UNITES NATIONS, November 23 -- Amid human rights abuses in Burundi and the Central African Republic, yesterday Inner City Press exclusively reported and documented that the United Nations has told the Burundian government of Pierre Nkurunziza it must replace, and cannot deploy to CAR, nine officers.
Inner City Press exclusively obtained and published the UN's confidential Note Verbale with the nine names, below. This is an attempt by outgoing UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous to protect the Nkurunziza government and his CAR mission accused of sexual abuse from Human Rights recommendations that no more Burundian peacekeepers by used and paid by the UN.
Even the UN's “Note Verbale” to the Burundian government which Inner City Press exclusively obtained and published said that “the deployment of Burundian troops to MINUSCA will remain under close review, based on the evaluation of the situation in Burundi, the full cooperation of the Government of Burundi with the entire United Nations system” -- click here for exclusive photo.
Not only has the Pierre Nkurunziza government since the Note Verbale openly rejected the three members of the UN Panel of Experts replacing the three it previously declared Persona Non Grata -- now mandatory protests of the UN Panel have been decreed for Saturday, November 26. Letter here.
This is the opposite of the “full cooperation” Ladsous and Ban Ki-moon said is required to continue paying Burundi. So will the UN payments and deployment immediately end?
Neither Ladsous nor Ban Ki-moon have lived up to “Rights Up Front” to date. So incoming Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who should fire and replace Ladsous and Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach who has censored Inner City Press as it reports on human rights, has been written to, by the RDB to demand a new UN mediator. We'll have more on this.
There's more. Inner City Press then reported on the "100% French" firm, OMP Solutions, which makes money selling equipment, uniforms and services to Troop Contributing Countries in UN Peacekeeping operations run by Ladsous.
Now OMP Solutions has responded to Inner City Press with this paragraph, which raises more questions than it answers:
"In 2014, Burundi was selected by the UN to take part in the “Minusca” peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic. Burundi chose the OMP Solutions group to supply its personnel for the operation carried out on behalf of the UN. The 5-year contract between the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the OMP Solutions group involved the supply of equipment and maintenance in operational condition of this equipment, along with accompaniment for the deployment of one battalion (750 troops) and 2 Police forces (140 men per FPU). This contract covered the equipment with which the troops would be supplied (mobile kitchen, solid toilets, generators, tents, uniforms, logistical vehicles, etc.); under no circumstances were any weapons to be supplied. In July 2016, the UN decided not to relieve the Burundi Police forces present in the CAR. This meant repatriating the equipment and men to Burundi following the UN’s decision. The Burundi battalion should be relieved in December 2016. 95% of the equipment specified in the contract was delivered by OMP Solutions to the port of Douala in Cameroon. These goods were then transported to the theatre of operations by the UN (Sibut, Bangui) Each year, the UN dedicates nearly $7.5 billion to Peacekeeping Operations around the world. The States who want to take part in these operations submit their applications to the UN, which then examines the intervention conditions and declares whether or not the States are eligible."
We'll have more on this. The company's website says:
"Through a global and integrated commercial offer, OMP SOLUTIONS has been implemented for African countries seeking to match all requirements set by the United Nations regarding eligibility and reimbursement for Peacekeeping Operations. OMP Solutions is a 100% French Joint-Venture bringing together the “Groupe Marck” and Ineo Support Global, a subsidiary of ENGIE, heightening the associate’s International visibility."
What safeguards are in place to ensure that Ladsous, the fourth French official in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, does not abuse the total discretion he has asserts to keep the Burundians in MINUSCA in CAR, to benefit French business? We'll have more on this.
The UN's own Panel of Experts recommended no further UN use of Burundian peacekeepers; the Nkurunziza government declared the three panel members Persona Non Grata. When three new panel members were named this week, the UN's Dorian Lacombe, a former spokesman to Ladsous, sent it to numerous UN correspondents who do not even cover Burundi, but not to Inner City Press which does.
This is the UN of Ban Ki-moon and his Communications chief Cristina Gallach: try to exclude, even evict and restrict, the Press which reports on human rights, and whose exclusives have been credited, for example earlier this month, by the Associated Press. This retaliation must change, and the officials responsible for it should leave.
Here are nine Burundian officials that, “on the basis of a review of the personal history profiles” of which the UN has told Burundi's government to exclude and name replacements for by December 1:
Maj. Ferdinand NIYONGABO
Capt. Deogratias AHISHAKIYE
Capt. Epitace NDUWAMAHORO
Capt. Medico NZITUNGA
Capt. Diomede SINZUMUNSI
Capt. Jean-Marie NINDAGARITSE
Capt. Richard GATERETSE
Capt. Dieudonne NTUKAMAZIMA
Lt. Prosper NIWRUNZIZA
Separately, Burundian who Ladsous has used in the CAR mission stand accused of sexual abuse and exploitation, as Inner City Press has also exclusively reported, here. We'll have more on this.
The UN of Ban Ki-moon can't even handle attacks on Ban's own envoys correctly, or keep its story straight. Nor will it stand by its own humanitarian staff's finding of famine.
Inner City Press was leaked an email by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that specifically cited famine in Kirundo and other prefectures.
But in a UN Peacekeeping Configuration meeting on November 18, OCHA's representative made a point of saying, just before Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro spoke, that there is no famine in Burundi, unlike the Press has reported. The UN presentations, including by UN “resident coordinator” Paolo Lembo, ignored all the things that the UN's own Panel of Experts said make out a risk of genocide.
So much for Ban Ki-moon's supposed “Rights Up Front” -- even Ban's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee, who Ban promoted to resident coordinator in Kenya without recusing himself, doesn't even pretend to follow “Rights Up Front” as South Sudanese are targeted and raided.
The Peacebuilding Configuration on Burundi has, at times, done some good work. But the OCHA presentation on November 18, particularly in light of OCHA's own internal communications about famine, was shameful, and raising questions about who should head OCHA in 2017.
It was said that PBC chief Taranco was briefing the new Secretary General during the meeting. What are Antonio Guterres' views and ideas on Burundi? We'll report what we find. Watch this site.
Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza government is faced with documented allegations of sexual abuse and the impending repatriation of peacekeepers.
Meanwhile, as reflected in the Council of Ministers November 16 agenda tweeted here by Inner City Press, changes to the constitution are afoot in Burundi, reported to remove term limits. Nkurunziza wants to buy time, paralyzing the outside mediation, until his fraudulent internal process can be used to change the constitution and term limitsand allow him to remain in power.
Inner City Press on November 14 exclusively reported that the UN system says it has documentary evidence of sexual abuse by no fewer than 25 Burundian “peacekeepers.” Separately, six other of Burundi's deployees are failing the human rights vetting that occurs but which can, in Ban's UN, be overriden.
On this basis, those closest to this human rights issue urge, as recommended by the Independent Panel which Burundi has thrown out of the country, that no more Burundian troops be deployed to Central African Republic.
But UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous, the sources tell Inner City Press, wants to ignore this evidence and human rights recommendations and keep paying the Nkurunziza government.
Meanwhile that government has taken to demanding that the UN World Food Program pay it money to pay its own Burundian government staff ostensibly to do UN work.
Not only is WFP staying quiet: now they are using another wire service to deny the famine that was exposed in the OCHA email that Inner City Press exclusively published, below. This is what Ban Ki-moon's UN has come to, despite claims of “Rights Up Front.” We'll have more on this.
On October 20 Pierre Nkurunziza wrote a letter to Ban Ki-moon, trying to paralyze the UN process. Inner City Press asked about the letter at the UN noon briefing on November 11 and November 14. Then a wire service was found to write only about the letter, not about the rapes or repatriations, no context. What does Ban care? He wants to run for office in South Korea - and maybe to get term limits extended.
Inner City Press on November 10 reported from Burundian sources of attempts by the Pierre Nkurunziza government to “PNG” or persona non-grata Ban's Special Adviser on Conflict Prevention Jamal Benomar, who covers Burundi among other countries.