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On DR Congo, HRW Buries Mistake as France Dumped Ladsous on UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- After Human Rights Watch was forced to append a telling correction Tuesday morning to its report focused almost entirely on the M23 pumped and tweeted out during Monday afternoon's Security Council consultations about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, HRW did not announce the correction by the same media it publicized the report.

  Ken Roth, for example, tweeted the report, but not the correction. His UN lobbyist Philippe Bolopion, previously of Le Monde and France 24, was nowhere to be seen.

  But at the State Department in Washington, the report but not correction was asked about, and a canned answer was read out by spokesperson Jen Psaki. This was reported by Reuters -- but not the HRW correction they had purported to ask about at the UN. This is the machine.

  While Rwanda's UN Ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana spoke of HRW in front of the Security Council on Tuesday morning, it was superseded even for those who purported to ask him questions by Psaki.

   Gasana has since said: "This does not help to find the solution to the DRC. This has become [HRW's] standard statement to describe us this way. However, we will not tolerate it. HRW insists on a consistent international conspiracy on cover-up of FDLR of what they have done in the past and what they keep on doing, which is why they want to make Rwanda continuously guilty through M23."

  Human Rights Watch, despite its name, did not in its report on the DRC even mention the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

   This is supposed to prohibit UN support to units like the DRC Army's 391st Battalion, implicated in 135 rapes in Minova in November and desecration of corpses this month. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the post, decided to continue supporting the 391st Battalion, and HRW said nothing.

  At day's end, HRW tweeted out a "Storify" about its day in human rights, which gushed about the report and Psaki's comment, with no mention of the correction. The machine goes on.

  A former State Department official Richard Johnson earlier this year penned an analysis of HRW and Rwanda, with this section particularly on France:

"HRW failed to mention and thus let off the hook those foreign officials, most notably among the French, who face much graver allegations of active complicity in the genocide... HRW failed to mention that a significant cohort of French researchers had been working hard since 1994 to expose French officials’ complicity in the genocide."

  The current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous was France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN during the 1994 genocide, and argued for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo. How was he allowed, after being passed over and rejected during the recruitments of Jean-Marie Guehenno and Alain Le Roy, to get in this time under Ban Ki-moon?

  How can this Ladsous be in charge of UN soldiers, including an all-African "Intervention Brigade," in Eastern Congo now? How can Ladsous be allowed to openly refuse Press questions about this? Watch this site.


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