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On Minova Rapes, As Its April 1 Deadline Passes, UN Silent, #Ladsous2013

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 2 -- While the UN claims to take rape, particularly by its partners like the Congolese Army, seriously it has let another of its supposed deadlines pass with no action, no announcement.

For four months UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about the 126 rapes committed in Minova from November 20 to 22. Click here for video of Ladsous' on camera refusals to answer on November 27, December 7 and December 18. See UN TV video of March 28.

Video here, at Minute 4:29 and 5:53.

Also on March 28, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky answered Inner City Press that the deadline for action on the rapes by the Congolese authorities was April 1. Inner City Press asked Congolese foreign minister Tshibanda, who was dismissive of the deadline.

And for good reason, it appears. When Inner City Press asked Nesirky's deputy Eduardo Del Buey on April 1, first he said the deadline wouldn't arrive until midnight. Then he picked up a piece of paper and said that the UN, apparently Ladsous, now said they had gotten some unspecified assurances from Tshibanda. From the UN's April 1 transcript:

Inner City Press: Last Monday MONUSCO gave what was called a final ultimatum to the Congolese army to begin prosecuting the rapists of Minova, 126 rapes. The week is now expired and I am wondering what action has the UN taken.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, the week has not expired, it expires this evening at midnight, but I will see what we can get for you.

Inner City Press: The Foreign Minister at the stakeout said basically, we are already prosecuting, why is the UN making these threats, can you --

Deputy Spokesperson: If we have anything to sayÖ let me see. [Picks up piece of paper.] Well, what I can tell you is that, while a number of appropriate actions have reportedly been taken by the Congolese Government, MONUSCO is still waiting to receive official notification of these actions. Assurances have been received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tshibanda, during his visit to New York. MONUSCO has been in close contact with the Government and is expecting a response in the coming days. Thatís what I have.

Inner City Press: And will you then disclose what these actions that the UN finds are sufficient on these rapes are?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, letís see what they say, letís see what they say.

   As midnight approached, Inner City Press waited. Nothing. Four and a half hours later, Inner City Press put in questions to Ban's top three spokesmen, including Nesirky who has been traveling with Ban in San Marino, Andorra and soon Monaco:

ďAt noon on April 1 when I asked what the UN is doing about the 126 rapes in Minova from November 20 - 22, 2012, I was told that the April 1 deadline was in fact midnight on April 1. It is now [past the deadline] and I am asking: what has the UN done about the rapes and Ban Ki-moon's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy?

ďAs I did last week (and before) and today, after DPKO's Herve Ladsous has repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press' questions and has given (half) answers to media which didn't even ask the question, I am asked you, directly, now, for an answer.Ē

  But as of this writing more than two hours later, nothing. Instead, the UN's own Radio Okapi has run a piece about Tshibanda with Q&A from April 1. No questions about the Minova rapes or the UN's supposed deadline.

  Ladsous who refuses questions from the independent Press gave an interview to his own UN Radio -- North Korea style -- which appeared on Radio Okapi.

  Can they just make the rapes, and all of their previous begrudging statements, go away? Well, can the UN raid Press offices and let photographs be taken and given out anonymously? Inner City Press on April 1-2 asked the three Ban Ki-moon spokespeople about that as well. Watch this site.

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