News Story from: 12/18/14
December 18, 2014 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — Foreign Policy‘s senior diplomatic reporter Colum Lynch received the silver medal for the Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize during the U.N. Correspondents Association’s annual awards dinner, for his three-part series (“They Just Stood Watching”, “Now We Will Kill You” and “A Mission That Was Set Up to Fail”) on the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur. In addition, James Reinl, a Foreign Policy contributor, won a gold medal for his reporting on Somalia and Kenya, including this story, “Crazy Town,” about PTSD in Somalia.
The three-part Darfur series was the result of Lynch obtaining and examining thousands of pages of internal mission reports and investigations, possibly the largest leak of internal documents of an ongoing investigation in the U.N.’s history. Those documents shed light on how Darfur’s combatants, particularly the Sudanese government, effectively neutered the U.N. and African Union peacekeeping mission, undermining its capacity to fulfill its primary duty to protect nearly 2 million civilians displaced by Sudan’s genocide. It also revealed that the peacekeeping mission’s administrators routinely suppressed evidence linking the Sudanese government to crimes against civilians and peacekeepers. Lynch’s investigation, the longest reported series in Foreign Policy’s history, fueled calls by Darfuri rebel and civil society groups, Security Council governments, and Human Rights Watch for a full U.N. investigation into what went so disastrously wrong with the mission.
The FP Group’s CEO and Editor, David Rothkopf, said, “FP has a long tradition of exceptional reporting and analysis and Colum’s series is an example of our very best work. He identified an important case as he has throughout his distinguished career. Tenacious digging and great writing compels the reader to devote their attention to a serious problem that otherwise might well have gone unnoted. ”
Lynch’s silver prize is for print and online coverage of the U.N. and U.N. agencies, named in honor of Elizabeth Neuffer, the Boston Globe bureau chief at the United Nations, who died while on assignment in Baghdad in 2003. Lynch, who is FP’s senior diplomatic reporter, came to the magazine from The Washington Post, where he covered a wide range of diplomatic developments dealing with crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia for more than a decade.
FP contributor James Reinl won the gold medal for the United Nations Foundation Prize for his reporting on Somalia and Kenya, including a story in Foreign Policy: “Crazy Town”. Reinl reported from Mogadishu on the long-term effects of PTSD and mental illness that has haunted Somalia after decades of civil war. He sheds light on the horrific conditions that many of the mentally ill have to live with across Somalia, a country where, according to Reinl, more than one-third of the population suffer from some sort of mental illness.
Reinl’s gold medal is for print and broadcast media for coverage of humanitarian and development aspects of the U.N. and U.N. agencies. James Reinl is a freelance correspondent, and has won awards for covering wars in Sri Lanka, Congo and Somalia; Haiti’s earthquake; and human rights abuses in Iran.
The United Nations Correspondent’s Association’s annual ball was held on December 16, 2014 in New York City. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the present of the awards.