Thursday, October 13, 2016

Central African Republic Rape Victims Smeared by Ban Ki-moon's UN, Reuters Doesn't Mention Conflict of Interest, Kompass

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, October 11-- How low has the UN fallen, in terms of corruption, not stopping rapes, and retaliating against the Press that asks the questions? April 16 eviction here and here. May 14 New York Times here;  petition here, today's story here.
Now a memo by the UN's Mercedes Gervilla, excerpted from uncritically by Reuters, smears those claiming rape by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Were this done, in this way, about others alleging rape, there would be an outcry.
  Reuters doesn't report, but Inner City Press has, that Ban Ki-moon has allowed the conflict of interest in which Mercedes Gervilla's cover-up mandate overlaps with that of her hsuband, Michael Dudley of the Office of Internal Oversight Service, which participated in Ban Ki-moon's retaliation against CAR whistleblower Anders Kompass. 
(In Ban's UN it's all in the family: Ban promoted his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee to the top UN job in Kenya, without recusal.)
While rape victims are being smears, and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous this week refused to answer Inner City Press' question if there have been any convictions at all, here was Ladsous linking the rapes to "R&R," more than a year ago. Ban Ki-moon kept Ladsous in plae and is responsible. We'll have more on this.
On June 7, when Ban Ki-moon was criticized for not fully and publicly addressing the rapes, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman, UN transcript here  and below. 
On July 1, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he would be providing the nationalities of peacekeepers newly accused of sexual abuse or exploitation later that afternoon.
He did not, nor in the days that followed. Before noon on July 5, with Dujarric present in the building but declining to hold a noon briefing in the room from which he ordered Inner City Press to leave, used as a pretext to evict it, Inner City Press asked him:
"1) On July 1 Spokesman Dujarric declined to provide the nationality of the peacekeepers involved in the sexual abuse / exploitation cases disclosed that day at the noon briefing 'because the concerned Member States will be notified shortly, hopefully later today. Once they've been notified, we should be able to share with you that information.' I inquired on the afternoon of July 1, but nothing. Please now state the nationality/nationalities, explain the dealy and state when the UN informed the nation(s) and how."
 Three hours later, with Dujarric in a baseball cap outside the UN "focus booth" it must now use to return phone calls - some about Ban Ki-moon and corruption - there was STILL no answer or explanation. This is today's UN.
On June 22 UN staff unions issued their own statement, including on the retaliation under Ban, see below. On June 24, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Farhan Haq about it, video here, UN transcript here.
We'll have more on  this. Back on June 7:
Inner City Press:  these are questions about Central African Republic but also sexual abuse.  Down in Conference Room 3 this morning, in one of the side events of the HIV event, Stephen Lewis said that the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has yet to react publicly and fully to the December 2015 CAR review panel report and that they're basically putting their faith in next SG.  Do you… where has he responded publicly and fully, and will he take a question on this at his stakeout later this week?

Spokesman:  He will take whatever question is thrown at him.

Inner City Press:  Really?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General has, through the appointment of Jane Holl Lute, through the actions that have been taken by DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department of Field Support], I think, reacted very strongly to the report.  There's more transparency.  There are more updates.  Contingents are being removed.  Contingents are not being… are not being replaced.  All sorts of measures are put in place.  Trust Funds were established.  So, I think the facts of what we have done since then, I think, speak for themselves with all due respect for Mr. Lewis.

Inner City Press:  I guess then I'd like to ask about another mister, Mr. Kompass.  Mr. Kompass has now resigned from the UN system and has said it's because he has found virtually total impunity in the wake of the charges that he forwarded to the authorities.  Do you have any comment?  Have you seen what Mr. Kompass has said about the UN system, and what's your response to that?

Spokesman:  No, I mean I… we wish Mr. Kompass well.

Inner City Press:  And I have another CAR, just non-sexual abuse.

Spokesman:  Quickly.

Question:  Sure.  This has to do with there's a report in the French media of prosecution of French soldiers in the… in the… got to say this right because it is in French… in the “Régiment d’infanterie de marine”, and I don't want to get this wrong,  “violemment agressé des civils” in 2014 they're being prosecuted.  And I wanted to know, is this something the UN… now that the French authorities have… they didn't make it public at the time, but it's now been reported.  Is this something the UN's either human rights people knew about or the mission, and what do you say about this…

Spokesman:  I don't know about this particular case, but obviously, we welcome the prosecution of anyone accused of sexual abuse. 
Back on June 2, when Ban Ki-moon did not even mention peacekeepers' rapes in the French organized Security Council debate on sexual violence in conflict, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video hereUN transcript here.