Sunday, October 10, 2010

Does UN humanitarian coordinator George Charpentier follow orders of Omar al Bashir's Minister for Humanitarian Affairs ?

By Matthew Russell Lee

KHARTOUM, October 9 -- In the week before the UN Security Council arrived in Darfur, the village of Sora “was completely burned down” as part of “intense ground fighting and aerial attacks in Eastern Jebel Marra.”

These quotes come from a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report which was left on the bus of the Press covering the Council's visit.

But the destruction of Sora, and the systematic dismantling of the Kalma Internally Displace Persons camp, were not highlighted to the Council ambassadors by the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Georg Charpentier.

Inner City Press asked two Permanent Five members' ambassadors, after the Council's final press conference, about the destruction of Sora and dismantling of the Kalma Camp. One had never heard of Sora's destruction, despite briefings ostensibly on humanitarian issues in Darfur.

The other, who said that the dismantling of Kalma Camp had not been discussed, took interest in the wording of the OCHA document Inner City Press quoted from, that the destruction was either from ground fighting or aerial attacks. Which one? Not that the UN Security Council would imposes a no fly zone at this point over Darfur or South Sudan.

The document was brought to and left on the press bus after Inner City Press asked Charpentier why he had not been more vocal about the government's blockage of the Kalma Camp during the summer, and the lack of humanitarian access to Jebal Marra from February to September of this year, and now again, after a single assessmentmission to parts of Jebal Marra.

Charpentier replied that the blockade of Kalma Camp has been “exaggerated” by the media. Of Jebel Marra, he said that food was not a problem but rather blankets, since “it gets cold up there.” He did not mention the destruction of whole villages like Sora, either to the Press or it seems to the Council.

Many in the humanitarian and journalistic communities have doubts about Charpentier's even handedness -- the former saying he tries to assuage Khartoum by saying little, the latter that he has checked his press releases with Omar al Bashir's Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Joseph Lual Achuil. (Charpentier has denied this, but a higher UN official tells Inner City Press it is true, during “this sensitive period.”) Raed more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1 comment:

john said...

The civil war has to end in Darfur. More people are dying every day for reasons, I don’t think, anyone really understands. This new film Attack on Darfur really shows the horrors that are going on over there, it's a brutal movie, very graphic, but very true.