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On W. Sahara, ICP Asks OHCHR Of Action on Cables, On Ladsous, Cover Ups

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- With Morocco still blocking the UN's Kim Bolduc from heading the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara amid controversy about the performance of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press on November 21 asked the New York spokesman for High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid for an

"an update on action on the leaked cables, related to Western Sahara, involving current OHCHR official Anders Kompass and one, previously head of OHCHR's office in NY, who's just left. What steps has OHCHR taken on the cables / issues?"

  A full day later, there has been no answer. The referenced former head of OHCHR's New York office is Senegal's Bacre Waly Ndiaye, noted Tijania Sufi. The cables reveal a deep scandal in the UN system. Now OHCHR in Geneva is saying it will not comment until an investigation, Inner City Press understands by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, is complete. But there is no indication that will be publish. This is one of the ways the UN covers up.

 There other ways, beyond Western Sahara. On rapes in DR Congo by Army units the UN support, Ladsous refused to answer Press questions for months.  Video here of then and now spokesman pulling microphone away from Inner City Press. These practices are being opposed by the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

 Now on UN Peacekeeping's November 9 press release covering up mass rape in Thabit in Darfur, Ladsous has not answered any questions; UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on November 21 told Inner City Press the UN won't comment on leaks. The Western Sahara leaks are so extensive that despite a seeming media blackout by Western wire services, they will not go away.

While Ladsous is not the only UN official exposed by the cables, his extraordinary campaign of refusing Press questions, to the point of physically blocking Press filming (Vine here), as well as a DPKO to OHCHR connection, make him key to the case. As to MINURSO, Ladsous is blamed for the non-deployment of Bolduc.

  Back on November 14 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about Bolduc and an investigation of leaks in Geneva of which sources tell it. Video here.

  On November 5, Inner City Press reported on leaked cables showing among other things the UN's Ladsous undermining MINURSO on the issue of human rights, and improper service of Morocco by Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights staffers Anders Kompass and Bacre Waly Ndiaye.

    Since then, along with anonymous death threats, Inner City Press has received additional information including of a UN Office of Internal Oversight Services investigation of Anders Kompers and Bacre Waly Ndiaye.

  On November 14, Inner City Press asked the UN's Haq, per UN transcript:

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  You had a question on Western Sahara?

Inner City Press: It's a two-pronged question.  What Stéphane [Dujarric] said earlier in the week about Kim Bolduc, the new SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General].  I wanted to just kind of confirm it.  In reading it, does that mean that she has never has been allowed in?  And, if so, where has she been since August?  What is the plan to resolve that?  And I also wanted to ask you about regarding the cables that I base the initial question on.  Can you confirm that OIOS [Office for Internal Oversight Services] is conducting an investigation at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on at least two staff members who apparently leaked this information to the Moroccan Government?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  On that, I cannot confirm that.  As you know, the OIOS conducts its work independently.  At some point, once they have completed their work, they apprise us [inaudible].  But I wouldn't be aware of any work that is ongoing.  Beyond that, regarding Kim Bolduc, as you know, both Christopher Ross and Kim Bolduc briefed the Security Council on 27 October.  And at that point, the Security Council reiterated its desire, first of all, to see Ambassador Ross's facilitation resume and reiterated its desire to see Kim Bolduc be able to take up her duties at the helm of MINURSO [United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara] as soon as possible.  And we look forward to the resumption of Mr. Ross's visit to the region and also to the deployment of Kim Bolduc.

Inner City Press:  But is she currently, I mean, she is the SRSG?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  She is the SRSG, but she has not been able to function with her MINURSO duties in-country.

  In-country, eh? We'll have more on this. And on this: Inner City Press is informed that while Ladsous claims to have performed as required in connection with the appointment of Bolduc, even on this he is accused of failing to do his duty, as on many other parts of his job. Video compilation here; recent Vine here.

   Document leaks from inside the UN have identified improper service of Morocco, on the question of Western Sahara, by a staffer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Anders Kompass.

  Inner City Press has waited to report on them; the spokesperson for the High Commissioner has today said his office is aware the leaked cables, which contain the perspective of certain diplomats, and that the situation is being investigated to clarify the facts.”

  Whatever the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, now under Jordan's Prince Zeid, does about the content of the leaks, more will be required in the UN Secretariat in New York -- particularly at the top of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, which runs the MINURSO mission in Western Sahara.

  The cables show that Herve Ladsous, a long-time French diplomat now the boss of DPKO and thus of MINURSO, was flacking for Morocco on the supposed quality of its human rights mechanisms. This directly undercuts the MINURSO mission, for which Ladsous is supposed to be working.

  African Union members of the Security Council, from Uganda to South Africa to Nigeria, have demanded that MINURSO have the same type of human rights monitoring mechanism as the UN Peacekeeping missions in the DR Congo, Mali and Central African Republic.

  Now Ladsous is exposed undermining extending this to Western Sahara -- the policy of his country, France, but undercutting DPKO.

  During General Assembly debate week in September 2014, Ladsous refused to answer Press questions and ended up blocking the Press' camera, Vine here.

  This is a scandal. And since Ladsous had refused to answer Press questions, about rapes by his mission's partners in the DRC, about DPKO bringing cholera to Haiti, about under-reporting attacks on civilians and even peacekeepers in Darfur and now Central African Republic, it is time for the question to be asked.

Update: on November 6, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this, video here.

  Immediately after the briefing, Inner City Press emailed Dujarric the cable it had asked about. Watch this site.


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