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On CAR Rapes, Ladsous Asking Leaker to Resign UNexplained by UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 6 -- French soldiers in the Central African Republic allegedly sexually abused children, as exposed in a UN report leaked by staffer Anders Kompass and first reported by The Guardian. After more than nine months, no action has been taken, other than the UN suspending Kompass for the leak. On May 6, Inner City Press asked the UN more questions about this. Video here.

  The UN Dispute Tribunal has issued an order reinstating Kompass to his position. (Inner City Press has put the full Order online here; Guardian coverage here.) Tellingly, the order says in Paragraph 9 that the request that Kompass resign for having leaked and made public pedophilia by French solder was "made by the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations."

  On May 6, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: about the leaker of the Central African Republic rape allegations against the French forces.  There's a… as I'm sure you know, there's a decision by the Dispute Tribunal to reinstate him or to suspend the suspension.  And it says in it… this is what I wanted to ask you about.  It says that he was met with on March 12th 2015, and the Deputy High Commissioner requested his resignation, adding that such a request had been made by the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations [Hervé Ladsous].

So what I wanted to know is — I've heard from this podium that these alleged child rapes had nothing to do with DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations), that DPKO has no link to them.  So, one, can you explain why the Under-Secretary-General of DPKO would ask for the resignation of the leaker?  Two, why this was… this request was made pending the OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) report, which is constantly cited as we can't say anything until OIOS is done.

And also, just finally, I wonder, is the abuse that's alleged in that report, does that make the French force Sangaris eligible for listing on the Secretary-General's Children and Armed Conflict abuser's annex?  Thank you.

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Well, on the last, that would be a question for the Office of the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict to consider.  But they certainly consider a wide range of allegations against many different forces around the world, and it would be up to them to determine whether that is one of those.  That would fall under their purview.

Regarding the details, you're quite right that the Office for Internal Oversight Services is continuing its investigation.  While that happens, there's not a lot I can share about much of the substance of this to avoid saying anything prejudicial one way or another about the handling of this.  Of course, what we've made clear is our concerns about the manner in which confidential information, in particular the identities of child victims of these extremely serious allegations, was communicated to external actors in possible breach of strict rules that exist to protect victims, witnesses, and investigators.  And that is something that the High Commissioner… High Commissioner Zeid [Ra'ad Al Hussein] has made clear.

Regarding what you'd said at the outset, yes, I can confirm that the staff member who is placed on administrative leave on the 17th of April with full pay pending the results of the investigation, that yesterday a judge of the UN Dispute Tribunal ordered the decision placing the staff member on administrative leave be suspended pending the outcome of a management evaluation.  The staff member has thus resumed service.

Inner City Press:  I have one follow-up question.

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Yeah.

Inner City Press: I wanted to do this in the correct way.  My question is, it goes back to this, it's been said and it was said yesterday in a written response by your office that this… that the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy doesn't cover Sangaris because of the link or lack of link between UN Peacekeeping and Sangaris.  So what I don't understand is, I understand the concern of the Office for High Commissioner for Human Rights about names being redacted and possible threats to victims, but what is the possible connection between the Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping, which was not the author of the report and in which it has been said from here is not connected to the report or to the force, to asking for this individual to resign other than the nationality of the USG, which is French?  Can you explain why his role in this…

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  First of all, I can't even confirm that particular charge.  As I've said, many of these are pending the results of the investigation, and I will wait for that to come out to have the facts about this.  The concerns that we have had are what I stated and what I just said again right now which had to do with the handling of evidence.

Inner City Press:  But is that peacekeeping's concern?  Sorry.

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  And regarding the… regarding the issue of Sangaris, yes, what we have said is that the nature of the cooperation between the UN and Sangaris forces was not such that we had any sort of command and control or operational links that would bring into play the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.  Yes.

Inner City Press:  I have another follow-up.

Voice of America:  [inaudible] tape recorder up front, I'm hearing a whole nother briefing.

 And so the next follow up question was not taken. But we will stay on this.

  This USG of DPKO is Herve Ladsous, a long time French diplomat before France placed him as the fourth of its nationals in a row atop DPKO. That ostensibly "UN" official Ladsous urged punishment of a Swedish UN staffer who leaked about sexual abuse by French soldiers in CAR is a new outrage. Who, the question becomes, should resign?

  The UN Dispute Tribunal Order, dated May 5 and reported by Inner City Press before 8 am on May 6, was issued by Judge Thomas Laker, and formally suspends the decision to place Kompass on administrative leave. Inner City Press is putting the 18 page decision online here.

UN Leaker of Report of French Sexual Abuse in CAR Ordered Reinstated, Ladsous Wanted Him Fired for Making I... by Matthew Russell Lee

  The context of Ladsous urging the "resignation" of a UN system staffer who made public child rape by French forces is that Ladsous has, since at least 2012, refused to answer Press questions about rapes by other of UN Peacekeeping's partners, in the DR Congo Army, see compilation here. Who should resign? 

 Systemically, Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN how its supposed "Human Rights Due Diligence Policy" applies to its work with the French forces in CAR.

  Now the UN has sent Inner City Press this answer: conveniently, the UN's human rights policy DOES NOT apply:

"Regarding your question on the human rights due diligence policy and the French forces in the Central African Republic, our peacekeeping colleagues inform us that the human rights due diligence policy applies for UN support to non-UN forces. In the case of CAR, during the period of the allegations contained in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report, MINUSCA did not provide support to Operation Sangaris. MINUSCA has a working relationship with the French operation which does not fall under the human rights due diligence policy framework."

  While there is more to be said about the level of coordination between the MINUSCA mission, run by Frenchman Herve Ladsous, and the French Sangaris force, they are described as conducting operations together.

  So it appears that rich countries can buy their way out of the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. The Congolese Army needed or wanted supplies and transportation from the UN, opening them up to Ladsous' use of the Policy to justify the UN not participating in operations against the Hutu FDLR militia.

 Richer countries might "coordinate" with the UN, using its perceived legitimacy, but be exempt from any human rights due diligence.

  Does the Policy cover the French Force Licorne the UN has worked with in Ivory Coast?

 And if the UN or Ladsous can exempt French soldiers' rapes from the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, could the UN say these child rapes don't require the inclusion of the perpetrators' forces on the Annex of the UN's Children and Armed Conflict report? We'll have more on this.

 No soldier has been prosecuted. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made that clear when he urges the perpetrators to turn themselves in.

 It now emerges that UN Peacekeeping did not suspend any collaboration with the French forces, unlike its decision to not support the Congolese Army fighting the Hutu FDLR militia in the DR Congo. Both decisions are attributable to UN Peacekeeping chief (and long time French diplomat) Herve Ladsous.

 On May 5 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to compare the relationships between Ladsous' MINUSCA mission in CAR and the French forces, and his MONUSCO mission and the Congolese Army, with support suspended to fight the FDLR. Video here.

  Dujarric said every relationship is different - clearly - and then when Pressed added that the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, cited by Ladsous to not fight the FDLR, applies "across the board."

 So, Inner City Press asked, how was it applied, or not, to the French forces once the UN had the child rape allegations, nine months ago?

  Dujarric paradoxically said that's under the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. But OIOS is not in charge of the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Ladsous' refusal to answer questions, and misuse of UN Peacekeeping, is bringing UN Peacekeeping to ever-new lows.

On May 1 from Geneva the spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zaid, Rupert Colville, sought to explain or bolster the reputations of the Office, and of France.

  At the UN's noon briefing in New York, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq read out loud from Colville's statement. Inner City Press asked questions, such as had the UN told the CAR authorities what it knew about the rapes, and if not, why not.

  Haq never answered this question. He said that Colville is preparing a timeline -- clearly, Colville knows if OHCHR gave the report to CAR or only to France.

 Inner City Press also asked about the UN's investigation into OHCHR staffer Anders Kompass having leaked information about Western Sahara to the Moroccan government, and why that investigation took so long that leaking continued, to France of its victims' names. Haq would not say which investigation began first, a key point.

  Haq said that Inner City Press was cutting him off, and turned to the representative of the UN Correspondents Association to support him, and then to ask questions of which he approved. The UNCA representative began by saying that who the UN told, and when, wasn't important.

  Haq said, this is how questions are supposed to be asked -- apparently, the questions the UN wants, from the partners it selects, ignoring the UN's own role in problems. It was World Press Freedom Day at the UN; the Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this.


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