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In Bangladesh, ICP Qs on Peacekeepers Criticized, UN Censorship Alliance Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- Amid the violence in Bangladesh, Inner City Press has four times, with increasing detail, 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 on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Bangladesh government's threats against the media there, specifically the Daily Star.

  Now the these strands have come together, the UN's and UN Peacekeeping's dubious commitment to human rights and a lack of press freedom in Bangladesh -- and in the UN.

  The Kaler Kantho newspaper in Bangladesh, saying that questions about human rights and Bangladesh's military should not be asked at the UN's noon briefing, has favorably cited the UN Correspondents Association in its support, reporting (as auto-translated) that ICP

"United Nations Correspondents Association iuenasie) faced investigation. He was threatened with expulsion from the iuenasie was reported that the UK's Guardian newspaper. His reputation for investigative journalism in the United Nations." Click here to view, then translate.

  Here is the Guardian article, which reported that ICP which

"has been responsible for breaking several stories about the UN, has.. also written stories accusing the UNCA president, Giampaolo Pioli, of a conflict of interest involving Sri Lanka (see here).  Lee is regarded as the UN department of public information's least-favourite journalist because he is persistent, is willing to ask uncomfortable questions, and has cultivated an impressive network of sources within the UN. UNCA is a self-governing body and membership is not a prerequisite for obtaining UN press credentials, which are granted by the UN media accreditation and liaison unit (MALU). So Lee's expulsion would not automatically deprive him of UN access. However, it is possible that it might weigh in the balance when he next applies for credentials."

   In fact, Inner City Press was never expelled by UNCA -- they didn't have the votes -- but quit the organization in disgust once its term on the board expired, and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access.

  Now, Kaler Kanthro continues after citing UNCA, the UN's Censorship Alliance,, the Bangladesh government is trying to ask the UN - and US State Department - credentials of those who ask questions about human rights abuse and censorship in the country. At the UN, they've found the UN Censorship Alliance. But this time, there's FUNCA.

  On February 24, Inner City Press on behalf of FUNCA 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?  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. (UNCA did nothing about this, quite the contrary.)

   Inner City Press has raised 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: .

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


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