UN Report On Darfur Crimes Comes Under Criticism, Violence Continues In South Sudan
UN Will Not Release Full Report On Darfur
On October 29, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said he was “deeply troubled” by the findings of a review into recent allegations that the UN intentionally sought to cover up crimes against civilians and peacekeepers.
The report found evidence that the UN held back on information about 16 instances in which crimes occurred. Earlier this year, the Security Council ordered a review of the mission in Darfur after criticisms over its effectiveness were raised, but Ban refused to move forward with an investigation.
It was only after a whistleblower aired allegations in a series of articles in Foreign Policy magazine that a probe was initiated. While a summary has been released, the full report remains unaired. And that is cause for concern.
A whistleblower tells Foreign Policy that the report is actually a cover-up of a cover-up.
“This is not the ‘thorough, independent, and public inquiry’ the International Criminal Court called for in June,” added Aicha Elbasri, who cooperated with the U.N. review. “What we have here is just a cover-up of a cover-up.”
The article’s author concedes that the summary echoes Ban’s conclusion that there was no evidence U.N. and African Union peacekeeping officials ‘intentionally’ covered up crimes, he argued it “provides considerable circumstantial evidence” suggesting they may have.
“For instance, the report concludes that UNAMID official failed to furnish U.N. headquarters with one report detailing attacks, rapes, and looting by pro-government forces at four villages in the Darfuri village of Tawilla. The mission also never informed New York that Sudanese government forces piloting an attack helicopter had threatened to attack a U.N. convoy,” writes Colum Lynch today in Foreign Policy magazine.
Unfortunately, the United Nations has proven as ineffective in negotiating peace in Sudan today as it was decades ago as an advance by South Sudanese rebels on the oil town of Bentiu is endangering power-sharing talks that are set to open in Ethiopia, reports Reuters.
South Sudan has seen near civil war conditions since last December and violence has forced more than 1.7 million people from their homes and has raised concerns about the potential of famine.