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ICP Asks UN of Bangladesh Threats Against Daily Star Newspaper

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 -- Amid the violence in Bangladesh, Inner City Press has for a third time asked the UN how it reviews whether the military personnel it uses from Bangladesh have not been involved in human rights violations. February 5 videoUN's February 20 transcript; February 23 transcript, video here.

  On February 24, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: On Bangladesh, it seems like the violence is escalating but my question to you is about a statement by current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina where she says a publication, The Daily Star, legal action should be taken for publishing a photograph of a poster campaign of protesters in the street.  Iím wondering first if you have any response to that and also if you have anything new. I know there was a request to go.  Where do things stand as people seem to be getting disappeared et cetera?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I donít have an update for you on that except obviously to say that we support freedom of expression and the right for newspapers to exist, which is a big part of democracy in any country.

   But what about using "peacekeepers" who have been involved in the violence? On February 23, Inner City Press asked Dujarric:

Inner City Press: Iíd asked you Friday, it involves the use by UN peacekeeping of peacekeepers from Bangladesh, not generally, but very specifically.  Basically a list has emerged of  particular commanders who participated in whatís called the massacre in 2013 that led to Mr. Taranco going over there and what I guess Iím still striving to understand is since these names are public and some are part of a filing addressed to the ICC, which I donít know if the ICC has taken or not, but very specific things, what review is done by the UN of known documented firing at civilians and then being sent to peacekeeping missions, including MONUSCO?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think there is a, there is a review process that these units go through, with both DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and the host country.  And thatís a process.  I donít have any, go ahead.

Inner City Press: given the Secretariatís stated interest in the rising political violence in Bangladesh, can you get some statement from DPKO what review has ever been done on the contingent sent to the country?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think the reviews are part of the usual procedure.  But if I have anything else, I will give that to you.

  Five hours later, as before, nothing.  We noted that we'd have more on Herve Ladsous' failure to vet Bangladesh's "peacekeepers," now as his DPKO won't answer this basic question. Ladsous refuses Press questions: video here and here, Vine here.

  Now Inner City Press raises these questions. Is Colonel Imran Ibne A. Rouf serving UN Peacekeeping? A filing addressed to the International Criminal Court says he "abducted seven innocent civilians from a place near Dhaka Central Jail;" they were all killed.

  What about Colonel Amin, Director of National Security Intelligence, now reportedly serving in Ladsous' MINUSCA mission in the Central African Republic, along with Lt Col Mazid, who was commanding officer of Rapid Action Battalion 10?

  In Ladsous and Martin Kobler's MONUSCO mission in the DR Congo, where a Cote d'Ivoire diplomat was allowed to sell UN Police positions (clear here for that Inner City Press exclusive), please explain the presence of Lt Col Shiraj , Lt Col Mofazzal and Lt Col Khandakar Mahmud, all three of whom were in the Bangladesh Border Guards?

  In Ladsous' mission in Mali, accused like the mission in Haiti of shooting at unarmed demonstrators, please explain the presence of Lt Col Munir, Lt Col Faruq, Lt Col Shamsul Kabir and  Lt Col Mustafiz, all of whom were in the Bangladesh Border Guards, and another Maj Mustafiz, from the Directorate-General of Forces Intelligence?

   Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping uses human rights abusers, and at least in Mali and Haiti commits human rights abuses (while enabling them in the DR Congo and elsewhere). Maybe this is why Ladsous refuses to answer Press questions. Or maybe it's the still UNaddressed sale of posts scandal in his missions in Haiti and the DRC also exclusively exposed by Inner City Press. We'll have more on all of this.

 As to Bangladesh this comes after it emerged that Ban Ki-moon sent January 30 letter(s) to the country, even though the government there says they only got the letter much later. What explains the delay?

When on February 5 Inner City Press asked the UN, which uses Bangladesh soldiers as peacekeepers, this ensued:

Inner City Press: In Bangladesh, theÖ things seem to be getting worse.  Former Prime Minister has been charged with arson andÖ which she says she doesn't do.  The power's been turned off to the opposition party and basically the authorities are using violence on protestors.  So, I'm wondering, what's the response of the Secretary-General?  Is there any [Department of Political Affairs] or other UN involvement in trying to mediate it?  And with senior military officials making statements about what they'll do to civilians, what's the impact on Bangladesh as a peacekeeping contributing country?

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:  Well, the political process is separate and apart from the issue of peacekeepers in UN missions, who are under the control ultimately of the mission.  Regarding the situation in Bangladesh, we've made our concerns known.  As you know, officials, including the senior officials from our Department for Political Affairs, have repeatedly visited Bangladesh, trying to meet with the leaders there and make sure that the crisis can be resolved peacefully.  As you know, we continue to have our concerns that that hasn't happened and that there has been violence.  We have continually encouraged and continue to encourage the authorities to allow for peaceful protest and for the right to peaceful assembly.  And beyond that, we'll continue to be in touch with the leaders of the two main parties, trying to make sure that they can resolve their differences.

  So what if anything is the UN doing? Watch this site.


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