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Amid UN Rapes, UN & US Power Vow Change, But Darfur Cover Up & Ladsous UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 13 -- With the UN shown to have covered-up rapes not only in the Central African Republic, by its own UN peacekeepers and the French Sangaris force, but also in Tabit in Darfur and Minova in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before that, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met beyind closed doors with the 15 members of the Security Council on August 13.

   Conspicuously absent from the meeting, and from the UN during this week of scandal for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, was the head of DPKO, Herve Ladsous. He is, in the French way, on vacation; Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press that Ladsous had not even spoken with Ban about the scandal.

   When Ban emerged from the meeting, he declined press questions, pointing at Dujarric who was behind him in the entourage. But Dujarric left unanswered basic requests for information, such as how many sexual abuse complaints have been filed against UN missions in DRC, Darfur and Haiti.

  The goal, it seems, was to put the scandal into the past by firing a single individual, Babacar Gaye, the head of the mission in CAR. (His replacement, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, was already in the August 13 meeting.)

   Last month's Security Council president told the press that this months president, Joy Ugwu of Nigeria, would be coming to the UNTV stakeout to provide a summary of the meeting.  Then it was said that Ogwu would stakeout along with the US Ambassador, Samantha Power.  Then finally, only Samantha Power spoke. Video here.

  Power's new spokesperson pointedly allowed only three questions, from Reuters (who she'd called on for Power's most recent stakeout on August 7, here), Associated Press (which also asked about ISIS and an upcoming Arria formula meeting about LGTBI) and finally... the Wall Street Journal.

   Inner City Press asked, as it would have asked Joy Ogwu, if making troop contributing countries disclose whether they prosecute suspects and the results was discussed. Power's spokesperson said pointedly, I've already called on [Reuters.] The rest of the press corps was there, apparently, just as extras to make it look free-wheeling.

   And so after entirely predictable hand-picked questions, Inner City Press asked Power, on the mass rapes in Tabit in Darfur, has anything been done? The question was perfectly audible. But there was no answer.

  Here's why it's important: many on the Security Council including the US spoke a lot about UN Peacekeeping's cover-up of rapes in Tabit in Darfur last year. But nothing has been done: no one disciplined, much less fired. If there was no follow through on that, how will there be on this?

  Relatedly, while much is made of trying to get European countries to contribute more troops to UN Peacekeeping, the French government did nothing about allegations its soldiers raped children in CAR, which that government received from the UN's Ander Kompass in July 2014. So how would their inclusion automatically make things better?

  These are questions that should be answered, or at least allowed. These are questions that will be pursued. Watch this site.

Note: from the USUN transcript:

Moderator: [Inaudible] call on folks. Joe. Joe has raised his hand. And then thatís the last question.


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