Thursday, May 17, 2018

UNHCR Corruption in Sudan, With Guterres Not Cited, Reported by IRIN and Baloch, Cameroon Stonewall

By Matthew Russell Lee, VideoQ&A
UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- A sleazy long term pattern of UNHCR bribery in Sudan was alleged in detailon May 15 by IRIN, but without mentioning that current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Antonio Guterres RAN the agency. This is similar to UN favored media not inquiring into Guterres' time at UNHCR in terms of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH), in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Guterres' UN has moved IRIN which rarely asks questions at his spokesmen's briefing into its own office while continuing to restrict Inner City Press which asks questions every day. Guterres has feet of clay, and is a censor. But who's counting? It must be mentioned - even after UNHCR, Guterres met with Sudan's Omarl al Bashir, even before asking / telling the ICC about the meeting. Since then, Guterres' res rep Marta Ruedas took a "Two Niles" award from Bashir. But this is not generally reported. From IRIN's Guterres-less but still useful story: "several individuals named in interviews with refugees as engaging in corrupt practices were still employed there as of February 2018.

“We call it the mafia – they’re supposed to be caring for refugees, but here, they think of themselves,” said one Ethiopian man in Khartoum, sitting on a bed donated by another refugee he said had paid to be resettled in Australia. The man asked not to be named because he fears arbitrary arrest and deportation by Sudanese security agents, a common concern among Khartoum’s refugees.

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch confirmed that the agency’s independent, Geneva-based Inspector General’s Office (IGO), which is mandated to look into allegations of misconduct, is carrying out the investigation.

“UNHCR does everything to ensure the integrity of the resettlement programme as it is absolutely vital to maintain the confidence of refugees and the states involved,” Baloch said. “UNHCR investigations are led by professional investigators.'" Baloch, always polite to Inner City Press, is also the one who only half responded when a UNHCR staffer from Cameroon said Paul Biya's government should crackdown harder, amid now increased torching of villages and grandmothers. We'll have more on this. The UN has disclosed child rape charges against one of its peacekeepers from Nepal in South Sudan, in a 6 pm Friday dirty data dump that has become the UN norm. The child rape allegation is accompanied by another sexual exploitation allegation against a South African UN peacekeeper in the DR Congo, both dated April 20 like an earlier one against a peacekeeper from Niger, the dating of which the UN never explained when Inner City Press asked. Six UN cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers were disclosed on the UN's website at 5 pm on Friday 13 April, in what can only be described as a dirty data dump. On April 23, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this practice, and about the alleged child rape. Video here; UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about sexual abuse and exploitation.  On Friday, at 5 p.m. or past 5 p.m., which now two Fridays in a row, it was a… what some see now as kind of a data dump in terms of the timing of it, the disclosure…

Spokesman:  It's not Friday everywhere at 5 p.m., all right?
Inner City Press: Okay. At Friday at 6 p.m. in New York in UN Headquarters… they've disclosed child rape, alleged child rape, by a Nepali peacekeeper in South Sudan, as well as in MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo], more South African allegations, in this case an adult.  And I'm just wondering, it seems like… one, does… does the UN treat these allegations where it's a child more seriously and what… all… all it says is… in each of these disclosures, is pending, pending, pending, pending.  What's the status of the Nepali accused in this case?

Spokesman:  The [United Nations] Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) received an allegation of sexual abuse involving unidentified members of the Nepalese contingent.  The UN has informed, obviously, Nepal of the allegation.  We've requested a full investigation be conducted by the troop-contributing country within the expedited timeframe of 90 days, jointly with a team of… from OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services].  In this respect, the member… Nepal's response whether it will investigate the matter is expected by 25 April or on.  UNMISS, as you know, has a zero… like all of us, have a zero-tolerance [policy] and no excuse and no second chance approach to child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The Mission reiterates that such acts should be properly investigated, and where applicable, criminal prosecution be pursued under the law of the contributing country.  I mean, obviously, any act of sexual abuse is horrendous; one involving a child, I think, is especially heinous, if one needs to qualify these things." And yet they just dump the data on Fridays. And Inner City Press' coverage was picked up in South Sudan, here. Back on April 13, one involves alleged child rape by a UN civilian contractor in South Sudan, four involve Nigerian soldiers in Liberia, and one a soldier from Nigeria in the Central African Republic. This last is dated April 20, which hasn't yet arrived. The data, and the UN, is dirty in at last two ways. As this batch was being released, UNSG Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric left whistling; he does not answer Inner City Press' written or even some in-person questions. (This may be his boss' orders, see Guterres' non-answer on April 13, here.) On April 16, Inner City Press asked Dujarric in person, as it had on April 14 in writing without response, about the discrepancies. He at first dodged, then dissembled. From the UN Transcript: Inner City Press: I'd wanted to ask you, it seems like, on Friday, at just after 5 p.m. the UN disclosed a new set of sexual exploitation and abuse cases.  So, I'd… I'd asked you immediately thereafter why one of them is dated 20 April.  And it seems like, since we haven't reached then yet… maybe they're reading into the future, but that's a case in the CAR [Central African Republic], which you were just talking about, Niger, sexual exploitation.  There's a case of child rape, alleged child rape, by a civilian UN contractor in UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] and several cases from UNMIL [United Nations Mission in Liberia], I guess from the past.  One… so, what can you say about these cases? What's being done on them? Two, why is one of them dated in the future?  And then I have a question about UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS]?

Spokesman:  I don't know why the dating issues…
Inner City Press:  I'm looking at it.

Spokesman:  I'm not debating the veracity of what you're telling me.  I'm just saying I don't know, which happens to be a fact on a lot of things, in fact.  The UNMISS case relates to allegations of rape of a 15-year-old minor, implicating a local contractor from the UN Mission in South Sudan, which resulted in a pregnancy.  We're, obviously, deeply concerned about the serious allegation which was reported in late March.  Through the support of our partners and the victim rights advocate on the ground, the victim has received immediate medical and psychosocial assistance.  The allegations are being investigated by OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services], and the local authorities are also informed of the allegations.
Inner City Press: But… so, do they have immun… I guess my question is, it says OIOS, but it seems like, if this is a… a local staff that's presumably allegedly raping a local citizen, is it subject to local law?

Spokesman:  It's a local contractor.  I think we're… it's being investigated.
Inner City Press:  And on UNAIDS?

Spokesman:  I'll come back to you on UNAIDS.... [Later]

Inner City Press: I just am saying the column that I was reading to you about 20 April 2018, it says "date" at the top of it.

Spokesman:  I have no doubt that you are right." And still, ten hours later, nothing. Meanwhile at the UN Stakeout, Guterres' envoy on Sexual Violence and Conflict said she no longer reports on UN abuse, Periscope video here, it's up to Jane Holl Lute - who says she doesn't follow the details. Guterres is making the UN worse and worse. Watch this site.  Inner City Press earlier in the month first reported and asked about two ten new cases, by a Burundi soldier in the Central African Republic, and a Gambian police figure in Liberia, before that UN Mission closed. The CAR mission MINUSCA is very much ongoing, making the alleged sexual exploitation by the force sent by "Eternal Supreme Guide" Pierre Nkurunziza all the more problematic