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In CAR, UN Kills 3 Civilians, After UN Malaria Dump Exposed by ICP, Few Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 – The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Central African Republic, under its fourth consecutive French director in a row Herve Ladsous, is dumping waste negligently leading to malaria, a UN memo leaked to and exclusively published on February 3 by Inner City Press has shown.

  Now on February 13, when Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about the UN killing three civilians along with one combatant near Bambari, the lack of accountability in UN Peacekeeping was again on display. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: on the Central African Republic announcement that you made, the reports say that… that… or the people that were fired on say that one commander, but also three civilians were killed.  What is the UN's estimate of what the effect of using the helicopter, I guess, gunships was?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this stage, we are still trying to evaluate what happened as a result of its actions.  Like I said, we had no choice but to take the particular action we did once it was clear that the actions being taken by the FPRC could harm civilians in Bambari.  The coalition led by the FPRC refused to end its military campaign, has made taking Bambari its main objective.  From our standpoint, we had been trying to mediate and urged them to engage in dialogue.  So we continue to stress that and we continue to stress the need to protect civilians, including in Bambari.  And so we're hopeful that the armed groups, the FPRC and the UPC, will now stop crossing the red lines that they're not to cross.  It's because a red line was crossed that we had to engage.

Question:  But, if a military intervention… if it's true what's being… what this says that… that the ratio between civilians and combatant casualties is 1 to 3, or 75 per cent civilian, is it acceptable to the UN?  And what's the mechanism to investigate that?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're looking into see exactly what happened, what the casualties were, whether they were civilians or combatants.  At this stage, we don't have those sorts of figures, those sorts of numbers.  It's clear that a helicopter from the UN Mission had to intervene because the FPRC members went into an uninhabited zone.  That necessitated our action, and that was designed to protect the civilians in Bambari.  Had we not acted, the fear was that that would mean that there would be actual fighting involving civilians in Bambari.

  So how many civilians were killed by the UN?

 On February 7 Inner City Press put the question to the UN Ambassador of France, which has controlled UN Peacekeeping four times in a row not, and prospectively a fifth. See below.

  Ambassador Francois Delattre told Inner City Press "I will take a close look at it, it is a high priority for us." Video here.

  On February 6, in a classic UN noon briefing cover up, holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric when Inner City Press asked about its February 3 exclusive said he wouldn't speak to the authenticity of the leaked memo but that the UN is looking at possibilities of moving or somehow improving the dump.

  Then the memo showed up as "removed" from Scribd -- NOT by Inner City Press - so we uploaded it to our own server, now via PDF here.

(Likewise, eviction by Dujarric and the UN's current head of communications Cristina Gallach has hindered Inner City Press from putting up video of Dujarric's evasion. The high-speed cable in the office Gallach evicted Inner City Press from sits entirely unused by the Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom she seeks to give it to.)

  For the UN to try to cast doubt on the leaked memo while seeking to dodge its contents with vague assurances of improvements is typical.

  The UN has known about this dumping and malaria for months. Who will be help accountable?

  The memo states that "following complaints by the local population living in the vicinity of the dumpsite" a UN investigation found that the dumpsite sludge dams breed insects which result in sickness. Eighty-one percent of the UN's victims are children, the memo says.

  The report, under "Community Discontent," cites malaria. It notes that when concerns were raised, "police force was used to quell the dissent."

  Later on February 3, an "anonymous" UN Peacekeeping officials spuns wire services about DPKO's same-old claims to reform itself, which include Ladsous visiting the Haiti mission he has mis-managed.

  But this CAR negligence will be a test of the commitment to reform expressed, among other places, in the US Senate confirmation hearings. How can Ladsous (or MINUSCA as constituted) remain in place? How can France keep this UN Department?
   By the same token, how could corrupt censor Cristina Gallach remain in the UN system, in a post other than Public Information of which she had made a mockery? We'll have more on this.

  Inner City Press has long questioned Ladsous, for example about his linking of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers to "R&R" or rest and recreation, here. Ladsous replies, "I don't answer your questions, Mister."

  Now under new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, many are interested who will replace Ladsous. While other Under Secretary General posts like Cristina Gallach's atop the Department of Public Information are now subject to public vacancy notices, DPKO has not. Why not? Inner City Press asked, but UN holdeover spokesman Stephane Dujarric didn't answer.

  Sources will Inner City Press France is trying to hold onto DPKO for the fifth time in a row, albeit with a women, on information and belief Sylvie Bermann, since 2014 France's ambassador in London. Five times in a row? Given this kind of mismanagement, in a former French colony?

Exclusive: UN Waste In Dump Caused Malaria in Central African Republic, Report Leaked to Inner City Press S... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

  This concerned the Kolongo dumpsite in Bangui. Related memos refer to the UN in Mali as well.

  Tellingly, this UN memo warns of litigation, "taking into account lessons learned in the Haiti case." But was did the UN learn?

  Ban Ki-moon, who after leaving the UN on January 1 has found his campaign for South Korea's Presidency implode amid corruption charges, dodged legal papers about Haiti for years. In his last month he promised millions but so far less than $2 million have been raised, more than half of it blood money from South Korea.

  In the Central African Republic, UN peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse, including of minors. The UN itself recently accused 25 Burundian peacekeepers of sexual exploitation and abuse, but UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, the fourth French national in a row to hold the position, determined to continue to pay the Pierre Nkurunziza government for 800 more troops.

  New UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is considering who will replace Ladsous. He should consider and act on this as well.

  UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, while declining to explain Ladsous' reasoning, recent answered only two and a half of 22 questions Inner City Press posed in writing. UN Department of Public Information chief Cristina Gallach evicted Inner City Press from its UN office without due process, confining it still to minders to cover the General Assembly.

  The UN reflexively covers up its abuses. Even after killing 10,000 people with cholera in Haiti, these practices continue in the Central African Republic.

  Other memos have been leaked to Inner City Press. Meanwhile even the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, rather than dealing with the substance of a UN Ethics Office memo Inner City Press published, has Tweeted a press release saying it is all unsubstantiated. Really? The UN must be reformed.


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