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On Burundi, ICP Asks Simonovic How Mere Support Team Is Rights Up Front

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 5 -- As killings in Burundi increased, on November 12, the Security Council adopted a belated resolution on Burundi. (Inner City Press put the full text online here, and here in French.) The resolution called for the UN Secretariat to report back to the UNSC, on November 30.

On November 30, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made proposals to the UN -- two versions, here -- both centered on a mere support team to the Special Adviser. On December 7, when UN Human Rights official Ivan Simonovic spoke of a presentation on Human Rights Day on December 10 about Ban's “Rights Up Front” program, Inner City Press asked him if it had involved at least checking with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights before issuing this weak Burundi plan. Video here.

  Simonovic said he had been consulted, then added that he viewed the support team as only the first step, if needed. If needed? (If Burundi's mission to the UN has an answer, Inner City Press does not know: its Ambassador Albert Shingiro has blocked Inner City Press from his Twitter feed: Digital Diplomacy in action.)

  Inner City Press also asked about a Human Rights Day event in Cambodia being canceled due to a crackdown on NGOs (in Burundi, more than ten CSOs have been suspended), and about Saudi Arabia moving to stone to death a Sri Lankan maid. After asking, still during the briefing, Inner City Press emailed information on all of these issues to Simonovic. We'll have more on this.

  On November 30, then UNSC President Matthew Rycroft said he would speak to the media at 5:30. Inner City Press tweeted this; Burundi's ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro retweeted Inner City Press. After that, Inner City Press covered inconsistencies in the UN's and some Burundi officials' communications.

 On December 5, when directed to one of Burundi's Ambassador's tweets, Inner City Press discovered that Ambassador Shingiro, a diplomat, had blocked Inner City Press from reading his tweets.


  Inner City Press was sent one of Shingiro's tweets, in which he claimed that oppositition to Pierre Nkurunziza's third terms was like a staged “Arab Spring” rebellion. He said, blocked, that the insecurity in some section of Bujumbura is one of the consequences of the arabic spring [sic] operation targeting regime change in Burundi."

 Burundi's officials have started mixing metaphors, and apparently they don't want the press that covers the UN to see what they are saying. We'll have more on this.

Some time after the November 30 closed-door meeting ended, outgoing UN Security Council president Matthew Rycroft of the UK gave a short summary of the meeting and then took questions. Reuters intoned that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had proposed three options and was recommending the third, a support team for the Special Adviser. Since this “three options” is different than the two-option letter that is Ban's formal proposal, where did it come from?

  Particularly because the proposal(s) are so weak, the question is important.
  On a piece of furniture in the UN Spokesperson's office which is called the Grey Lady there was a signed letter from Ban Ki-moon to the Council, setting out three options. As Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access have previously detailed, the UN Spokesperson's office uses this Grey Lady to give information without attribution; often Reuters has been informed of such a “dump” just before the Spokesperson's Office closes, and then claims an exclusive or says, “seen by Reuters.”

  But here, what the UN put out in the Grey Lady, though signed by Ban, was not the real or right letter. Inner City Press asked on December 4 for an explanation. Video here. Ban's Deputy Spokesperson said that the letter, signed by Ban, was a draft. Then why was it signed? Why had his office put it out in the Grey Lady?

  Inner City Press asked if the signed letter was changed AFTER the stakeout by then-Council President Matthew Rycroft of the UK. Haq did not answer this. We'll have more on this, and on Burundi.

  Back on November 30, Inner City Press asked Rycroft about the suspension of ten civil society organizations, and the blockades of neighborhoods (today, Jabe and Kinama). Rycroft said the CSO closures had been much discussed in the closed consultations. For a possible Council trip to Burundi, he said there is a significant minority which says December may be too soon. (Inner City Press understands this is Angola's view.)

  Rycroft said there is, essentially, no dialogue. What was hoped for from Uganda's Museveni, how ever unrealistically given his President Forever slogan, hasn't materialized.

  Inner City Press also asked Rycroft why the talks on Yemen, projected for mid November by the UN envoy, haven't taken place. He said the talks may take place in the first week(s) of December. We'll see.

  At the November 30 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the blockading of the Jabe neighborhood, and Presidential Adviser Willy Nyamitwe linking the opposition to "Islamists," see below. Now indicative of the atmosphere, the US has put this warning online:

"Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Bujumbura (Burundi), Heightened Security Situation


U.S. Embassy Bujumbura has become aware that Burundian National Police searched at least two residences of U.S. citizens associated with NGOs on Saturday, November 28, 2015.  Because of this, Embassy Bujumbura reissues the following information on cooperating with police in a residential search. 

 The Embassy recommends U.S. citizens cooperate with Burundian police if asked to enter their residence for the purpose of a search. If subject to a police search, U.S. citizens should notify the Embassy at +257-22-20-7000 or after-hours at +257-79-938-841. A legal document regulating police searches of private residences mentions the following requirements:

·         Only officers of the Public Prosecutor's Office or agents of the Judicial Police are entitled to proceed with searches. An officer must identify himself with a card before entering the house.

·         Before entering the house the police have to present a search warrant, signed by the appropriate authority."

Both Burundi governmental spokespeople and the UN's Department of Political Affairs put out photographs of Pierre Nkurunziza and Ban's Special Adviser Jamal Benomar smiling (some questioned, about what?)

 Meanwhile, at the same time Pope Francis tried to salve real splits in the Central African Republic between the Christian anti-Balaka and the Muslim ex-Seleka, Nkurunziza's spokesperson Willy Nyamitwe equated opponents to the third term with Islamist extremists. Even some Nkurunziza supporters said this was going too far; Nkurunziza has said nothing.

 Inner City Press noted it and Nyamitwe said it was wrong.

 Inner City Press' question about who was referred to by the phrase, directed by an Islamist, has not been answered.

  So while on the one hand Nkurunziza's government tried to project an image of cooperating with the UN system -- and today's constellation of the UN is amenable to this image, for a variety of reasons -- that same Burundian government is closing down civil society organizations and trying to equate opponents with jihadists. What will be said to the UN Security Council, and what will the Council do? There is talk of a visit to Burundi during the US' December presidency. Watch this site.

On November 12, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Rycroft, the President of the Council for November what steps would actually be needed to send any peacekeepers from MONUSCO in DR Congo (he said there are discussions).

Inner City Press managed to ask French Permanent Representative Francois Delattre why UN Peacekeeping keeping using and paying for Burundian troops and police in the Central African Republic (a Press question both the UK and US Ambassador Samantha Power have seen fit to respond to.) Delattre declined to answer - but more politely than his deputy had, here.

In Burundi, the Pierre Nkurunziza government has taken to suspending and freezing the bank accounts of civil society groups, not only political but even medical ones. Earlier, Inner City Press published this:

"Declaration of Civil Society Organizations on freezing civil society organizations’ assets and suspension of activities of associations ACAT BURUNDI, AMINA, APRODH, FOCODE, FONTAINE ISOKO, FORSC, MAISON SHALOM, PARCEM, RCP and SPPDF

Civil Society Organizations condemn the serious violation of the right of association, sabotage of Burundi Civil society and the abject threats directed against human rights defenders.

Since April 26, 2015, peaceful demonstrations were held to protest against the third term of Pierre Nkurunziza, which project was regarded as the very seriously violation of the constitution and the Arusha agreement for peace and reconciliation. Ever since, fierce repression against protesters was organized and carried out in the opposing neighbourhoods and areas...

Civil society organizations:

- Urge immediate and unconditional cancellation of measures take to freeze accounts and suspend activities of associations ACAT Burundi, AMINA, APRODH, FOCODE, FONTAINE ISOKO, FORSC, MAISON SHALOM, PARCEM, RCP and SPPDF;

- Will file cases against Mr Valentin Bagorikunda and Mr Pascal Barandagiye for abuse of authority should they refuse to cancel arbitrary and unlawful measures that they took against civil society organizations;

- Commit to engage the various human rights mechanisms for serious violation of the right of association, as well as for direct and despicable attack against human rights defenders by the state of Burundi;

4. Commit to participate in the peaceful resolution of the Burundian crisis by dialogue and loudly declare that they will never agree to negotiate their rights and freedoms, the lifting of the proceedings against them or the closure of their offices

5. Denounce again the resort to violence by any party whatsoever;

6. Undertake to continue their struggle for the dignity, rights and freedoms for all

Done at Bujumbura, November 25, 2015

On behalf of the Campaign Halte au troisième mandat

Me Vital Nshimirimana

Délégué Général du FORSC."

On November 24, before new reports on prison sentences, Inner City Press asked the UN about this again, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: the question that I asked you yesterday on Burundi, one had to do with this free… it turns out it’s now more than freezing bank accounts; it’s actual suspension of these NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) and also the… the… the… the imposition by the U.S. on these sanctions on four individuals, one of whom I’d asked you about before about possible involvement UN peacekeeping.  Is there any, like, involvement of Mr. Benomar… [Cross talk]

Spokesman:  Mr. Benomar is currently in Bujumbura meeting with various parties.  We hope to have some details of his meetings.  He’s also been in Addis meeting with the AU (African Union) and in Uganda, preparing to report back to the Security Council on the options they asked for, looking at various aspects of the conflict, including contingency planning.  Obviously, anything that limits the legitimate rights of civil society in any country is of concern to the United Nations.

 On November 23 the Press asked the US State Department about Burundi's move, but its deputy spokesperson had no comment at the time or in response to that and another written question.

On November 24, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner returned with this: "We can confirm that the government of Burundi has suspended the activities and frozen the accounts of multiple local civil society organizations in what is a clear step backward in pursuit of peace and dialogue in Burundi. We want to see an open, unfettered and comprehensive political dialogue take place there in which all voices are heard. That remains the only credible route to stability and and effort to achieve consensus and forge a peaceful path forward for Burundi's people.

"As the crisis deepens, and media outlets of course continue to be shuttered and repression of civil society is the exact opposition of what needs to happen."

Also on November 24, Inner City Press asked the UN again about the CSOs' suspensions; the UN spokesman's reply was about Ban Ki-moon's special adviser traveling to the African Union and elsewhere before returning to advise the Security Council.

On November 23, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: in Burundi, the Government has suspended and frozen the bank accounts of a number of civil society organizations, including the one run by Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who you’ve spoken about from this podium before.  What’s the UN’s response to basically shutting down civil society and…?

Spokesman:  I think it’s clear that every society needs a healthy civil society, needs room for civil society.  The Secretary-General has spoken out on that repeatedly.  As for Burundi, Mr. [Jamal] Benomar is arriving in Burundi today, or as we speak.  He will have meetings there, which we hope to be able to report back [to] you.  And this is part of the mandate given to the Secretariat by the Security Council to report back, which we will in due course.

Inner City Press:  And I don’t know if you’ll comment on this, but this morning, the Obama administration announced targeted sanctions on those contributing to the ongoing crisis in Burundi, unquote.  Do you think that’s a useful move?

Spokesman:  I haven’t seen that report.

  When the UN Peacebuilding Commission Burundi Configuration met on November 18 it was it was to hear from Swiss Permanent Representative Lauber about his trip to the region, including three days in Bujumbura. He described a climate of fear -- while adding that Burundians are resilient -- and of a 10 pm curfew. He quoted the World Bank that the government has cut health spending; he said he aim to return to the country in January or February. What will the situation be them?

  Burundi's Permanent Representative Shingiro responded that the problems are caused by opposition outside of the country and “the media” within. He stated that Lauber had a meeting of confident with Pierre Nkurunziza, November 11 at noon for 45 minutes. He said the specter of genocide is a “tactic of the radical opposition abroad.”

   US Deputy Permanent Representative David Pressman called out authorities' hate speech in the country, as did UK Deputy Permanent Representative Peter Wilson. When it came the turn of France, the penholder on Burundi in the Security Council, to speak, neither Permanent Representative Francois Delattre nor his Deputy Alexis Lamek was there. There are two explanations, not mutual exclusive.

  At the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN about those trying to flee not being allowed to leave the country and, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, about Shingiro's comment about the media. During the briefing, a statement came in from civil society on Burundi, signed by Vital Nshimirimana, naming hate speech and even the training of the ruling party's militia the Imbonerakure at Kiliba -Ondes in Eastern DRC, on which Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping never acted. Plus ca change.

On November 13, the spokesperson for the Pierre Nkurunziza's government issued a response to the resolution, saying that it "toes the line" of the Government and that the problems in the country are "nothing other than poverty," here.

  On the evening of November 11, the UN Spokesperson's office announced that there would be a formal Security Council meeting on Burundi at 12:15 pm on November 12, that would be to approve the draft resolution. An unnamed official of Herve Ladsous UN Peacekeeping -- wonder who that could be -- got Reuters to retype without analysis the idea the UN would send peacekeepers from "Congo" - that would be DRC -- into Burundi.

 UNasked by Reuters, actively covered up, is that Ladsous' MONUSCO has been unable or unwilling to protect civilians in parts of the Eastern DRC, and has refused to neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia. So it would take on Pierre Nkurunziza's forces and youth wing in Burundi?

  This youth wing was allowed by MONUSCO to train in Eastern Congo; nothing was said by MONUSCO when DRC detained a Burundian journalist. None of this in the Reuters, or AFP, or even more derivative Voice of America story. But to retain this "access," these media do not report when the UN's Herve Ladsous, on camera, links peacekeeper rapes to "R&R." Video here. This is a scam. Watch this site.

  While the November 9 meeting was still ongoing, the UN announced that French Permanent Representative Francois Delattre would address the press in ten minutes. But when it happened it was the French Mission's deputy Alexis Lamek, moderated by the Mission's spokesman Thierry Caboche.

After bragging about a draft resolution French belatedly circulated, Lamek and his spokesperson twice refused to take a Press question about UN Peacekeeping still using the same Bururdian forces accused of the abuses.  NewVine here. New video, with UK contrast, here.

 The French mission spokesperson, after calling on Reuters, called on Agence France Presse. Inner City Press said, please answer why Herve Ladsous - the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row - uses Burundian troops in Central African Republic, giving them extensions to bring the right equipment (the government, sources say, takes the money.)

 "Ask him," Lamek said off camera, referring to Ladsous who repeatedly refuses Press questions on this (and on covering up French Sangaris forces rapes in CAR.)

  Moments later when Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson if the UN should keep using Burundian troops or vet them, Wilson called this a "big issues" that "needs to be looked at." Audio including Elements to the Press, here. Fast transcript by, here:

Inner City Press asked, the UN uses Burundian peacekeepers in CAR. Is there, or could there be, some review of that?

UK Deputy Peter Wilson: "on peacekeepers, I think this is a big issue, and I think it’s something certainly that needs to be looked at in a wider context of what response we take to the events in Burundi right now. I wouldn’t urge precipitate action on that, but I think it’s one of the issues that we need collectively to consider."

 Strange then, that the penholding on Burundi and controller of UN Peacekeeping wouldn't even take the questions. The history of the Great Lakes runs deep. More recently, Inner City Press is informed is belated discussion among Security Council Permanent Five members that Ladsous is a liability, should or can he even be allowed to stay on to the end of Ban Ki-moon's term.

 On November 10, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: I'll do Burundi first as a follow-up to that.  Yesterday at the stakeout, Peter Wilson of the UK said that the issue of continued or… or service of Burundian peacekeepers, particularly those involved in the violence in UN peacekeeping, is a big issue, is something that needs to be looked at in the wider context of the response to the events in Burundi right now.  Since… I think I've previously asked you about… my understanding is the Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping waived Burundi not having the right equipment twice in a row in CAR.  I wanted you to describe, if you could, what is the process, one, for vetting individuals that come out of the… what you described as a… big violence in Burundi, but also of giving these waivers.  Is this something that's done unilaterally by the Secretariat?

Spokesman:  I'm not… I can't speak to the waivers because I can't… I don't know if what you say is, in fact, a fact.

Inner City Press:  Can… can… is the meeting in September…? [Inner City Press actually referred to Ladsous' September meeting with Burundi, on which it reported.]

Spokesman:  As far as… as far as Burundian troops, they continue to serve in the Central African Republic and other missions, if I'm not mistaken.  They are rotated through the standard human rights vetting process, which involves the UN, which involves the government, which involves the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and which involves the more… the broader human rights community.

Inner City Press:  What about the issue of… there have been several complaints by the peacekeepers themselves of not getting paid leaving some in Burundi to say, in fact, this is a way in which the UN is subsidizing the Government and the very activities that Mr. Zeid was condemning yesterday?  What steps are taken to ensure that the money reaches the peacekeepers?

Spokesman:  Obviously, it is critical whether it's in the case of Burundi if it, in fact, happens or other countries that individual peacekeepers receive the monies that are owed to them.

Inner City Press:  But Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous right here in September said that he's… that he's not sure whether this money reaches soldiers.  So what steps does the UN take, particularly in a case like Burundi, where you're accusing the Government of cracking down on the people, what steps are taken?

Spokesman:  As I said, I think it's incumbent on the governments to ensure that their soldiers get paid.  Did you have another question?


 At the November 9 meeting, Burundi's Nyamitwe droned on by video by Bujumbura, even as Security Council President Matthew Rycroft asked him to bring it to an end. He continued speaking as the other speakers on video -- Prince Zeid, Adama Dieng, Swiss Ambassador Lauber -- squirmed, seeming like the audience to wonder if Rycroft would just cut his mic (he didn't.)

  Inner City Press immediately put online that speech, and that of Uganda's Ambassador Nduhuura and the African Union's Tete Antonio, here.

 On November 7 came reports of killings, including it was said a UN system staff member. This has been confirmed by UNDP - but only the local Buurndi office. Still from the UN, nothing. The Security Council issued a Press Statement on November 7... about Libya.

  Burundian journalist Blaise Célestin Ndihokubwayo has been arrested and sent to the Service national de renseignement (SNR). Where is UNESCO and its director, who wants to be the next UN Secretary General?

On October 23 Inner City Press asked UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about the status of the draft Presidential Statement in the UN Security Council. He said there are differing views, but the UK is concerned about the "threat of genocide." Video here.  On November 3, Inner City Press again put a Burundi questions to Rycroft, now President of the Security Council for November. Video here, story here.

The son of human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa has reportedly been murdered, after Pierre Nkurunziza tweeted that "No one living abroad should consider himself superior to those who stayed in Burundi, since most of them have left their families here."

 On November 6, a belated Security Council meeting on Burundi was announced -- from Paris, by French foreign ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal. Why the delay? Why announced in that way?

Later on November 6, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (whose spokesman could not tell Inner City Press if Ban will have any representative in the Security Council's meeting on Monday) put out this statement.

 Inner City Press at the November 6 UN noon briefing asked how these concerns were consistent with Ban deferring to the Ugandan Defense Minister (for the EAC, Ban's spokesman pointed out), and asked if Ban will even have a representative briefing the UN Security Council on Monday. UNclear. Video here.

  The US' Tom Perriello, filmed at the State Department, noted the weekend deadline. But why then was the UN Security Council meeting left until after the deadline?
  US Ambassador Samantha Power put out this statement, here.

  Behind the continued killing, here's an issue: Inner City Press is informed that a number of Burundian civil society leaders and journalists have improperly been flagged to Interpol as if their passports had been stolen. This has made it impossible, for example, for Vital Nshimirimana to travel to a speak about the crisis in Burundi at a conference in (Ban Ki-moon's native) South Korea.

  Inner City Press on November 4 asked the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Ivan Simonovic and UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this.  Interpol often brags at the UN how it is useful on the issue of foreign fighters. It's Secretary General Jurgen Stock spoke before the UN Security Council on May 29, 2015. But what about when Interpol is misused by a government like Pierre Nkurunziza? What do it, the Security Council and its members do that? Watch this site.

 On November 2 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about two speeches given in Burundi (the full text of one is below). Video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: In Burundi, there was a speech by the President of the Senate [Révérien Ndikuriyo] saying that opposition neighborhoods may be razed [or raided. Some] people are calling it a genocide speech.  There's also a speech by the President, saying anyone who doesn't disarm within the next five days will be treated as an enemy of the State.  So, I'm wondering, not to overdo it, but things seem pretty serious.  I wanted to know:  what is the UN doing?

Spokesman:  "It's clear that those in position of power, whether in Government or in the opposition, have a responsibility not to incite fear or hate of any kind.  I think that's very important and that whatever security measures the Government takes fully comply with international law and respect for the right of people to freely assemble and protest."

 After Burundi was elected to the UN Human Rights Council with 162 votes on October 28, on October 31 security forces in Burundi opened fire on a funeral procession in Buringa, killing many.  These are the Burundian forces that UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous keeps in service, offering waivers while the Government keeps the payments?

  It is reported the Burundian authorities are accusing a medical NGO of offering treatment to insurgents, and are ready to attack. Frankly, the weak UN Security Council Presidential Statement which France belatedly proffered in the Council, then didn't even hold a question and answer stakeout about, is woefully insufficient, as is the UN Secretariat's response.

 Now from Burundi this speech

 On October 28, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about another threat. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: this is a tweet from the official account of Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Burundi:  "No one living abroad should consider himself superior to those who stayed in Burundi since most of them have left their families here."  So people see this as an open-source threat to retaliate against the families of those who have fled the country.  And I'm wondering…

Spokesman:  I haven't seen the tweet.  I shall look at it.

 Inner City Press showed it to him on his way out. Earlier on October 28, Burundi got 162 votes for the UN Human Rights Council, less than the other also unopposed candidates, but still enough to get on the Council. The UN Security Council had just issued a Presidential Statement, here, which gave weight to the Museveni "mediation," and which the US later "welcomed." Usually it's the penholder (France) which speaks. But not here, not on Burundi (see Ladsous, below).

  On October 28 Burundi was poised for election to the UN Human Rights Council, as one of five African Group candidates for five seats. Meanwhile on October 26, the European Union adopted the letter to President Pierre Nkurunziza that Inner City Press asked the UN about last week, here.

  Can EU members on October 28 not vote against Burundi's "Human Rights" Council candidacy at this time? And other Western NGOs coming to the UN early this week to set forth their positions, will they just phone it in with regard to Burundi? Watch this site.

 Also on October 23, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask on Burundi, just this morning the UK Ambassador said that the UK is concerned of a threat of genocide, is the word that he used, so I'm wondering under Rights Up Front what are your thoughts about Burundi and what the UN or the Secretariat can do.

SG Ban: "On this genocide issues, I hope there should be some creative investigations by the relevant experts and there should be, first of all, a clear understanding and investigations.  And if the conclusion is that there were such kind of genocide issues, then there should be accountability, justice must prevail and perpetrators must be brought to justice."

  But what is the UN Secretariat DOING about it?

  On October 16 Inner City Press asked Haq if the UN thinks the government can investigate itself. This was based on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's October 15 statement that

"The Secretary-General condemns the killing of nine civilians and two police officers in Bujumbura on 13 October... He urges Burundian authorities to undertake a rigorous and prompt investigation into the circumstances and motives behind these despicable crimes in order to ensure that their perpetrators are brought to justice."

  So can the Nkurunziza government investigate itself (as the UN purports to be investigating or "auditing" itself in the wake of corruption revelation about former Presidnet of the General Assembly John Ashe among others)? Inner City Press asked this question (video here) as well as following up on this, from October 13:

Inner City Press: the Burundi question is one that maybe you can check with DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations].  Burundian human rights activists say that an officer, Jerome Ntibogora, N-t-i-b-o-g-o-r-a, who was accused of being involved in killing people in a… in a hospital after they fled from the Government, has now been deployed to MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission] in Mali.  So I wanted to…

Spokesman Dujarric:  Let's see what we can find out.

  Dujarric did not come back with an answer, by this deputy when Inner City Pres asked again on October 16 said he, Ntibogora is not being deployed. We'll see - watch this site.
Amid crackdowns in Burundi by security forces, and allegations of sexual abuse by Burundian peacekeepers serving under the UN flag, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on October 1 held a meeting with Burundian Vice President Joseph Butore.

  Inner City Press has already tweeted a photograph of the meeting, but has now received the complete UN read-out, which raises more questions about Ladsous.

   On the crackdown, Ladsous assured Butore that he has a “pragmatic approach” and is of no mind to question what happens in any country, does not involve himself in "domestic affairs."

   On the sexual abuse allegations, Ladsous spoke only in platitudes, without requiring or even inquiring into any actions taken by the Burundians on the alleged abuse.

   Even though Burundi was already given a “grace period” to bring appropriate equipment into the Central African Republic for the MINUSCA mission, they have not done so. In the meeting, according to the read-out, Butore "acknowledged" the substandard equipment.

   Butore requested, and Ladsous for now granted, yet another extension to bring the requirement equipment -- until March 2016 for light equipment, and to June 2016 for heavy equipment.

  Is this safe - even for the Burundian soldiers at issue? While speaking through press releases, Ladsous' spokespeople, far from answering questions, go so far as to direct UNTV boom microphone operators to avoid Inner City Press, even preventing the Press from asking any questions to Mali's Foreign Minister Abdulaye Diop. We'll have more on all this.


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