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On South Sudan Inner City Press Asked UN About Post Deal Fighting Now Statement of Guterres Who Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Q&A, Independent

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- A US proposal for an arms embargo on South Sudan squeaked by for approval in the UN Security Council on July 13, with just the nine required Yes votes, six abstentions and no veto. Paul Malong, of whom Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN before it was physically ousted and now banned from the UN on July 3, was added to the sanctions list. Inner City Press was prohibited from covering the Security Council meeting by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, for having been physically assaulted and ousted by his Lieutenant Roland E. Dobbins and another for covering his budget for Peacekeeping including UNMISS on July 3. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II, arrogant July 20 no answer here. (Guterres' response is substantially worse than that of Ghana's president, here). On August 17 Guterres' Alison Smale made it a lifetime ban, here. Inner City Press, still reporting, obtained and published the initialed peace deal, here. Smale wrote / "ruled" that Inner City Press' written questions would be answered. Inner City Press, on South Sudan, asked: "September 12-1: On South Sudan, what is the UN's knowledge of, and comment and action on, that 24 hours before the expected signing of the revitalized peace deal, the SPLM-IO issued a statement about fresh attacks by the government forces in Yei River State. "This morning the 11/09/2018 at about 7:00 am, the regime’s forces left their trenches in Agana and attacked our defensive positions at Kendiri and Mangalatore in Kajo-Keji County of Yei River State," said SPLM-IO deputy spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel on Tuesday'?" On September 13, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq sent: "Regarding South Sudan (12-1), we have issued a statement just now on the agreement that was signed, which is: The signing of the Revitalized Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) on 12 September 2018 is a positive and a significant development. The Secretary-General commends the parties on this step forward and applauds regional and international efforts that led to the signing of the Agreement. The Secretary-General calls on the signatories of the Agreement to fully and inclusively implement the Agreement both in letter and spirit, so that the people of South Sudan can finally receive the peace dividend they deserve. It is imperative that all parties immediately cease hostilities across South Sudan. The road ahead remains challenging and the international community must remain seized of the situation in South Sudan throughout the implementation of the RARCSS. The United Nations stands ready, in close coordination with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union, to assist the parties in implementing the Agreement."

On August 2 Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesmen and team five questions, including "On South Sudan, what is the SG's (and, separately, UNMISS') comment and action on the detention of South Sudanese peace activist Peter Biar Ajak by South Sudan’s National Security Service after his criticism of the direction of the South Sudanese peace process?" On the afternoon of August 3, with 13 of the last 15 questions still UNanswered, Spokesman Farhan Haq sent this, which we publish in full: "On your recent question on South Sudan, we have the following: 'The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is monitoring the situation relating to the ongoing detention of Peter Biar Ajak. The Mission’s human rights team is in contact with government authorities. It is also liaising with other human rights agencies.'" We'll have more on this. Also,this news from Ghana, that over 30% of its UN Police deployment to South Sudan were in fact involved in the UN's pattern of sexual exploitation and abuse of those the UN takes public money to supposedly protect: "Fourteen out of the forty-six police personnel who were repatriated from South Sudan for alleged sexual misconduct have been interdicted by the Ghana Police Service with immediate effect. The personnel who were on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan were sent back home for alleged sexual exploitation. Their repatriation followed separate investigations by both the Ghana Police Service and the United Nations. A police internal communication sighted by Citi News has directed that the residences of these interdicted officers be searched and all weapons, uniforms and other police accoutrements retrieved." That should already have happened to UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins and his colleagues, but hasn't, under Guterres and USG Peter Drennan. We'll have more on this - and this: the UN disclosed child rape charges against one of its peacekeepers from Nepal in South Sudan on April 20, in a 6 pm Friday dirty data dump that has become the UN norm. The child rape allegation, listed as such but since downgraded by the UNMISS Mission in South Sudan to attempted sexual assault. This is a pattern: there is still no update from the UN on the earlier sexual exploitation charge against UN Police from Ghana in Wau. On May 31, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Wau, and Radio Mireya. UN transcript here: and below. On June 22, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq about the failed political talks, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: You said yesterday that the… it was IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] that was responsible for the meeting between President [Salva] Kiir and Riek Machar, but the UN was hope… hopeful that it would go well.  It seems that it hasn't gone well, and that it's been announced that Mr. Machar, one, won't be… can't be vice-president and two, may not be able to return to the country, either.  So is that something… what does the UN think of the results of this meeting in Addis [Ababa]?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we'll have to see… we'll be in touch with the various parties to see what follow-up activities happen.  I believe that our Special Representative, David Shearer, intends to meet with Riek Machar and we'll have to see whether we can get any result as a result of that." Oh. From the May 31 transcript: Inner City Press: some questions about South Sudan.  One is, in Ghana, they say that their investigation of the sexual exploitation allegations against the formed police unit from Ghana that was in Wau, South Sudan, has been completed.  They're just waiting for the UN.  So, I'm just wondering, does the UN have a statement on whether they've been found…

Spokesman:  Yeah, the OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) has now completed its work on the… its investigation on the incidents, which, as you know, were about the Ghanaian formed police unit operating in Wau.  The report established that some individuals of the formed police unit were involved in transactional sex, [for] which the United Nations has a zero-tolerance policy.  In line with existing rules, the report will now be shared with the Government of Ghana, which is also, as we all know, conducting its own investigation.  And they have pledged to us to take the necessary disciplinary and/or criminal action for substantiated acts.  The contingent of the 46 police officers was repatriated to Ghana on 30 May.  As you know, back in February, when these allegations came to light, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan took quick action and removed the unit from Wau and confined them to barracks in Juba.  We will be, obviously, following up with the Ghanaian authorities on the accountability of those who are found responsible for these acts after due process.

Inner City Press:    First of all… thanks a lot.  I'm glad I asked.  What's… what's the protocol for announcing such results?  Were these going to be announced at some later date?

Spokesman:  Yeah, I mean, we often share these responses proactively.  It seems like there was a leak in the communications.  We haven't formally shared the report yet with the Ghanaians, but, obviously, actions were taken.  And, I mean, we have nothing to hide in this case.

Inner City Press:  So, how many of the 46 were found to have been involved in wrongdoing?

Spokesman:  " Some individuals.  I don't have any more detail, but as you know, the unit was treated as a whole." So on June 1 Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: to follow up on… on something Stéphane said yesterday about the… the Ghanaian police unit in Wao.  The press in Ghana has this headline: "Sex scandal:  Indicted Ghanaian Police Officers Resume Duties," and says, "The Ghana police service says 46 police officers interdicted in South Sudan for allegedly engaging in transactional sex are back at their posts in Ghana."  And I would just… it seemed inconsistent with what he had said that some "unknown number" of… of those in the uniformed police unit were found, at least by OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services], to have been engaged in sexual abuse and exploitation, so is it… is it true that they're all back on the job in Ghana?  And how is this consistent what he said yesterday?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, what we said, what Stéphane made clear, was that the contingent of 46 police officers was repatriated to Ghana on 30 May, and we're closely following up with the Ghanaian authorities on the accountability of those found responsible for these acts under due process.  Of course, questions about what is happening inside Ghana should be addressed to the Government of Ghana.

Inner City Press:  Right, but I mean, have you seen… in terms of following up about accountability, they're all back on the job.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, like I said, we're in touch with the Government of Ghana.  Now, it's up… now, any questions on how the Government of Ghana is handling its responsibilities, once they're back inside Ghana, should go to them." Later the UN's Atul Khare, when Inner City Press asked, said less than 10, but declined further comment on "Ghana media." Really?
This as the UN under Guterres and Dujarric restrict Inner City Press' ability to cover news in the UN, requiring "minders" where none are required for other less critical correspondents. SRSG David Shearer's May 10 press conference transcript does not mention sexual abuse (or the killing in Yei); it mentions twice but not on this issue. An UNMISS press release on April 24, after Inner City Press questioned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the child rape on April 23, asserts that the allegation that a UN peacekeeper touched a teenaged minor in exchange for money is not an allegation of rape. Compare Inner City Press' Q&A with the UN Spokesman, below, to the UNMISS press release which begins: "On 13 April, four teenagers were caught trying to enter the United Nations base in Aweil through the perimeter fence. It was alleged that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese contingent in exchange for money. There was no allegation made of rape."  To today's UN, the sexual touching of a minor is not rape; apparently it is considered "sexual exploitation." Unless this is yet another case, with a minor in South Sudan, by a Nepali peacekeeper. At the April 24 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to explain how and why the UN is defining child rape down, with the final (for now) question left unanswered. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about… what I'd asked you about yesterday, which was the… was listed on the UN's website as child rape in South Sudan.  And I've seen a press release by UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] put out early this morning… well, I don't know… again, there's a time difference, I'm sure, but early morning here, saying as follows:  That… that it is alleged that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese contingent in exchange for money.  There was no allegation made of rape.  First, I wanted to make sure, is this the same incident that we're… that… that… And is it not rape if it's an underage person?

Spokesman:  Yes.  So, let me bring some clarity to this.  Upon receipt of the allegations, the Mission in South Sudan immediately dispatched its Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team to preserve evidence ahead of the national investigation that we expect from the Nepalese.  We are informed that the Nepalese Government has appointed a national investigative team within the timeframe required… requested by the Secretariat.  So, the dispatch is done in advance of the dispatch of the Nepalese team.  The allegations were initially reported on the UN website for Conduct in UN Field Missions as including an allegation of rape, as this had been the interpretation made based on the information available at the time of posting.  The nature of the sexual activity has now been clarified and, therefore, the matter is being recategorized as sexual assault and attempted sexual assault, pending further information that may arise through the investigation.  I mean, as you know, we… any information on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are reported as quickly as possible as part of the Secretary-General's transparency initiatives.  And, in the case of peacekeeping operation… peace operations, it's done on the website for Conduct in UN Field Missions, and information on new allegations is posted on the basis of information that is available at the time.  And, obviously, as these are ongoing investigations, there may be updates to what's posted on the website.

Inner City Press: Sure.  I guess I just… I just wanted to understood.  In many places in the United States, for example, this… this… the payment of money for inappropriate touching of an underage person would be characterised that way.  How… what does the UN call that?

Spokesman:  These… the information that we have now is that this involves sexual assault and attempted sexual assault.

Inner City Press: So, not being too graphic, is it: if it's not penetration, it's not rape?

Spokesman:  It's the information that we have at this time.  Masood?" That's a pattern.  So on April 25 Inner City Press asked Dujarric again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  in the UN's mind, given that this what was initially classified as child rape in South Sudan was downgraded to attempted sexual assault, what's the, in terms of a child, what--

Spokesman:  "I think there's a nomenclature that we use, which I will share with you.  The assessment was made… initial assessment was made, and then new information came to light, and a different assessment was made.  But I will share with you the nomenclature when I'm able to." Seven hours later, there was nothing. Inner City Press at 5 pm on April 25 managed to ask UN Peacekeeping chief Lacroix, video here. But while appreciating that he responded, the definition is still not clear. The UNMISS press release continues: "The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) deployed a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team (IRT) to Aweil to gather information and preserve evidence prior to the launch of an investigation by the Troop Contributing Country concerned." This from a UN Mission which still has no outcome from the investigation of charges against the contingent from Ghana in Wau, the withdrawal of which the UN took so much credit for. Agence France Presse, which did not report the April 20 data dump disclosure as Inner City Press did, quoted Dujarric's answer on April 23 to Inner City Press, without context (that Dujarric only mentioned the child rape in response to a Press question) and without even being present at the April 23 noon briefing where it was delivered. The April 20 disclosure of child rape charges was accompanied by another sexual exploitation allegation against a South African UN peacekeeper in the DR Congo, both dated April 20 like an earlier one against a peacekeeper from Niger, the dating of which the UN never explained when Inner City Press asked. Six UN cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers were disclosed on the UN's website at 5 pm on Friday 13 April, in what can only be described as a dirty data dump. On April 23, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this practice, and about the alleged child rape. Video here; UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about sexual abuse and exploitation.  On Friday, at 5 p.m. or past 5 p.m., which now two Fridays in a row, it was a… what some see now as kind of a data dump in terms of the timing of it, the disclosure…

Spokesman:  It's not Friday everywhere at 5 p.m., all right?

Inner City Press: Okay. At Friday at 6 p.m. in New York in UN Headquarters… they've disclosed child rape, alleged child rape, by a Nepali peacekeeper in South Sudan, as well as in MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo], more South African allegations, in this case an adult.  And I'm just wondering, it seems like… one, does… does the UN treat these allegations where it's a child more seriously and what… all… all it says is… in each of these disclosures, is pending, pending, pending, pending.  What's the status of the Nepali accused in this case?

Spokesman:  The [United Nations] Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) received an allegation of sexual abuse involving unidentified members of the Nepalese contingent.  The UN has informed, obviously, Nepal of the allegation.  We've requested a full investigation be conducted by the troop-contributing country within the expedited timeframe of 90 days, jointly with a team of… from OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services].  In this respect, the member… Nepal's response whether it will investigate the matter is expected by 25 April or on.  UNMISS, as you know, has a zero… like all of us, have a zero-tolerance [policy] and no excuse and no second chance approach to child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The Mission reiterates that such acts should be properly investigated, and where applicable, criminal prosecution be pursued under the law of the contributing country.  I mean, obviously, any act of sexual abuse is horrendous; one involving a child, I think, is especially heinous, if one needs to qualify these things." And yet they just dump the data on Fridays. And Inner City Press' coverage was picked up in South Sudan, here. Back on April 13, one involves alleged child rape by a UN civilian contractor in South Sudan, four involve Nigerian soldiers in Liberia, and one a soldier from Nigeria in the Central African Republic. This last is dated April 20, which hasn't yet arrived. The data, and the UN, is dirty in at last two ways. As this batch was being released, UNSG Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric left whistling; he does not answer Inner City Press' written or even some in-person questions. (This may be his boss' orders, see Guterres' non-answer on April 13, here.) On April 16, Inner City Press asked Dujarric in person, as it had on April 14 in writing without response, about the discrepancies. He at first dodged, then dissembled. From the UN Transcript: Inner City Press: I'd wanted to ask you, it seems like, on Friday, at just after 5 p.m. the UN disclosed a new set of sexual exploitation and abuse cases.  So, I'd… I'd asked you immediately thereafter why one of them is dated 20 April.  And it seems like, since we haven't reached then yet… maybe they're reading into the future, but that's a case in the CAR [Central African Republic], which you were just talking about, Niger, sexual exploitation.  There's a case of child rape, alleged child rape, by a civilian UN contractor in UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] and several cases from UNMIL [United Nations Mission in Liberia], I guess from the past.  One… so, what can you say about these cases? What's being done on them? Two, why is one of them dated in the future?  And then I have a question about UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS]?

Spokesman:  I don't know why the dating issues…

Inner City Press:  I'm looking at it.

Spokesman:  I'm not debating the veracity of what you're telling me.  I'm just saying I don't know, which happens to be a fact on a lot of things, in fact.  The UNMISS case relates to allegations of rape of a 15-year-old minor, implicating a local contractor from the UN Mission in South Sudan, which resulted in a pregnancy.  We're, obviously, deeply concerned about the serious allegation which was reported in late March.  Through the support of our partners and the victim rights advocate on the ground, the victim has received immediate medical and psychosocial assistance.  The allegations are being investigated by OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services], and the local authorities are also informed of the allegations.

Inner City Press: But… so, do they have immun… I guess my question is, it says OIOS, but it seems like, if this is a… a local staff that's presumably allegedly raping a local citizen, is it subject to local law?

Spokesman:  It's a local contractor.  I think we're… it's being investigated.

Inner City Press:  And on UNAIDS?

Spokesman:  I'll come back to you on UNAIDS.... [Later]

Inner City Press: I just am saying the column that I was reading to you about 20 April 2018, it says "date" at the top of it.

Spokesman:  I have no doubt that you are right." And still, ten hours later, nothing. Meanwhile at the UN Stakeout, Guterres' envoy on Sexual Violence and Conflict said she no longer reports on UN abuse, Periscope video here, it's up to Jane Holl Lute - who says she doesn't follow the details. Guterres is making the UN worse and worse. Watch this site.  Inner City Press earlier in the month first reported and asked about two ten new cases, by a Burundi soldier in the Central African Republic, and a Gambian police figure in Liberia, before that UN Mission closed. The CAR mission MINUSCA is very much ongoing, making the alleged sexual exploitation by the force sent by "Eternal Supreme Guide" Pierre Nkurunziza all the more problematic. Since South Africa has been allowed to get away with not even suspending its accused soldiers - the UN even tried to cover this over with a colloquy, see below - one wonders how the UN will proceed with Burundi. When also wonders, when did the UN become aware? On April 5, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I'd wanted to ask about, yesterday, it seems it was…  that it was yesterday that…  that new sexual exploitation allegations went up on the website.  The last time that I was asking was about the…  the most recent ones were five from…  in the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] by South African troops.  They were…  they were dated on the website March 20th.  And now two more have gone up, but they're both backdated or…  somehow they're dated March 20th.  So, it's a little difficult to know, but I had not seen them before.  So, I want to ask you about them.

One is a Burundian troop in MINUSCA in the CAR [Central African Republic].  The other is a Gambian police officer in the now closed UNMIL.

Spokesman:  Right.

Inner City Press:   What… is the dating correct?  Was…  what explains the gap between putting them up and… and them being dated that date?

And, two, what's the status of the…  of the Burundian?  Particularly, that mission is still open.  Is the person suspended, not suspended?

Spokesman:  I don't know why the issue of the dating was.  But, obviously, as you know, the Secretary-General has pushed forward, and we have been implementing a policy of much greater transparency in putting up allegations as they come to us and to the Conduct and Discipline Unit.

The one you're referring to about Burundi was reported last month to the Mission in the Central African Republic.  It relates to an exploitative relationship between a member of the Burundian military contingent who had been formally deployed in the Mission and an adult female.  The alleged victim has received medical assistance from an NGO inter-SOS and was referred to our partner UNFPA for further assistance.  The UN has requested the Member State to inform us whether it will appoint a national investigative officer.  They have until March 9th to respond to the request.

My reading of this is that the military person in question is no longer deployed there.

Inner City Press:  When you say March 9th, you mean April 9th.  I'm just… I'm… I don't know.  I just heard you say that.

I'm just… if it's possible to know going forward, just for reporting purposes, if something goes up…

Spokesman:  I didn't say March, did I say March 9th?

Inner City Press:   You did, but it doesn't…

Spokesman:  Okay.  No, I didn't mean March 9th.

Inner City Press:   My point is, can…  maybe you can find some answer.  In terms of seeing these things when your office is closed or wouldn't otherwise respond to an email, it's hard to know if they're… to call them new… are they new? If you put them up in April…

Spokesman:  If they're up on the website for the first time, they're clearly new.

Inner City Press:   Okay.  So, what does it mean to say March 20th? That's when they became aware, and it just happens to be the same date as all…

Spokesman:  That's when the Mission became aware.  But, I mean, the point is, we're talking about a few weeks.

Inner City Press: You understand the word…  to use the word "new," we don't want to misuse the word…

Spokesman:  As I said, if you haven't seen it, it's new to you." What an organization. Watch this site. On March 19 Inner City Press immediately reported on the previous cases: all in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the accused all from South African, all cases "pending." Since there was a recent group of "UN SEA" allegations against the South African contingent in DRC, it was unclear if these were the same or related case. So Inner City Press on March 20 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who as it turned out had a prepared if-asked statement, that these are in fact new cases, that the UN is concerned - but not so concerned that he read out the statement without being asked, by the press he threw out of the Briefing Room and still restricts. This is the UN's disclosure, once a month, while they spin. Since then South Africa has said it will not suspended the troops during their own investigation. On March 28 outside the UN Security Council meeting on Peacekeeping, Inner City Press asked Council member Sweden's Ibrahim Baylan, Minister for Policy Coordination and Energy, if troops shouldn't be suspended once the UN finds probably cause to put on the list. His answer is here - and it seems that the answer is yes. Meanwhile, South Africa's SABC spin continues, witness this "interview" allowing the SA minister to speak at length in defense and obfuscation. And this too is how the UN works, or doesn't: Agence France Presse a day late reported the story, making it appear that spokesman Stephane Dujarric had unilaterally disclosed the rape. But this wasn't enough spin: after Inner city Press on March 22 asked Dujarric to describe South Africa's (lack) of coordination with the UN in investigating and he promised to return with an answer, on March 23 he called on SABC, "Mr President" of the UN Correspondents Association, for whom Dujarric previously evicted Inner City Press from the briefing room and its office, for a colloquy on South Africa - UN cooperation. Then Inner City Press asked about the SANDF spokesman bragging no one is suspended until proven guilty. Inner City Press asked if those accused could be re-deployed, then, to other UN missions. Dujarric didn't say no - he repeatedly dodged the questions. Video here. We'll have more on this - and this: on March 22 Reuters "reported" that "U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric was cited as saying late on Tuesday in a transcript sent to Reuters on Wednesday." So the news hook was when Reuters got by email - or carrier pigeon? - the transcript of Dujarric answer to Inner City Press' question about a story Inner City Press had already published, and was in Google News. This took Reuters three people: "Reporting by Fiston Mahamba; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Alison Williams." But see video, and transcript here and below. 
On March 22, Inner City Press asked Dujarric more, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: since I'd asked you about the new South Africa… DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] allegations of sexual, as I'm sure you've seen, based on your answer to that question, the South African National Defence Force has fired, only with words, saying that it's disturbing and disconcerting that they're being… it's said that they're cooperating with the UN in such matters when the truth is the opposite.  So, I just wanted to ask you, not… are you satisfied with their cooperation?  Have they allowed…?

Spokesman:  I have no… I will try to get an update.  I have no update since… concerning their cooperation since we briefed you last, but I will get you something." Even with his if-asked, Dujarric could not explain the notation on each case "Pending ID of personnel involved." He promised to revert on this, which he has yet to do on Inner City Press' March 19 question about UN action on PTSD after two suicides by Japanese peacekeepers after returning from South Sudan. And he didn't by late March 20 when this UN transcript went online: Inner City Press: the other one has to do with these new cases of sexual exploitation and one case rape that were put on the conduct and discipline website yesterday.  They seem to be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they involve South African personnel.  I know that we've heard of this before… we've heard of one round of these.  I'm just wondering, if these are the ones that were previously disclosed, I guess, before going in this monthly data… data dump, why is it that every… every line is pending, including identity… pending ID of personnel involved?

Spokesman:  No, I think these are new cases that took place… alleged to have taken place between 2014 and 2016 in North Kivu and in South Kivu.

Inner City Press: Right.  So when did the UN become aware of them?  Because I noticed these are done basically on a monthly basis.  It's not like they're…

Spokesman:  No, they're done…

Inner City Press:  So, it's always on the 20th? [Cross talk]

Spokesman:  The Mission has received reports of sexual exploitation and abuse involving five members of South African military contingent in the DRC.  According to the information available at this time, all five incidents involve paternity and child support claims.  Four of the incidents were reportedly ongoing sexually exploitative relations with adults.  One incident concerns the sexual abuse of a minor, though she is now an adult.  As I said, the incidents took place in 2014… between 2014 and 2016, both in North and South Kivu.  Ensuring the provision of assistance to victims is our priority.  The women and children have been referred to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) respectively for support and assistance.  The Mission will continue to monitor their well-being and needs, as well as provide any additional assistance, such as the collection of DNA samples for paternity testing.  We have informed the Member States of this allegation and have requested that the National Investigative Officers be appointed between five… within five working days and the investigation's being completed with new reduced 90-day timeframe, due to the serious concern raised by the new allegations.  We've also requested that the investigation be jointly conducted with a team from OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services), but our requests for a joint investigation was previously rejected by the South African Government for the last set of allegations.  So, we do expect that that may be the case here, as well.  We're, of course, gravely concerned about the allegations, which come only a month after three reports of sexual exploitation involving the South African military contingent were received by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).  Allegations against this contingent continue to occur, despite our sustained efforts to partner with Member States and to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as other forms of misconduct.  The Mission and its partners on the ground encourage anyone who becomes aware of such behaviour to report so that it can take action.  We put the victims' rights and dignity first and are committed to ending impunity for all sexual acts.

Inner City Press:  So that was what was in the binder.

Spokesman:  No, it was not in the binder.  I carried it separately.

Inner City Press: Oh, great.  Could I ask just one thing, because it's… I'm just wondering because it says down this column called "interim action”, "pending ID of personnel involved".  Does that mean that, despite this lengthy statement, that the UN has no i… knows who the victims are, but has no idea who the alleged…

Spokesman:  No, that… I don't believe that's the case." No follow up. Amid the UN's decade long claim of “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse and exploitation, on March 13 a press conference was announced with decade long, now part-time, UN official Jane Holl Lute. Inner City Press asked her why the UN Peacekeeping mission UNMISS has denied South Sudan's request for a role in investigating alleged sexual abuse of South Sudanese IDPs in Wau by UN Police from Ghana. Video here.
Back in late January  UN international staff member in Mali was disclosed to have been accused of rape, and an Ethiopian peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia was accused of sexual exploitation. While the alleged rapist - the UN has not disclosed his nationality - has been put on leave, the sexual exploitation change is listed only as "pending." Photo here. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment - this as he held an UNdisclosed (until Inner City Press asked), and many say UNjustifiable, meeting with Sudan's Omar al Bashir indicted for crimes by his forces in Darfur.  Guterres chief of "Global Communications" Alison Smale argued that all UN staff including victims should "speak with one voice" which several staff told Inner City Press they took to mean, Don't make the UN look bad.

 On March 13, Inner City Press also asked how soldiers for example from Sri Lanka are vetted by the UN, given a showing that the four past commanders sent from Colombo to UNIFIL had troubling war records. Related story here.

She referred the UNMISS question to her Conduct and Discipline Unit colleague, who said joint investigations should be possible under the model Status of Forces Agreement (certainly news to Juba).

The second question on vetting wasn't answered at all. There was a third question, which Inner City Press also put to Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric: how did the UN investigate the complaint by the Bishop of Bangassou in the Central African Republic that IDPs there were sexually exploited by UN “peacekeepers” and some became pregnant?

Dujarric cited OIOS, the same UN Office of Internal Oversight Services in which the South Sudanese government said it has no confidence. Dujarric added that Guterres met the Bishop during what Inner City Press dubbed, from a DPI Town Hall meeting, his “litmus test” visit to CAR.

In the March 13 press conference Inner City Press asked if Jane Holl Lute's office (report here) has jurisdiction over alleged abuse or exploitation by UN officials against UN staff or contractors, as is alleged at UNFPA in India. Getting no answer, Inner City Press tried to explain: blue on blue SEA.

 Jane Holl Lute said she doens't like - or has zero tolerance for - the term “blue on blue.” But what about the UNFPA case? Or one was are looking into regarding UNHCR in Sri Lanka under Guterres? Watch this site.


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