Saturday, April 2, 2016
On CAR Rapes, ICP Asks of Ladsous, Banned from UNSC, Spox "On Vacation"
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- Amid a litany of rape charges against UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press exclusively obtained and on February 12 published UN emails showing another round of sexual abuse of minors in Ouaka prefecture in the Central African Republic by UN Peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Click here to view.
On March 23 at the UN Security Council stakeout, Inner City Press asked the DRC's foreign minister about the rapes, and he said the UN rapes as well. Video here, from Minute 6:11.
At the March 31 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: what I wanted to ask is this. If it is the case that there are rapes taking place as recently as this week and if the Secretary-General had proudly announced that the forced retirement or resignation of Babacar Gaye was a strong action, what explains the continuing abuse by the mission? You brought up Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous, and you said Mr. Ladsous is there and talking to him. Obviously, he's in charge of UN peacekeeping. In this room, he said there'd be fewer rapes if there were relatively cheap [rest and recuperation] flights out. I'd like you to respond to, like, why hasn't… if the Secretary-General is this concerned, why has the only action taken thus far been to get Babacar Gaye out? And I also wanted to ask you, given that this is a high-profile consultation of the Security Council, why is the glass door to the Security Council locked and the guard didn't allow me through the turnstile?
Spokesman: Matthew, Matthew, I'm… today I'm taking a vacation from your access issue.
Inner City Press: I need it to cover the meeting.
Spokesman: I understand.
Inner City Press: I need it to cover meeting, and I was Banned from covering it.
Spokesman: Can I answer your question?
Question: [Inaudible]? That's what I want to ask. [Was about Lute.]
Spokesman: I can't confirm it because I didn't see it with my own eyes. Okay. First of all, I think it would be… first of all, to go back to a point of disagreement you and I have had for a long time, that's not what Mr. Ladsous said.
Inner City Press: Did he say cheap flights? [Video here.]
Spokesman: That's not what Mr. Ladsous said. Second of all, it is not the only measure that has been taken. We have seen recently whole contingents being rotated out. We have seen increased awareness on behalf of the mission. I think the way this… these particular cases are a testament to it, how we've been updating people very publicly as soon as there are allegations we're moving forward and we're investigating. It is the responsibility… the ultimate responsibility of Member States to ensure that the troops that are given behaved properly, and if they don't behave properly that all those soldiers who are found guilty of gross abuse, of abuse that defies words, be held accountable to the strongest possible extent of the law.
Inner City Press: Yesterday, in the lobby, I spoke with the Permanent Representative of Burundi, Albert Shingiro. I want to say he was entirely chipper, not even talking about rapes. He was talking about how great Pierre Nkurunziza is doing. So I want to know, will you say what type of meeting was this? It's described by you as taking these TCCs [troop-contributing countries] to task, and yet if the Permanent Representative, who just had the meeting, isn't concerned and isn't talking about it…
Spokesman: You know, frankly, what the Permanent Representatives may tell you on your lobby beat and what may happen in the meeting are two different things. Mr. Khare was very direct into… into the allegations. The commitment we received from Burundi is that they would be sending national investigating officers within the next few days and that they were taking these allegations extremely seriously.
Inner City Press: You know they're investigating mass graves as well, right…?
Spokesman: I'll move on.
And move on he did.
On March 31, after being Banned from the stakeout as the Council met about new rapes in CAR, Inner City Press belatedly entered. After outgoing UNSC President Gaspar Martins read Press Elements, Inner City Press began to ask him about the allegations again the French Sangaris force, including bestiality.
To cut off Inner City Press' question, Agence France Presse's Carole Landry said, "Journalists first." Video here.
Landry is on the executive committee of the UN Correspondents Association, which headed by Giampaolo Pioli has lobbied UN official Cristina Gallach to oust Inner City Press from its shared office and from the UN. But should Gallach be partnering with a group that tries to shout down others, or call them non-journalists, at the stakeout?
After Pioli on March 24 came to the Council stakeout and four times called Inner City Press an "a*hole," audio here, nothing was done. Pioli was present on March 31 but apparently stood behind "enforcer" Landry of AFP.
Pioli used AFP before, in defense of (French) head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, here. Landry and AFP, tellingly, never reported what Ladsous said on UNTV on September 11, 2015, that there would be fewer rapes if the peacekeepers were taken on "relatively cheap R&R flights," here.
Now what will Gallach, still intent on evicting Inner City Press and having it harassed by UN Security, do? Watch this site.
Now, two days after the UN's top lawyer Miguel de Serpa Soares ordered Inner City Press out of the UN and USG Cristina Gallach specified an April 6 deadline, it is reported by Code Blue that de Serpa Soares was spinning rapes, too, on March 29. Censorship of critical media amid cover up.
Below is what Code Blue put out on the evening of March 30. But first, the UN's belated spin, hours after USG Gallach's eviction order - and after Inner City Press ran into Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro in the UN lobby - since it does not have access to its long time office- and he spun Burundian troops' good behavior:
"On Friday 25 March the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) announced that it had received new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse that had taken place between 2013 and 2015 by UN and non-UN personnel, as well as by local armed groups, in the Kemo prefecture of the Central African Republic. Further information was also provided by the Spokesman's Office on Monday, 28 March.
A MINUSCA-led integrated team comprised of Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Human Rights, Child and Women’s Protection, Conduct and Discipline, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNHCR travelled to the area and is now on the ground. The exact number and nature of these extremely troubling allegations are still being determined. The team has identified the contingents in question as those provided by Burundi and Gabon. Allegations made against the French Sangaris forces in the same area are also being investigated. Alleged victims are being interviewed and will be provided with assistance and psycho-social and medical support.
The Burundian and Gabonese units allegedly involved will remain confined in camps during the investigation, except for essential tasks.
The United Nations has formally notified the Troop Contributing Countries in question, as well as to the French authorities, informing them of these allegations. The Troop Contributing Countries have been requested to send investigators immediately to participate jointly in the ongoing investigation.
The Under Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare met with the Permanent Representative of Burundi on Wednesday, 30 March and the Security Council will be briefed on the latest developments in closed session on Thursday, 31 March. A meeting with representatives of Gabon will take place as soon as possible.
More information will be provided as it becomes available."
Yeah - after Ban's Gallach evicts the critical Press.
Earlier at the day's noon briefing Inner City Press had asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: