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On Children & War, Amid CAR Panel Delay, Ban to Appear With Zerrougui, Leaving?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decided not to list Israel or Hamas in the annex of his Children and Armed Conflict report -- nor the French troops alleged to have raped children in the Central African Republic -- on June 18 Ban spoke to the Security Council and then, the UN said, to the press.

  To the Security Council, Ban said he regretted the controversy surrounding his report -- which he caused -- and then prepared to do a joint stakeout with Lelia Zerrougui, whose recommendations he ignored. The goal, it seemed, was to show there are no hard feelings.

   Sources tell Inner City Press that Zerrougui is slated to be leaving her post, to one at the African Union. Cynics told Inner City Press that's why she went semi-public with her recommendation, which Ban ignored. Supporters said she should stay and fight. We'll see.

  And what of the CAR rapes by the French troops? They are mentioned in the text of the report, but not in the Annex. Ban said a Panel would be set up- but hasn't yet done it.

 Inner City Press is exclusively informed that concerned member states will meet not with Ban but his Deputy Jan Eliasson on June 19. Some are concerned Ban might even try to put Eliasson on the "independent" panel, despite controversy about an August 8, 2014 email saying Eliasson would be briefed that afternoon about the CAR rapes. (The UN now says Eliasson didn't learn of them until April 2015.)  We'll see.

  Back on June 8 both Palestine and Israel issued statements, below. Inner City Press beyond reporting on each asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why the French Sangaris force in the Central African Republic, regarding which the UN has evidence of sexual abuse against children as young as nine years told, is not on Ban's list. This remains UNclear.

    Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, issued a statement that “we deeply regret the Secretary-Generals decision to exclude Israel from the list of parties who commit grave violations against children in armed conflict. This decision strikingly contradicts the UN's own evidence and the set criteria on this matter. It is without doubt that Israel, the occupying Power, flagrantly, systematically and grossly commits human rights violations against Palestinian children constituting grave violations that qualify it for such a listing in the annex to the Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.. The UN's inaction, submitting to the inordinate pressures exerted, sends a most regrettable signal that the same criteria do not apply in all situations for all children, undermining the credibility of the UN system as a whole and the CAAC mechanism in specific.”

  The “pressure exerted” included the United States, which also got Ban to cancel the Yemen talks that had been slated for May 11, click here for that Inner City Press exclusive. Likewise, despite a UN Dispute Tribunal ruling that UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous asked for CAR rape whistleblower Anders Kompass to resign, nothing has been done with regard to Ladsous, the four Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping. It is not only on CAAC that Ban gives in to inordinate pressure.

   Israel's Ron Prosor put out a statement that “the UN Secretary General was right not to submit to the dictates of the terrorist organizations and the Arab states, in his decision not to include Israel in this shameful list, together with organizations like ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. However, the UN still has a long way to go. Instead of releasing thousands of reports and lists against Israel, the UN must unequivocally condemn the terrorist organizations that operate in the Gaza Strip. I call on the Secretary General to put an end to the destruction these organizations cause the people of Gaza, when they obstruct humanitarian aid, fire from civilian population centers and use innocents as human shields. Only after these organizations are recognized as terrorist organizations and condemned, can we promote real solutions.”

    Ban's spokesman Dujarric, before Inner City Press asked him about the French Sangaris force in CAR, told reporters to not worry so much about the list. Really? Others, reporting on this, did not mention the French forces' sexual abuse. We'll have more on this.

Back on June 1 In the run up to Ban's decision on whether to include Israel in the UN's list of those abusing children in armed conflict, Inner City Press asked Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, for his view.

  Krahenbuhl diplomatically said he'd have no comment until after the decision is made.

 And now?


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