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As UN Admits 100 Sex Abuse Complaints, Sudan Blocks Darfur - Entebbe Flights

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 -- The UN reported on sexual exploitation and abuse allegations against it on Wednesday in a half-filled conference room with, it seemed, only one media organization in attendance.

  After the summary disclosure of over 100 allegations of sexual abuse against the UN in 2011, Department of Field Support official Tony Banbury gave an upbeat presentation about UN peacekeeping, including its logistics base in Entebbe, Uganda.

  But is 100 complaints really acceptable? The accompanying written report is evasive on what discipline resulted, and by which member states. It alludes to but does not describe "measures taken" at the missions in among other countries Cote d'Ivoire, the Congo, Liberia and Haiti (repeatedly). But the abuses continue.

Banbury's presentation about centralized logistics and Entebbe did not mention what Inner City Press got Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman to confirm on May 8, that Sudan is blocking flights from Entebbe to the Mission in Darfur.

Inner City Press asked what percentage of the Entebbe base's work involves Darfur but the question has not been answered.

Banbury urged the Budget Committee to provide support to protect peacekeepers. But, for example, while Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping has repeatedly said that a Status of Forces Agreement is immanent for the Abyei mission UNISFA, it has still not been signed, without explanation. The lack of a SOFA led, in part, to the bleed-out and death of peacekeepers.

Many of the Fifth (or Budget) Committee's fixtures were in place, along for example with Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin. One waits to hear from lead US Budget Committee and Reform ambassador Joe Torsella -- is this level of sexual abuse, and the UN's lack of transparency in following up on it, acceptable? And if not, who's to blame? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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