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On CAR Rapes & UN, US Samantha Power Calls for Accountability

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 12 -- After peacekeepers, first from France then now from the UN force itself, allegedly raped children in the Central African Republic, on August 12 UN Mission chief  Babacar Gaye was essentially fired; Inner City Press has obtained and puts his letter online here.
   Now after Inner City Press asked it for comment, the US Mission to the UN has provided this, from Ambassador Samantha Power:

"We are horrified by the allegations of rape and killing of civilians by members of MINUSCA. It should go without saying that these reports must be investigated swiftly and impartially and that any perpetrators of such atrocities must be punished. Blue helmets should do more than just abide by laws - they should be models of protecting and respecting human rights. But this latest allegation is only the most recent in a slew of disturbing reports that peacekeepers have abused civilians. Any such crimes threaten the basic compact between the UN and the vulnerable people who are counting on outside assistance -- not attacks.

  "The UN must work relentlessly to put in place vetting and protections that will help prevent any such abuses, and it should not rest until all such allegations have been investigated and perpetrators punished. Member states who contribute troops and police to UN missions must ensure that when their nationals are accused of such horrific crimes, their national legal systems swiftly investigate the allegations and hold perpetrators accountable."

  There is to be a UN Security Council meeting on the topic on August 13; Inner City Press has asked the Council's president for August for details. More must be done. Watch this site.
  After Amnesty International reported in detail on the alleged rape on August 2 by UN Peacekeeping of a 12 year old girl in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 12 announced he asked for a resignation: of Babacar Gaye, head of the CAR mission and not Herve Ladsous, the head of UN Peacekeeping.

  When Ban Ki-moon took three questions on August 12, Inner City Press between each one asked, What about Ladsous? Ban heard but did not answer, except to (politely) say as he left, You can ask him, pointing at spokesman Staphan Dujarric.

  Inner City Press did, asking several time where is Ladsous -- on vacation or "leave," it emerges -- and about Babacar Gaye's letter to Ban Ki-moon about more systematic problems. Inner City Press obtained Gaye's letter and put it online here. We'll have more on this.


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