by HG security forces at numerous check points. At one check point, the HG security personnel threatened to take the patient out because of her ethnicity."
On August 3, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephande Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: on South Sudan, I wanted to know, I've seen a memo from DSS [Department of Safety and Security] in South Sudan, saying they're aware of these attacks on Leer by the SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army]. It seems from the memo that the UN acknowledges that it's the Salva Kiir forces attacking this Riek Machar area. So, I wanted to know, when is the UN… what's the process for the UN reporting on this type of fighting that it sees? The memo also talks about a woman IDP [internally displaced person] being harassed on the way to giving birth based on her ethnicity. So, I’m just wondering, what is the protocol for UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] or other UN forces in South Sudan to actually say what's taking place?
Spokesman: Well, I think, you know, it's always… it would be helpful for your friends at DSS to share whatever they share with you with me before the briefing so I can give you a better update. But, what is clear is that we have regularly reported from here on fighting, on incidents, when they occur. And the Secretary-General reports regularly to the Security Council, whether in its… in the periodic reports on the mission or periodic briefings, verbal briefings by DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations].
ICP Question: But, just as an example, for example, it's reported that many UN staff have now been unable to get back into the country under this travel restriction. So, when… it seems like this is a violation of the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement]. Is the UN complaining publicly about…?
Spokesman: I think we have raised this publicly. We're obviously raising it privately. It is critical that the Government of South Sudan allow the UN staff to go in and do its work and implement the resolutions of the Security Council and the mandate given to us by the Security Council.
Riek Machar was attacked and chased out of Juba; now he and his forces say they will return absent the deployment of an enhanced international force which those in control of Juba say would immediately be attacked.
Sources tell Inner City Press Paul Malong is setting up his artillery by the main bridge into Juba on the main road artery linking Juba with Nimule, some 9,500 meters opposite UN “Protection of Civilians” and in direct line of sight. This is described by the sources as an act of brinkmanship and an attempt to secure the road corridor.
The UN has had imposed restrictions which violate its Status of Forces Agreement but has quietly accepted them. Inner City Press has published and asked the UN about its (lack of) response, including to rapes, and has been Banned from covering South Sudan meetings inside the UN.
Today Inner City Press publishes in full the resignation letter of Lam Akol, here.
And Inner City Press can report that the UN Security Council anticipated visit to South Sudan and perhaps Sudan from August 15 to 19 is being discouraged by the US, which says it is not ready. We'll have more on this.
The US on July 30 issued a statement saying the UN had documented rapes - but NOT saying that UN Peacekeepers watched and did nothing.
On August 2, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the ramifications are for UN peacekeepers who watch rapes and offer no protection: "on what you said about the witness accounts saying that UN peacekeepers stood by as women were raped outside of the camp of UN House. What would be the ramifications if there’s an investigation if, in fact, it’s found that peacekeepers saw, watched, and did nothing? What happens?
Spokesman Dujarric: "Individual accountability of soldiers is, as it is in every case, up to the troop-contributing country to decide on what disciplinary action is taken."
Ban's UN has no basis to make claims about "zero tolerance."
In the UN Security Council on July 29 US Ambassador Samantha Power said the US had reports of an upsurge of violence in the Equatorias: "I want to stress this also for Council members here today – we have just received very disturbing reports of significant violence in the Equatorias in South Sudan. And all of us need to be on alert, I think, this weekend, because events could spiral rapidly out of control, yet again." What might she have meant?
Inner City Press can report that the US' Ambassador in South Sudan Mary McPhee and US envoy Donald Booth have received this - and it has been reiterated to them by the office of a U.S. Senator, not necessarily one that might be imagined:
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:02 PM
To: Donald Booth [at] state.gov
Cc: Mary McPhee [at] state.gov
Subject: An offensive is on the way soon
Sir, there is an offensive coming soon, probably in the next 7 days.
The plan for SPLA/ IO is to launch simultaneous assaults in three locations at once, probably in a few days from now: 1: attack from Yuai on Pajut; 2:in Malakal and 3rd: on Juba from the direction of the Nimule road and also from Terekeka.
Johnson Olony is the leader of the planned attack in Malakal. Gatwech himself is said to be organizing the attacks around or on Juba liaising with Wani Konga forces kitted out with taken SAF cache in 2005; he is said to be based not far from Juba, possibly around Lafon.
I have no information on the reality or number of the militia forces said to be mobilizing to attack in Malakal or Juba; these forces are being talked about by the tribal factions mobilized in Yuai.
From IO “It will all start North...but details changes are imminent in the last minute.... those Su[san] Rice are weak”
I don’t know if the international community will sit this one out as well but there will be many dead people possible myself since I am here in the UN House.... I can put on a backpack and keep moving on my own but I do care about this country enough to stick it out. Don’t let this next offensive be what I have been worried about turning into the genocide I have been warning about. Everything I had said would happen and come true did come true and I was ignored. Please for the love of humanity don’t let this next offensive take place, there are women and children here, people who are friends and these are human beings, these are personal relationships that were developed out of kindness and trust and here we sit once again, here I am once again warning of what is about to come.
If black lives matter in the United States why don’t they matter here? The people in the POC are trapped with a false sense of security, what we saw last time is a preview, the killing has been rehearsed.”
Previous warnings leading up to this one got only interim responses from one Stetson Sanders, Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the UN Embassy in Juba. We report this part in light of the US Embassy's chiding of South Sudanese media for reports, while the US Mission to the UN has been less than responsive, including onUN free press issues. Albert Taban is out on bail, but UN radio reporter Goerge Livio remain imprisoned and UNremarked upon.
In the UN's continued withholding of news and answers about South Sudan, the reports of the UN's own knowledge of abuses are now being withheld from its own impacted national staff.
Since the UN refuses to answer questions, and its Department of Safety and Security (DSS) Bans the Press from South Sudan meetings, video here, we published below a document of complaint against the UN's reported plan to relocate Internally Displaced Persons to the UN House where its peacekeepers stood by watching as IDPs were raped. Photo of complaint here. and below.
On July 28, following an order from the government replete with mis-spellings, tweeted photo here, the UN in South Sudan accepted violations of its Status of Forces Agreement - and says that if UN staff doesn't accept and comply, they will be charged money. This is Ban's UN: Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said he was unaware of any of this, hours after the UNMISS Broadcast email Inner City Press published. (Haq also tried to deny UN corruption right insiee UN Headquarters, here.) From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you on South Sudan. I've seen a letter from the Government to UNMISS, saying that going forward, all entries to the country require 72 hours' notice and also some further restrictions on leaving. I've also seen a memo, a broadcast of UNMISS telling people that they have complied with this and if they don't they can basically be charged money if they seek to travel outside of the restrictions imposed by the Government. I wanted to know whether these restrictions comply with the Status of Forces Agreement, and if they don't, why UNMISS is not only acquiescing to them but charging staff for not complying with them?
Deputy Spokesman: I would need to check whether this is something that is happening. I'm not aware of this as a matter of policy.
ICP Question: A broadcast on this staff today about this.
Deputy Spokesman: I will have to check about what the details are of that.
The UN memo, from DSS whose Inspector Matthew Sullivan has been exposed selling out the UN, with the extent of the scandal still expanding:
"Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:53 PM
Subject: New Immigration Procedures for UNMISS Personnel Arriving at Juba by UNMISS and Commercial Flights
New Immigration Procedures for UNMISS Personnel Arriving at Juba by UNMISS and Commercial Flights
The purpose of this broadcast is to inform all personnel that UNMISS is now required to submit the names of all passengers arriving in South Sudan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) three working days before the planned arrival date. Only passengers that have been notified to the Ministry will be permitted to proceed through immigration and enter the country. Personnel not notified to MOFA are likely to face deportation. The new notification procedures apply to all UNMISS personnel arriving by both UN and commercial flights.
Consequently, all UNMISS personnel are required to note the following restrictions and plan their travel accordingly:
UNMISS Flights Arriving from Entebbe and Nairobi. UNMISS passenger manifests will be closed three working days before planned arrival in Juba. The manifest will then be dispatched to MOFA for processing. Only those passengers listed on the manifest will be permitted to check-in at Entebbe or Nairobi. Manifested passengers that fail to check-in for their flight will be required to re-submit their MOP request and will be delayed for a minimum of four days at their own cost and against their leave entitlement. These procedures apply to all categories of personnel travelling on UNMISS flights.
Commercial Flights Arriving at Juba International Airport. As an interim measure all UNMISS personnel, except National Staff, returning to South Sudan by commercial flights are to provide UN POL Immigration Officers with the following information in Excel format at least 4 workings days before returning to the country, and ideally before they depart South Sudan...
Failure to provide the required information at least 4 working days before planned arrival back in South Sudan could result in the passenger being delayed at their own cost and against their leave entitlement."
On July 27 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the rapes, the inaction, and the planned relocation.Vines here and here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: witnesses in the UN House camp as saying that peacekeepers watched and did nothing as these rapes occurred on 17 July, and I'm wondering, you know, what is being done about that?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, first of all, yes, we take very seriously the allegations that peacekeepers may not have rendered aid to civilians in distress. Of course, that is exactly what they are supposed to do, and there would be serious repercussions if they failed in that duty. But, in this case, the force command of the mission of UNMISS is looking into the allegations, in line with its established protocols.
ICP Question: And we will get the results, whether they confirm or deny them?
Deputy Spokesman: Yes, certainly. We will update you once there is a result to that.
ICP Question: And I wanted to ask you something else about South Sudan. There is an NGO [non-governmental organization] memo that I've seen and published, which is basically protesting the shifting, the movement by the UN of IDPs [internally displaced persons] from Tomping to UN House and they say it's not prepared there, they say because of this, it could create greater Cholera risk. And they are also, obviously, in the case if it's true that people can be raped right outside the gate of the camp with peacekeepers watching, why would you be moving them there? So, I'm wondering, I know this memo has been delivered to UNMISS, but is UNMISS going to forcibly relocate IDPs from Tomping to UN house and if so why?
Deputy Spokesman: It's not a question of forcibly relocating them. What we are trying to do is make sure that, wherever the displaced people are kept, it's a place with the safest standards, so we are trying to move them to a place of greater safety. The problem throughout the country has been one of safety and the responsibility for that ultimately lies with the warring parties who have rendered huge areas, including around Juba, in and around Juba, as unsafe. But what we would need to do is have a place where we can have the best provision of facilities. The Tomping site has, as you know, been full for quite some time, and what we are trying to do is move from one area to the other gradually and as a way of ensuring better safety for the displaced people.
ICP Question: What the NGOs are saying is that Nuer in particular are at risk in UN House; that, in fact, people are saying that, in fact, the rapes that you are describing were largely targeting Nuer woman and that putting Nuer men into UN House basically makes them a target for the majority group, so are you aware of that?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, you heard what I've just said about the problems regarding the rapes. We are documenting all of the rapes, as much as we can. And we also following up at the level of the UNMISS force command with any of the problems involving peacekeepers. But, ultimatel,y we have to make evaluations based on where displaced people are located and where they will be safest, and as we make those evaluations, part of what we will be doing is moving them from one to another.
There is cholera, lack of protection and lack of planning. This is Ban's UN.
Now, Ban Ki-moon's UN has confined to only internal reporting the detention of a UN national staff member, while Ban stealthly attends book parties in New York, taking no questions.
On July 25, Inner City Press asked the UN if it recognizes the replacement of Riek Machar, and why it covers up Kiir's detention of UN staff. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: I also wanted to ask about a staff member. I've seen a memo from DSS (Department of Safety and Security) and UNMISS (United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan) and I'm wondering why we have not heard more about it. In Yambio, an UNMISS female national staff member was arrested and detained by the National Security Service, reason unclear, thought to be political, still detained. So this is as of Friday, and I haven't heard anything since from the UN. Is this staff member still detained by National Security in South Sudan?
Deputy Spokesman: I will check with UNMISS where we stand with that. Many times, what we're trying to do is just deal with the local authorities to make sure that any misunderstandings are cleared up; but, certainly, whenever that happens, we want to make sure our staff will be released.
ICP Question: Just one more on this in the same memo.
Deputy Spokesman: Hold on.
This deputy spokesman, who defends and stonewalls on Ban's and Gallach's Banning of Inner City Press from South Sudan and Haiti meetings, waited a full 24 hours to, instead of emailing his answer as he dos to scribes who do not criticize or question Ban, this canned answer: "I was also asked yesterday about the detention of a staff member in Yambio last week. According to the latest information from the UN Mission in South Sudan, she has not yet been released. UNMISS is continuing to press for access and visitation, but has thus far been denied. We are aware that her family has been able to visit her. UNMISS is continuing its engagement with the authorities in this regard."
UN whistleblowers have leaked to Inner City Press a UN memo that
"WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL: On 20 July at about 14:00 hours in Wau, two SPLA personnel stopped a UN vehicle carrying two UNMISS national staff members (of CAD Section) when they were conducting official duty (commodity survey) at Jou marked area. The SPLA questioned the UN staff members about their activities and forcefully took the shoes of one of the staff members as well as the amount 15000 SSP before releasing them unharmed."
The UN being silent on its staff robbed by the government is one thing. The UN has recently been silent, like the Committee to Protect Journalists which seeks Ban-supported access to the UN on July 25, on the detention of UN Radio journalist George Livio. But what about this?
"On 21 July, at approximately 16:25 hours, in Yambio an UNMISS female national staff member was arrested and detained by National Security Services (NSS). The reason for the Staff's detention is unclear but may be political. UN Security was denied access to the staff member... She is still detained by NSS."
Why has the UN said (and seemingly done) nothing about this? On the evening of July 22, not on his schedule which listed only UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Ban Ki-moon appeared at a book event for the spouse of the US Ambassador to the UN.
It was pre-planned: Ban's personal podium was set up in advance. But it was not on his schedule, and Ban's name was omitted from the squawk announcement by this spokesperson's office. And despite a written claimit was open to all journalists, in front of the event along with bodyguards was a sign, here, "Closed Meeting." We'll have more on this.
The nationalities of UN Police who left their posts amid the recent fighting is being withheld by Ban Ki-moon's UN, see below.
The day after UN Spokesman Farhan Haq said police which left would not be allowed to return, on July 22 Inner City Press asked him about German saying it would return despite leaving, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: you said yesterday that you were unable to determine whether there was any memo about the police that left their posts or were pulled out of the country in Juba, so I wanted to know can you now confirm that there is such a memo from Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous to Ban Ki-moon about it, that it doesn't have the Security Council material? But I also wanted to ask you, Germany has said they are going to return. This is a direct quote from Deutsche Welle, Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesman said that German police officers would return to South Sudan when the time has come. So it seems like you have said from this podium that some people won't be returning. Are the Germans returning, as they say?
Deputy Spokesman: I believe there are already still some Germans in the police contingent in the UN Mission in South Sudan, so there are some there. But, beyond that, I don't have anything specific to say about any national contingents, but I believe that they are there already.
ICP Question: They acknowledged they took people out and say that they will be returning, so that is why I'm asking you, will these same officers who left return?
Deputy Spokesman: The officers who left would not return, under the understandings we have reached; unless there is other clarification about how there was notification, the policy that we have is what I've stated a few days ago.
We'll see. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has played fast and loose with the media. On July 21 it was announced Ban would have “press remarks” at 3:30 pm. Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if the topic would be only Inter-Parliamentary Union, or something else. Haq said IPU, that's what it's about.
But once upstairs at 3:30 pm, Ban Ki-moon launched into a statement about South Sudan, while taking no question on it. Video here. He spoke about the media in South Sudan, when his UNMISS has Banned the media from entering and covering the Protection of Civilian sites at UN House and Tomping for ten days. (Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked about it on July 20.)
Ban did not mention the UN Police who left their posts during the violence, nor why his UN is treating them with kidgloves, and not naming them, due to their nationality. Inner City Press asked if it could ask a question and was told no. So it's propaganda. Knowing how Ban's UN retaliates - evicting Inner City Press from its longtime office for merely trying to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room that was nowhere described in writing as Closed, Inner City Press did not shout out its question. But this is Ban's UN: censorship.
And lack of transparency. From the July 21 UN transcript: Inner City Press: can you confirm that the UK withdrew two, Germany seven and Sweden three, and then can you state whether the US has withdrawn its police component?
Deputy Spokesman: No. I can't confirm any nationalities. Basically, the concerned Member States were informed of our decision. It's up to them to make public details on their decision to evacuate their officers, and that is of their choosing.
ICP Question: And what about a UN that opines on the qualifications of a country to be a permanent member of the Security Council? I'm wondering does the Secretariat have the same view of France, given sexual abuse in CAR (Central African Republic), and we can go down the line of the P5...
Deputy Spokesman: First of all, I'm not aware that there is any sort of authentic memo. I was actually trying to check up with my colleagues this morning about this document that was reported on one of the news wires. And, no, they looked over all their memos and there is no such document that they see, so I'm not aware of any such thing.
ICP Question: Finally, even if a country gives notice in the middle of a crisis and pulls its soldiers out, doesn't that also hurt morale? In terms of civilian staff remaining, what is the difference in terms of hurting morale? And do you encourage countries, can Chad pull out of Mali any time they want or when it gets dangerous? How does that work?
Deputy Spokesman: First of all, this is not simply an issue or pulling out. We are well aware that there are times when military circumstances on the ground are extremely dangerous. We are well aware that troop-contributing countries and police contributing countries have sovereign control over their personnel and may take operational decisions to ensure their safety, which may, from time to time, include relocating them or withdrawing them; that's very clear. For us, the issue is really one of communication and coordination; that in this case where some withdrawals were done without consulting the mission, that impedes our work and that's what we wanted to make sure does not happen.
ICP Question: How is it consistent with protection of civilians if the UN is saying to its peacekeeping and police-contributors you can leave, whenever it gets dangerous you can leave, no problem?
Deputy Spokesman: That's not what we are saying. We are not saying you can leave.
ICP Question: As long as you tell us we are leaving?
Deputy Spokesman: No, it's not even that. People have to take military decisions. We are not trying to put people into a path where they have to sacrifice themselves. There are ways to protect people in conditions of conflict that do not involve that kind of action. But what we are saying is that those actions that they take need to be coordinated. And, of course, when we do these things, we have to make sure that we can ensure the protection of civilians. We have to do that.
ICP Question: Isn't there a chain of command? Doesn't the command to come out, well, whatever, doesn't it come from the top or can individual countries say, I'm going my own way, this is what I'm asking you?
Deputy Spokesman: Of course we have a chain of command. We have force commanders for peacekeeping missions. There is a way in which all of these issues are to be handled. Again, with the appropriate amount of communication and coordination, there is a lot of things that can be done. Without that, the system doesn't work and that is why we need to make sure that all contingents understand that.
Likewise the UN was slow to call for the release of Alfred Taban, and has been quiet about its own UN radio reporter George Livio. On July 21, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye spoke out for the former:
"It is crucial for a country seeking to establish peace and stability that it takes active steps to encourage freedom of expression for everyone. Any pressure against journalists based on the content of their reporting represents regressive steps that South Sudan cannot afford to take. The arrest and detention of Mr. Taban are unlawful as they are directly linked to the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression."
Mr Kaye’s statement has also been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst; and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention."
This pair, to their credit, asked the UN why it ousted Inner City Press. But the UN's response two month later contained a falsehood - that there was an altercation, disproved by video - and Inner City Press is not aware of any follow up, and was Banned from covering a UN meeting as recently as July 20. We'll have more on this.
As Inner City Press has reported including leaks, the UN on February 19 and April 16 ousted and evicted it, petition here, and on July 10 Inner City Press was ordered by Ban Ki-moon's UN Security to leave the UN Security Council stakeout while other favored correspondents could stay. This is censorship.
Below is another internal UN system document leaked to Inner City Press, including on harassment of UN staff by the Salva Kiir government, backlash against Ban Ki-moon's proposals covered up by the UN in its public statements (Inner City Press asked the UN about it, below). And also below was the US' warning for July 20, the demonstration which featured, among other things, the old post of the UN's last SRSG packing heat.
On July 20, Inner City Press asked the UN about journalists' open letter to Ban Ki-moon to end his mission's banning of media from the UN camps. Video here.
From the UN Transcript:
Inner City Press: an open letter to Ban Ki-moon, in South Sudan a number, almost all media organizations have written an open letter to Ban Ki-moon urging that after a week of being ban from entering that they be allowed to access and report on the protection of civilian sites and UN House in Tomping say that there is no basis for keeping them out, that they are unable to report, so they have asked him directly in this open letter that I'm staring at to change the policy and allow them access. What is the overall policy of the UN and why hasn't it been implemented, if it is what I think it is, in this case?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I'll check. I mean, as you know, we've had security concerns about the various sites, including Tomping, given the events of last time, so there has been a need to make sure that the populations that we're caring for in those areas will be protected. Beyond that I will check if there is anything.
Inner City Press: Sure. Even in other circumstances the UN sees the benefit of having a reporting of even the dangerous situations. They know that it's dangerous. They want a report on it.
Deputy Spokesman: Certainly. And we try to open up sites as quickly as we can, but we try to do that with respect for the security concerns; and, as you know, the last week and a half has been a fairly exceptional circumstance in that regard.
"U.S. Embassy Juba, South Sudan, Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Demonstration in Juba on July 20
The government of South Sudan has announced that it is sponsoring ademonstration against the IGAD-proposed and AU-endorsed increase of UNMISS troops to Juba. The protest is scheduled to take place in Juba on Wednesday morning, July 20, beginning at SPLM House and moving to the John Garang Memorial. U.S. Citizens are advised to avoid the areas in which the demonstration will take place. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence."
Here's recent UN document, and what Inner City Press asked UN about it:
"The fighting might reignite despite a ceasefire. Troops are moving in Malakal, Nassir, Bor and Unity.
A recommendation has been made to relocate all UN Staff currently in Juba to the UN House Compound of the UNMISS Compound, Tomping - action was taken by FAO already.
There have been demonstrations by the Dinka against the arrival of additional International troops today, 18 July 2016.
UNMISS incoming passengers have been facing difficulties with local authorities at the airport in Juba. The president of South Sudan has instructed the local authorities not to allow foreign soldiers into South Sudan. UNMISS soldiers are considered foreign. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for South Sudan is trying to work out a solution with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
3300 IDPs are currently in the UNMISS compound – Tomping, Juba, however they will be transferred to the Protection of Civilians (POC) area.
The Ugandan military convoy is escorting Ugandans that were trapped in the capital, Juba during the heavy fighting out of South Sudan.
The IGAD summit in Rwanda and New York propose to fortify the UN Mission in South Sudan and the strengthening of Civilian Protection. This may however increase the animosity against the United Nations.
Thirty percent of the shops in Juba are open, however most shops managed by foreigners closed. There is a shortage of food, water and fuel in Juba and the border to Uganda is closed.
Looting of NGO’s inside and outside of Juba is ongoing - this may continue for a period of time.
All program criticality level 1 and 2 staff currently outside Juba must be cleared for travel by the Designated Official before proceeding to Juba. It remains the responsibility of Agency Security Focal Points and Security Officers, and UNMISS heads of sections to seek security clearance for this travel from the Chief Security Officer.There is an outbreak of cholera in Juba town, Tomping and Duk."
On July 19, Iner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: I've seen a UN memo which links these hindrances with orders by Salva Kiir to oppose any foreign troops coming in. Says that… that UNMISS is viewed as foreign troops, and that the level… that there's an anticipation that the level of animosity will increase, given the Secretary-General's call for troops and an arms embargo. So I wanted to, I guess, get you to say… do you… this is what the memo says, but are you willing to say that there's… there's a connection, that this is a pattern of harassment based on the Secretary-General's proposals, and how do you… how do you propose to protect staff from this harassment or respond to it?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I wouldn't link it to the Secretary-General's proposals. Our basic point is that there has been increased harassment of personnel. There have been increased levels of obstructions. There have been increased denials. Those are all clear, and those cannot and must not be allowed to stand. We have to be able to go about our work with… without any sort of hindrance like that. Regarding why there's a… different types of harassment from the population, I wouldn't conjecture what the reasoning is. I do believe that if there's any coordinated effort to obstruct our work, that has to be halted immediately.
Inner City Press: Right. This memo also says that the Special Representative, I guess Ms. [Ellen Margrethe] Løj, is trying to work out a solution with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior. Is that… is it fair to say that she's trying to… is… is it… is it simply to… to ensure free movement of UN staff, or is it to actually get permission to bring in the troops that have been voted on by the African Union?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, in terms of the permission and consent for troops, that is ultimately… this is something also that is being considered by the Security Council, and we'll leave some of this in their hands. As you know, the Council is considering the matter, and we're not getting in advance of that. But regarding Ms. Løj's discussions, of course she is in regular touch with the authorities in South Sudan to make sure that we can go about our work without any hindrance.
Inner City Press: And I just wanted to ask one… and thanks for the statement on Alfred Taban. There's this other journalist in South Sudan, George Livio, who's been now in prison for a year. And he's an employee of the UN's radio station there. And I wanted to know, and some people there want to know, has UNMISS made a similar call? What progress has been made in terms of getting Mr. George Livio freed?
Deputy Spokesman: We continue to work on all of these issues. Throughout the situation in South Sudan, we've been trying to make sure that freedom of expression and freedom of the media is upheld, and our Human Rights Office does monitor and investigate all of these cases.
After Ban Ki-moon's unsuccessful, some say self-serving whistlestop African tour, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni has said no way to any arms embargo. Wires like Reuters, quick to regurgitate in other instances the economics of arms sales, didn't do so here. But here is a document Inner City Press has obtained, of South Sudan's Paul Malong asking Museveni's UPDF for end user certificates on weapons.
We'll have more on this.
Below is UN's internal communication, signed off on by the head of the UN Department of Safety and Security Peter Drennan. (UNMISS' Ellen Loj said on July 13 to Inner City Press, You get everything as related to DSS, Vine here.)
Now from within UN DSS, leaked exclusively to Inner City Press, comes this: "On 15 July in Juba on two occasions during the day on the Yei Road, INGO vehicles moving to UN House PoC 1 and PoC 3 were stopped by SPLA. The occupants were reportedly questioned aggressively on a number of matters before being allowed to proceed."
And this: "On 14 July at about 16:00 hours in Malakal a private truck contracted to IOM was stopped by a group of IDPs within the PoC. The driveSen McCain and Rep Bass, those trapped were saved. No thanks to the UN, we'll have more on this.
UN leak to Inner City Press:
"Exchange of heavy gunfire outside the UN house, at about 300 meter north of the main gate started in the early hours of 10 July 2016. Few rounds of mortar shells landed close to POC 1 and inside the UN house. IDPs in large numbers subsequently began to seek refuge inside the UN house. Heavy fighting continued throughout the day including movement of towed artillery, tanks and troops. Heavy fire was observed on the hill north-east of the main gate. Fighting intensified in the afternoon near POC-3. Heavy and concentrated mortar rounds in the immediate vicinity of the UN house resulted in the SPLA IO troops concentrating around POC-1 western gate.
The UN Tomping compound area also witnessed build-up of heavily armed SPLA soldiers who took up positions and fired bursts of small arms weapon. Multiple instances of bursts of rapid small arms fire followed by heavy weapons and mortar were heard around the Tomping area all thought the day. A large number IDPs and civilians sought refuge inside UN compound in Tomping. The western gate of Tomping was affected by heavy fire.
Heavy fighting resumed this morning 11 July 2016, at about 08:50 hours in most parts of the city. UN house and Tomping compound witnessed intensified heavy bombardment with the use of mortar, tanks, artillery and fires from helicopter gunships. Other areas that witnessed armed activity where within close proximity of WFP, UNICEF, IOM and UNDP residential compounds.
Please see the attached Communiqué electronically approved by Mr. Peter Drennan, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Safety and Security dated 10 July 2016 for your information.
The text in the document reads as follows:
1. In view of the prevailing security situation in Juba, the Designated Official for South Sudan, in consultation with the Crisis Management Team, has recommended the temporary suspension of all incoming and outgoing official travel of UNSMS personnel to and from Juba until further notice, with exceptions to be decided by the Designated Official.
2. I endorse the above recommendation and request UNSMS organizations to comply. Should any mission be deemed of critical importance, advance coordination with the Designated Official should take place for consideration and approval. The security situation is continuously monitored, and once permissible, the suspension will be reviewed."
Previously leaked to Inner City Press on early on July 10: two fatalities in UN "Protection of Civilians" camp 3, seven Chinese peacekeeper injured, three to four critically. And the role of Paul Malong, see below.
After more than three hours of meeting, on July 10 the UN Security Council members emerged. US Samantha Power spoke briefly, about getting more troops from regional countries.
Inner City Press then asked the Council's president for July, Koro Bessho of Japan, if an arms embargo had been discussed - no - and which countries are being looked to. He said he would not name names.Video here.
Could it be, as the UN's Herve Ladsous seeks to continue using in Central African Republic, from Burundi? We'll have more on this. TheCouncil's Press Statement, InnerCityPro.com has put online here.
Belatedly reaching the US Security Council stakeout on July 10, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre about the injured peacekeepers - nothing -- then asked US Ambassador Samantha Power about the role of Paul Malong, should he be sanctioned? Again, nothing. After 6 pm, Inner City Press asked Angola's Ambassador about the use of attack helicopters; he said heavy weapons shouldn't be used.
The head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, who should know or quit, said he couldn't give any casualty figures. Inner City Press asked about the seven Chinese peackeepers seriously injured it reported hours earlier; Ladsous said two more, beyond the Chinese. Inner City Press asked if his DPKO has dealt with Paul Malong. No answer. Video here.
Some say the US has been too quiet, even as aircraft are prepared in Djibouti for an evacuation. From US sources, citing a "hero from Benghazi," comes word of US personnel "trapped" in Juba, amid ambushes and NSA Susan Rice set to meet with South Sudanese diaspora / in exile, including Pagan Amum as well as Bakosoro, see below.
US officials Donald Booth and Susan Page have been informed of SPLA-IO reinforcements on their way and the role of Paul Malong, with Ugandan backing. Meanwhile officials of the UN, which has helped in the cover up, blithely tweet "shame on their leaders" -- are they aware of Malong?
Inner City Press was delayed in getting to the Security Council stakeout by the eviction and accreditation downgrade by Team Ban Ki-moon as retaliation for reporting.
Here is a letter from NGOs to the Security Council, put onling by Inner City Press here.
Now as some of those fleeing are forced to climb over the UN's closed gates, with helicopters with links to Uganda's UPDF over Juba, here was the initial memo Inner City Press exclusively published:
“JUBA Nearly 150 soldiers are reported dead from Friday's clash between South Sudan's rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the First Vice President Riek Machar.
The heavy fighting occurred on Friday near J1, the Presidential Palace, between troops of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and protection unit of the First Vice President, Machar, of the SPLA in Opposition.
35 of the SPLA-IO soldiers lying dead and over 80 died from the SPLA’s side.
All the bodyguards of the First Vice President who were deployed on the street outside J1 were killed, said a senior SPLA officer.
A huge force came from nowhere and joined up with President Kiir’s tiger force and opened fire on Machar’s bodyguards deployed outside the Palace for protection."On July 8 amid the surge in violence in South Sudan, the UN Ambassador of Lithuania, until recently on the UN Security Council, tweeted on Friday that the Council would meet that afternoon about the crisis.
But when ICP asked the month's President of the Council, Koro Bessho of Japan, he said there would be no Security Council meeting that afternoon. The Lithuania ambassador deleted the tweet; the UNTV crew took down their camera. This as, for example, World Vision went on lock-down in Juba. Ban Ki-moon, in China, issued a canned statement - this as his spokesman refuses Press questions about South Sudan, calling them "too granular."
On July 7, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN Transcript here. Dujarric refused an answer, calling it "too granular."
The UN Department of Safety and Security situation report covers up what other sources say was the targeted assassination of an SPLA-IO soldier:
3. Crime – Shooting: On 05 July at about 10:30 hours in Juba, UN military personnel on patrol reported a shooting incident near the NISS HQ on Jebel Road. The report indicated that an SPLA soldier who appeared to have been shot was taken away from the scene by other Host Government security personnel. The body of a deceased SPLA –IO was reportedly later discovered in the same general area. It could however not be ascertained if this was the same person earlier taken away by HG security personnel neither could it be confirmed if the cause of death was as a result of gunshots.
On June 21, UN DSS issued and Inner City Press has obtained and exclusively publishes the below advisory about South Sudan - well, Juba - which contrasts to DSS officials' behavior, for example in New York where on February 19 they pushed Inner City Press into the street(apparently ordered to do so by DPI's Cristina Gallach), on March 10ordered it out of the UN contrary to published rules, and since then have harassed the Press even when it has a minder.