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#LADSOUS2013 Puts a Video Face on a Problem from UN to DRC and Haiti, Sudan, Drones and Rape

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 -- When a person committing or covering up crimes or violations of human rights is barely known by the public, what is the next step?

  Focusing on Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army from Uganda in 2012, a campaign launched a slick 30 minute video and a Twitter hashtag: #KONY2012.

  At the UN, Inner City Press asked officials and diplomats about #KONY2012.

  More recently, now in January 2013, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson to respond to Uganda's claims that Kony is in Darfur, where the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has a $1.5 billion peacekeeping mission. The UN has yet to answer.

   But there another figure, who refuses Press questions about Darfur, Kony and the Congo who deserves to be better known: DPKO chief Herve Ladsous. Click here for a first profile of Ladsous.

  Here is the inital beta video, #LADSOUS2013

Here is the original script only some of which made it in this time:

The United Nations was created in the ruins of World War II. It was supposed to protect future generations from the scourge of war, and to uphold human rights principles including freedom of speech and of the press.

That was then.

This is now.

In 2012 in Central Africa, in the village of Minova in Eastern Congo, 126 women were raped by soldiers in the Congolese Army.

The UN has a $1 billion a year peacekeeping mission there. Did the UN stop these rapes, or go after the rapists?


In fact, the UN works with the Congolese Army, and so it seems it did not want to face up to its partners' crimes. This despite what Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls his "Human Rights Due Diligence" policy, prohibiting the UN from supporting or working with units which commit rape or other abuses.

Who is responsible for this?

Well, the head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations is Herve Ladsous.

And who is Herve Ladsous?

He is the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold that UN position, and after being rejected by Kofi Annan he got it under Ban Ki-moon without any interview: France just put him in the post.

When Inner City Press began asking Ladsous about the Congo, about peacekeepers bring cholera into Haiti and him taking advice from a general from Sri Lanka depicted engaged in war crimes in the UN's own reports, Ladsous refused to answer.

In fact, he said "Mister I won't answer your questions until you stop insulting me."

But are questions about facts some kind of insult?

We did more research and found that Ladsous, as a French diplomat at the UN in 1994, defended the French policy of helping those response for the genocide in Rwanda to get away.

Now Ladsous is involved on the Rwanda - Congo border again, pushing through a plan to for the UN to use drones. He started the procurement even before he had any approval. He would not answer questions.

What can be done about this?

The problem, as they say, is the 99.9% of people have never heard of Herve Ladsous.

To solve these problems that has to change. That is one purpose of this video, resonating off another.

In this year, 2013, we aim to more closely cover Herve Ladsous. More people should know about him.

How he directed his spokesman to grab the UN TV microphone to avoid Press questions about the Minova rapes.

How he took friendly journalists out into the hall for private briefing, then used them to declare war in the Congo - anonymously, of course.

Ladsous is anonymous. Until now. Until this year.

You can be part of this. Say it. Say the name. Ladsous. Even though it's French, you pronounce the final S. LadSOUS. Like Doctor Seuss.

I will not answer questions then
I'll only answer to my friends
I will buy drones from Thales in France
I won't do stakeouts or take a chance.

Say it. In 2013. Ladsous. Ladsous 2013. We can do this.

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