AFRICANGLOBE – The United Nations-African Union force in Darfur (Unamid) has failed to carry out its mission of protecting civilians and has lied about its actions, the force’s former spokeswoman has said.
Aicha Elbasri, who resigned her post one year ago in protest, said that she “could no longer speak on behalf of a UN mission that is incapable of protecting defenceless civilians and can’t stop lying about it.”
Ms. Elbasri said she is now publicising her allegations because “the United Nations may never investigate its own wrongdoing, and the African Union is more concerned with shielding war criminals than protecting the people of Darfur.”
It is her hope, she added, that “the media and the general public will … call the United Nations, as well as the African Union, to account.”
Officials with Unamid in Darfur and at UN headquarters in New York have engaged in “Orwellian doublespeak,” Ms Elbasri wrote in Foreign Policy, a Washington-based online journal.
“UN reports on the region, for instance, typically and euphemistically use ‘air strikes’ for indiscriminate bombing of civilians, ‘sporadic clashes’ for continuous war, and ‘sexual and gender-based violence’ for systematic rape,” she said.
She added that “the lies, omissions, half-truths and disinformation about Darfur weren’t limited to Unamid. They certainly extended to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations [in New York], some UN agencies and all the way up.”
To support her account, Ms Elbasri provided Foreign Policy reporter Colum Lynch with what he describes as “a massive trove of highly confidential Unamid documents — including thousands of pages of emails, police reports, internal investigations and diplomatic cables.”
By: Kevin J. Kelley