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Cablegate: Unamid Darfur Human Rights Report Delayed

VZCZCXRO2647
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0940/01 1771001
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251001Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1151
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0247
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000940

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, SE WILLIAMSON, DRL
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM KPKO SOCI UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID DARFUR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT DELAYED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. UNAMID Acting Human Rights Chief Joanna Oyediran
told FieldOff June 24 that the first UNAMID human rights report,
which was due to be published in July, had been delayed until
September. The human rights office was "taking a bit more time to
work out content" for the report, but said that it would be heavily
focused on accountability and "procedural" issues rather than a
catalogue or narrative of abuses. Oyediran noted that such issues
were timely in light of the establishment of special courts in
Khartoum to deal with alleged collaborators in the May 10 attack on
Omdurman, and concerns about due process and fair trials for the
accused. Her focus on Sudanese procedures rather than substance,
and her attempts to highlight Government of Sudan (GoS) progress on
issues relating to violence against women, may signify that the
report will contain carefully crafted positive spin on a situation
that most international and local observers agree is not measurably
improving. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------------
Omdurman Attack Raises HR Concerns
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) UNAMID Acting Human Rights Chief Joanna Oyediran, who is
the Human Rights team leader for Sector West, told FieldOff that the
first bi-annual human rights report would be delayed from July until
September. She noted that UNAMID was taking some time "to work out
content," but that the report would largely focus on accountability
for human rights abuses, and government procedures for processing
allegations of abuses. She noted that these issues were
particularly pressing in the wake of the May 10 attack on Omdurman,
which had resulted in a wave of detentions and the establishment of
three special courts in Khartoum to prosecute alleged collaborators.


3. (SBU) Although most arrests following the Omdurman attack were
concentrated in Khartoum, there had been a handful of arrests in
Darfur as well. In West Darfur, 13 individuals from both the
Zaghawa and Massalit tribes have been arrested in connection with
the attack, including a deputy Umda and a prominent local attorney.
In North Darfur, Oyediran was only aware of one or two arrests,
neither of which had resulted in charges. In South Darfur, she
reported, 24 or 25 individuals had been detained, and one 47 year
old detainee died while in custody in Nyala on or around June 10.
While initial reports suggested foul play, she noted that UNAMID had
not yet been able to access the results of the autopsy to determine
the cause of death.

4. (SBU) Oyediran said that most of the arrests in Darfur had not
taken place immediately following the Omdurman attack, which she
believed indicated that the GoS arrested suspects based on a
previously-existing "hit list" of individuals to be detained. "Most
certainly there are individuals in Darfur who were involved in
planning and equipping the rebels who attacked the capital," she
stated, "however the lack of due diligence in producing evidence and
conducting investigations raises serious questions about the
potential for a fair trial for these detainees." Oyediran said that
UNAMID had been granted access by the GoS to detainees in West
Darfur, but was denied access to those in custody in South Darfur.
Therefore the UNAMID human rights report will address the issues of
access to detainees by families and human rights monitors and due
process procedures, said Oyediran.

--------------------------------------------- -----
GoS Making Progress on Violence Against Women...
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (SBU) Apart from the arrest and due process issues, Oyediran
pointed out that there had also been some "good news stories" on
human rights in Darfur over the past months. For example, in West
Darfur the State Committee to Eliminate Violence Against Women had
recently begun meeting. Established in 2006, the committee had not
met until the new Minister of Social Welfare took the helm in April
2008. Since then, the committee had met several times, with UNAMID
representatives attending as observers. Oyediran admitted that the
committee's focus, currently limited to advocacy on individual
cases, was both narrow and misguided, but noted that "the tone of
the dialogue is encouraging in a way that we didn't expect only a
few months ago."

--------
Comment
--------

6. (SBU) Oyediran's description of the contents of the upcoming
human rights report represents a significant departure from previous
accounts. UNAMID Human Rights Chief Marie Therese Keita previously
told FieldOff that the report would feature a detailed account of
human rights abuses and trends based on investigations and

KHARTOUM 00000940 002 OF 002


interviews with victims. Furthermore, the Human Rights Office's
upbeat assessment of GoS progress on addressing violence against
women was particularly baffling, considering statements made on June
19, when the Security Council adopted resolution 1820 calling for
the complete halt to acts of sexual violence against civilians in
combat zones by unanimous vote. Speaking in support of the
resolution, delegates repeatedly deplored the situation in Darfur
and called on the GoS to stop the use of rape as a weapon of war.
Once again, some international observers seem to be mistaking
process over results as a measure of progress in Sudan.

7. (SBU) UNAMID's delay in releasing the report in order to finalize
content, together with its focus on Sudanese procedural issues
rather than substance, suggests that it is not yet ready to confront
the GoS on the abuses continuing in Darfur. The attempt to find a
"good news story" in an area that was just condemned by the Security
Council also undermines UNAMID's credibility. There are few human
rights monitoring organizations operating in Darfur, and those who
do must walk a fine line in order to continue their work on the
ground. UNAMID is unique in that it has a legal right to operate in
Darfur, and should start exercising it.

FERNANDEZ

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