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In CAR, Zeid Blames Rapes & Cover Up Only on States, Ladsous Absent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 4 -- When peacekeepers from France allegedly raped children in the Central African Republic and the UN learned about it a year ago, the UN and UNICEF did nothing, until French UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous asked to fire the whistleblower in March of this year.

  Babacar Gaye but not Ladsous was fired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Inner City Press obtained and put Gaye's letter online here (credited here and here) citing systemic problems.

  Early on September 3 yet another French "peacekeeper" rape was announced -- but not by the UN Peacekeeping mission or Ladsous, in the country, but rather by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, see below.

  So at the September 3 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press put a series of questions to UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here and below.

  On September 4 in Bangui, with Ladsous still absent, Zeid devoted 323 words to "peacekeeper" sexual abuse - but not one of them was whistleblower, or retaliation, or even about the Panel which has now delayed its work another seven weeks, past the UN General Assembly week of UN Member States.

 Zeid's pitch was to blame everything ON the Member States:

"I announced yesterday that yet another alleged case of sexual abuse or exploitation by a foreign soldier has emerged. While in this particular case the perpetrator is alleged to be a solder serving with the Sangaris, who operate separately from the UN forces here in CAR, UN soldiers have also been involved in a series of cases of alleged sexual and other forms of abuse. The Secretary-General has made his shame and disgust at these crimes clear, and I would like to add mine. There is no excuse, no mitigating circumstances, nothing at all to justify the acts themselves or the failure to apply punishments that fit the crime.

"We simply have to do better. And States must help us. Over the years many proposals have been made to improve the way we deal with this issue that so often bedevils peace-keeping operations, not least ways to deter and prevent these appalling acts against defenseless people we are supposed to be protecting. We preach the importance of combating impunity, yet in the case of our own soldiers -- we more often than not totally fail to do so. Unfortunately, the Member States of the United Nations have repeatedly refused to adopt proposed measures to radically reduce the occurrence of sexual abuse by peacekeepers. I believe it is high time to revisit these ideas, and to do so as a matter of urgency. Earlier this morning, I discussed these issues at length with the UN Force Commander and Deputy Police Commander. The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General is going to join us in a few minutes to tell you more about the MINUSCA side of this problem, and I will be happy to elaborate on some of the measures that have been proposed in the past to try to eradicate it, but which have been rejected by the UN Member States or by individual troop-contributing countries."

 As to OHCHR, and Ladsous and DPKO, this is impunity.


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