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Leaving S. Sudan, Hilde Johnson Dodges on Cluster Bombs & Gadet, No Free Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- Hilde Johnson is leaving as UN envoy to South Sudan. On June 30 when Johnson gave her last UN press briefing on June 30, Inner City Press asked her who used cluster bombs in this stage of the conflict, and about having in 2012 told Inner City Press that militia leader Peter Gadet leading “disarmament” was OK. Gadet is now under US sanctions.

  Johnson dodged on the cluster bombs, that UN Peacekeeping's UNMAS had made a report “to New York” -- still confidential -- and that she couldn't go beyond what UNMAS has said publicly: nothing.

  UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous routinely refuses Press questions and refuses to provide the most basic answers, such as about flying sanctioned FDLR leader Rumuli in the DR Congo. It seems to have spread to Hilde Johnson, even as she leaves.

  On Gadet, Johnson recounted that he was a militia leader brought in by Salva Kiir's “Big Tent” strategy, which she said was “unavoidable” and brought peace. Well, it didn't bring peace: was it unavoidable? Doesn't the UN usually pretend to speak for accountability? Or not any more, under Ladsous?

Inner City Press had hand raised to ask another question, about press freedom. But Ban Ki-moon's spokesman gave some media but not other a second round. For this reason, setting aside the first question to UNCA, in this case Pamela Falk, is UNacceptable. When all questions can't be asked, no one should automatically get the first question. Will it even be reported on? Watch this site.


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