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UN chief ‘deeply troubled’ by Darfur Mission's silence

October 30 - 2014 NEW YORK

Unamid's silence when it should report on crimes against civilians and peacekeepers, has 'deeply troubled' the UN Secretary General.

In five of the cases examined by a special review commission of the UN, the Mission did not provide UN Headquarters with full reports on the circumstances surrounding the incidents.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he is deeply troubled, saying that “keeping silent or under-reporting on incidents involving human rights violations and threats or attacks on UN peacekeepers cannot be condoned under any circumstances”.

The review, initiated by the Secretary-General, investigated recent allegations that Unamid intentionally sought to cover up crimes against civilians and peacekeepers. The accusation was made by former Unamid spokeswoman Aicha Elbasri early in April this year.

The Review Team examined all the material related to 16 incidents, which were the basis of these allegations. It also interviewed former and current staff in Unamid and at UN Headquarters. The Team did not find any evidence to support these allegations, but it did find “a tendency to under-report unless absolutely certain of the facts”.

In five of the cases examined, the Mission did not provide UN Headquarters with full reports on the circumstances surrounding these incidents. The Review Team also found that the Mission took an “unduly conservative approach to the media, maintaining silence when it could have developed a press line, even in the absence of all the facts”.

The Secretary General promised that the UN will take all necessary steps to ensure full and accurate reporting by Unamid.

“Every effort will be made to ensure that sensitive information is systematically brought to the attention of UN Headquarters and the Security Council in a timely fashion. UNAMID’s media policy will be re-examined to ensure greater openness and transparency. The Mission will be expected to follow up formally and report on Government investigations into incidents where peacekeepers have been killed or injured”, according to the statement.

The UN chief wants to be assured that the UN speaks out “consistently against abuses and identifies the perpetrators”. He looks forward to the upcoming review of UN peace operations as an opportunity to comprehensively address this issue, which is a core element of his Human Rights up Front initiative.

For more details: Radio Dabanga Dossier: Sudan Leaks

File photo: Unamid flag (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Related:

'UN human rights reporting on Darfur should improve’: HRW (25 August 2014)

Darfur Bar questions UN investigation team's integrity (18 August 2014)

'Investigation team in Darfur within weeks’: Unamid head (12 August 2014) 

UN to probe Darfur peace mission (3 July 2014)

ICC demands investigation of Unamid in Darfur (18 June 2014)


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