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On CAR Rapes, ICP Asks Dallaire & Aids-Free World of Ladsous, FDLR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 13, updated -- French soldiers in the Central African Republic allegedly sexually abused children, as exposed in a UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report leaked to the French government by longtime OHCHR staffer Anders Kompass.

 The UN did not, however, give the report to the host country authorities in CAR. And according to UN documents, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous then urged that the whistleblower Kompass be made to resign. (Ladsous denied this, video here, but then took no questions.)

 On May 13 at a press conference appropriately called "Code Blue" held at the Ford Foundation half a block from the UN, Inner City Press asked the panel about Ladsous' reported role in the cover-up, about the selective invocation of the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (to justify not fighting the Hutu FDLR militia, while un-applied to French troops in CAR), and why the UN never told CAR authorities.

  Aids-Free World's Paula Donovan spoke passionately about the need for a Commission of Inquiry with subpoena powers, including for Ladsous' e-mails.

  Inner City Press ran back to the UN for the noon briefing and asked spokesman Stephane Dujarric to respond. He said the UN is in discussions with Aids-Free World and is on the same side.

  So what about subpoena power? Dujarric said he didn't know what that meant in the UN context. That is, the context of opaque impunity.

 At Ford Foundation it emerged that before the Code Blue press conference, UN Peacekeeping's Tony Banbury -- presumably selected because more articulate and less tainted than Ladsous -- had briefed select journalists on the topic in advance. (None of them put a single question to the UN Spokesman on the rapes or Code Blue.)

  Inner City Press asked Dujarric about this - was there a transcript? There was no answer. This is how the UN works, or doesn't. The new Free UN Coalition for Access is opposing this, unlike the old United Nations Correspondents Association, UNCA, now the UN Censorship Alliance.

Update: Agence France Presse AFP managed to write about this without mentioning Ladsous; there is a history to this, here.

 On the FDLR, Dallaire said he'd spoken with MONUSCO's Force Commander, that the DRC Army wanted to go it alone. That is, on the FDLR, not the largely Tutsi M23. And Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping - here is his history - complied. We'll have more on this.

Graca Machel said UN Peacekeeping has gotten worse. In the back, a staffer from Ladsous' DPKO took note. The UN scribes who have protected and spun for Ladsous were present: what would they write?

Theo Sowa said the line must be drawn when immunity becomes impunity. The panel might also take note of impunity for cholera in Haiti.

Anwarul Chowdhury said a key is transparency: how many cases, which countries. But DPKO chief Ladsous refused questions on rapes, video compilation here.

 On May 12, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UN Peacekeepers shooting tear gas at protesters in Bangui (Dujarric called it "not a major demonstration") and about HOW the UN will investigate itself. Video here and embedded below.

  Dujarric replied, here, implied that the delay in investigating the rapes was attributable to the leaker, Kompass. But since France acknowledged receipt of the report in July 2014, he is not to blame for the delay. Nor for the UN not formally telling CAR about the rapes.

   Inner City Press on May 12 asked when the independent investigation, implied by High Commissioner Zeid and referred to by US Ambassador Samantha Power, would begin. "At some point," Dujarric replied. More delay.


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