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At UN's Ceremony of Transparency, Ladsous Won't Disclose, Ban Points to March

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 17 – The UN administration of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, trumpeting transparency, for two days in a row last week invited the media to come watch him sign his compacts with his senior staff.

   On the appointed morning, Friday at 8:30 am, Inner City Press arrived in the UN's checker board lobby. After being screened with an electronic wand for weapons, and with only one other member of the press corps, Inner City Press was taken 38 stories up in an elevator, to Ban's big conference room.

  Some of his Under Secretaries General sat across from him, some appeared by video and some didn't or couldn't attend at all. Inner City Press filmed; click here to view some footage, below:

  One USG in particular had come to the fore: Herve Ladsous, France's appointee to head UN Peacekeeping.

  While it is repeatedly said that Ban Ki-moon encourages his officials to make public financial disclosure -- a one page form that merely says, “I own an apartment in Paris” or “I have a mutual fund at JPMorgan Chase -- Ladsous had instead checked off a box that he chose not to make any disclosure. Click here to view.

This is a pattern, as Ladsous on camera on November 27, December 7 and December 18 refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army which the UN mission MONUSCO supports.

  This gave rise to the first video in this series, #LADSOUS2013.

  Since then, follow-up questions have been ignored.

  And so Inner City Press, as well as filming the signing of the compacts, kept an eye on Herve Ladsous. He coughed, he scribbled, he spoke to Ban in French.

  And after the ceremony, Ban came over to Inner City Press and genially said hello. So Inner City Press asked about the fact those some of the officials present had refused to make public disclosure.

  Ban's most senior communications official pointed out that they had disclosed, just not made it public.

  Ban said the next round of public diclosures will be in March.

  But will Ladsous disclose then? Will have have answered how he applied or didn't Ban's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy to the rapists of Minova? What safeguards he put in place, or didn't, to ensure that UN Peacekeeping does not spread cholera as is alleged in Haiti? Watch this video -- and this site.

Footnote: Ban Ki-moon's top communications official also said, the other thing will happen, referring to a request Inner City Press and others made weeks before.

The request was that either the glassed in bulletin board of the UN Correspondents Association be opened up for posting by members of the UN press corps who are, by choice, not UNCA members, or that another board be permitted for the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

FUNCA was launched on December 7, 2012 after UNCA's Executive Committee spent most of 2012 trying to get the investigative Press thrown out. But in January and the first half of February -- until this filming - the UNCA “leaders” and some UN officials tore down FUNCA flyers asking for reforms.

So on February 15 it was said “it will happened.” We are ready. Watch this - and that - space.

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