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At UN, Jody Williams Slams Rape in Conflict, Cites Mexico, Ladsous Next?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 -- On the UN subject of Children and Armed Conflict, there is a lot of conflict about just what armed conflict is. Countries like Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan and India contest being put on CAAC lists, saying their internal problems are not UN recognized armed conflicts.

  Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams on Thursday near the UN said that to bypass this problem, the group she works with does not include in its name the words war or “armed” conflict, but is called the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. She said this includes, for example, Mexico.

  But does it include the United Nations? Not only sexual exploitation and abuse by the UN's own peacekeepers, but rapes committed by army units which the UN supports?

  Such support is supposed to be prohibited under the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. But that Policy is being shown to be less than meaningful.

  After 126 rapes in Minova just between the 20 and 22 of November, 2012, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused to answer Press questions three times. (November 27, December 7 and December 18, video here).

  When after advocacy by the Free UN Coalition for Access on February 6 Ladsous did take Inner City Press' question about the 126 Minova rapes, he said that the UN knows the identity of the majority of the perpetrators. But the UN has not stopped working with anyone.

   Instead, the UN says it is waiting for the Congolese authorities to finish their own investigation. It has been three and a half months; there is no assurance that the DRC will complete any credible investigation.

   So might the group with the long name, the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict get involved and bring some accountability to Herve Ladsous, if French minister Najat Belkacem hasn't? Watch this site.

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