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On Rapes & Drones, Ladsous Refusal to Answer Implicates UN Spox & Scribes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 -- Can a UN Under Secretary General on camera refuse to answer questions about providing military support to Army units charged with rape, and about procuring drones without required approvals, by saying “I do not respond to you”?

On May 29 in the UN Press Briefing Room, Herve Ladsous the head of UN Peacekeeping did just that, telling Inner City Press on questions of rape and drones, “You know I do not respond to you, Mister.” Video here and embedded below.

  Ladsous did it flanked by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric. He did it with no complaint or reaction from the similar head of the old UN Correspondents Association Pam Falk, who though arriving 15 minutes late was called on by Dujarric to lob a softball question before Inner City Press.

  Agence France Presse was called on -- AFP invoked the UNCA machinery against an article Inner City Press published showing that Ladsous was not Ban's first choice for the job. UNCA's board demanded outright censorship of an article about its president's conflict of interest, renting an apartment to a UN Ambassador (there's more real estate shenanigans to come, June 7).

  Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access, which opposes Ladsous' picking which media to answer, and UNCA insiders for accepting this.

  Afterward on May 29 Inner City Press asked Dujarric how this was acceptable. The question about Ladsous not applying Ban's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy after only two Congolese soldiers were convicted of 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012, Inner City Press has asked Dujarric for weeks. He has still provided no answer, nor on Ladsous' drone procurement.

  Dujarric pointed to a separate answer by USG Ameerah Haq, not on the rapes or drones but logistics in South Sudan. This was appreciated and may be separately reported. But Ladsous is bringing all of UN Peacekeeping down, not only other officials but the troops working in the field. We'll have more on this.


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