Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In S Sudan, UN Admits to ICP Leer Is Off-Book, As ICP Asks of Kiir Orders Kids Out Of Camps

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 – Even after the UN declared famine in South Sudan, the Salva Kiir government responded by raising the fee on the international NGOs fighting the famine to 10,000. Now we've learned of an UNreported "Temporary Protection Area" next to the UN base in Leer, kept quiet by the UN in order to stay in good with the Kiir government. It is shameful - and dangerous. So is this: children of families who fled Kiir government threats and violence and live in the UN base in Juba were supposed to be allowed to taken the national secondary school test inside the base on March 6. 

But the government now says they must leave the base to be tested - and UNMISS and UNICEF, which runs the schools in the bases, have said nothing.  More cover up for Kiir: shameful. 
On March 7, after reporting on the off the books "Temporary Protection Area" in Leer, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about it. Video here.
Haq said everything is included. On March 8, Inner City Press asked again, and about the UN's silence on Kiir ordering children to leave the UNMISS camps to take tests. Video here,UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I'd asked you yesterday about this temporary protection area near the UN base in Leer in South Sudan.  And I'm wondering, you seemed to say it was included in the reports, but I still don't see it.  But, I have another question, which has to do with the base…

Deputy Spokesman:  Yeah, actually on that, before you go ahead, I got this just now.  Let me just see.  And it says… yes, the Temporary Operating Base in Leer was established in November 2015, following a resurgence in violence in the area.  In consultation with humanitarian partners who withdrew due to insecurity, destruction and the looting of their premises and vital supplies, the temporary base was established to mitigate against the deteriorating situation in South and Central Unity.  Leer has a Temporary Protected Area, which is protected by UNMISS [United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan].  It not a full-fledged protection site, as it is not equipped with camp managers or full humanitarian services, neither of which are present in Leer.  UNMISS forces have been providing medical services — they have delivered 48 babies — and water to the displaced population.  The Leer Temporary Protection Area is not represented in the Protection of Civilians Site Update because there are no official figures for the population, as our humanitarian partners have not conducted biometric registration nor a reliable head count.

Inner City Press:  About the base in Juba.  I'm told that South Sudan is conducting a… a secondary school test.  They began Monday.  And they were supposed to conduct them for the students and youths living in the camp inside the camp.  But, at the last minute, the Government said, no, you have to come outside of the camp to do it.  And several hundred children are not going out of the camp because they feel unsafe with the Government and its national security service overseeing their test.  What I'm wondering is, what is the role of the UN in there?  I'm told that UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] runs the schools.  Does the UN have any comment on the Government, at the last minute, switching and requiring people under the UN's protection to come out of the camp, their fears, and why haven't they taken this up with the Government?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, I'll see whether UNICEF has anything to say with that… about that, but you can also check with our UNICEF colleagues.

Question:  Also UNMISS.  I mean, it's an UNMISS Protection of Civilians camp.  So, if the Government is ordering people to leave UN protection camps, isn't that of concern to UNMISS or to even higher up in the building?

Deputy Spokesman:  We'd have to see whether that's what they're doing.  I'm just going by your report on that.  All right.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan.  I’ve become aware that there’s, next to the UN base in Leer, something called a temporary protection area that has… is protecting civilians, but it’s not included in the… in the… this Protection of Civilians weekly release that’s put out by UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) so… whereas something called an adjacent area in Wau is included.  So some people there say this is kind of a… kind of an off-the-books or under-the-table.  Can you… maybe you’ll know it from the podium or I’d actually like you today to get an answer whether there is a temporary protection area in Leer and, if so, why it was chosen not to include it in the… the disclosures that the UN puts out of people it protected?  And what would happen if people there were actually attacked by Government forces that they’re seeking to flee from?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we do disclose all of the various Protection of Civilians sites, as well as adjacent areas, so that information is provided.  Depending upon what the facilities are, we… you know, we provide different updates if other areas are set up.  I don’t have any particular information about any site in Leer, but we can check.
 From the UN's March 6 transcript
Inner City Press: Mr. O'Brien was in South Sudan.  There's a document that's being circulated online [h/t/ Jason Patinkin, here] that the Government is now charging NGOs a $10,000 business license fee.  This  comes in the wake of the famine determination.  Does OCHA [Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] or the UN have any response to the Government increasing its fees on groups trying to address the drought?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, like I just said a few seconds ago about this, Mr. O'Brien has spoken to the press following his visit.  One of the points he made is that aid workers continue to face multiple obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including active hostilities, access denials, and bureaucratic impediments.  And the basic point is, as he said, we need the access and the funds to save even more lives.

Inner City Press:  Right, so this includes this $10,000 fee?

Deputy Spokesman:  It includes all bureaucratic impediments, yes.
    With the UN speaking more about South Sudan, including a four-speaker press conference on February 22 manipulated by holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, its reflexive covering up for the Salva Kiir government continues. Inner City Press has been sent, by outraged whistleblowing UN staff, the following internal directive, which pretends that those robbing UN staff are NOT in fact with the government. Finding no answers from "spokesman" Dujarric even to questions on which he has been given an if-asked answer by those above him in the UN system, we publish it in full.
"Ref: 025/SB/02/23/2017 It has come to the attention of UN Security that criminals in civil clothes operating in pairs or individually and purporting to be personnel of Host Government National Security are operating around prominent supermarkets/stores in Juba and targeting UN/INGO personnel for harassment and robbery. These individuals accost unsuspecting staff members coming out of the supermarket and flash identification cards as personnel of National Security. They immediately accuse staff members of having gone to change money inside the supermarket and seek to search the pockets of staff members to determine if any currency exchange has been made or not. It is their assessment that staff members with more than 5000 SSP must have changed money. Reports received indicate that this scenario is continuously playing out and staff members are falling victims to these criminals.
The following advisory are recommended to ensure the safety and security of staff:
Do not carry large sums of money on you whilst moving in town. Staff members should not agree to be subjected to bodily search except when their lives are in danger.   Park UN vehicles at designated car park inside the supermarket if one is available. Staff members should avoid the temptation of changing money in supermarkets as some of these venders may be collaborating with the criminals. As much as possible avoid driving alone in town. Staff members driving alone are more vulnerable targets. Always remember to drive with doors locked and windows closed. Never leave the car unless forced to do so. Do not display items (phones, laptop- bag, handbags etc) openly in your car. Put them on the floor, under the seat or preferable in the boot of vehicle.  Avoid argument and struggle with an armed robber. Report all security incidents, unusual happenings/activities, or events to the SIOC Duty Officer on 0922777765 or Juliet Sierra Base immediately and pass as much as possible information (who, where, when) to the duty officer."
   The UN system seems intent on covering up the disappearance of South South opposition figures in Kenya, where Ban Ki-moon made his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee the UN Resident Coordinator.
 On February 7, Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, Ban's old spokesman, still speaking for the UN, transcript here: 
Inner City Press: You talked about South Sudan, and I wanted to ask you, are aware of an order among the UN Humanitarian Air Service to basically try to discourage Kenyan nationals from going to any IO-controlled territory because of the capture of IO officials in Kenya?  [Cross talk]

Spokesman:  No...
  Dujarric referred to one of the UN agencies the transition process at which is entirely murky. So here now is the document leaked to Inner City Press, put on Scribd here.

  This comes at a time when the failures of Herve Ladsous' UNMISS are being raised, including in Washington, and is published in light of danger and the UN Spokesman refusing to answer questions. We'll have more on this.
On January 11 after South Sudan said that it will not, in fact, accept the 4,000 new peacekeepers for the Regional Protection Force, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about it. Video here; UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: On South Sudan, the government say they’re not going to take the regional protection force. What do you think the Council can or should do?
Amb Rycroft: They committed earlier to accept the regional protection force. They are obliged to accept it, given Security Council decisions, and we call on them again to accept that regional protection force in the interest of longer term stability in South Sudan.
When the UN Security Council members met about South Sudan on December 15, the best they could do was extend the mandate of the UNMISS mission for a single day. Even then, there was already news of UNMISS having given arms to warlord, or “rebel general,” James Koang.

 Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Samantha Power about this on December 16 and she said she hadn't read it. On December 19, even while fielding a pre-picked question on South Sudan, Power still refused to answer.Video here.