Naming Names: Bangladesh Military Accused of Abuse Serve in UN Peacekeeping, No Answers


By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 22– Amid the violence in Bangladesh,Inner City Pro has repeatedly asked the UN how it reviews whether the military personnel is uses from Bangladesh have not been involved in human rights violations. February 5 video; now from the UN’s February 20 transcript:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask this again because there’s now a very specific list of Bangladesh military figures who are accused of abuses now and back in May 2013 who are now serving in missions, i.e., there’s a list of people serving in a variety of UN peacekeeping missions.  So I wanted to know, either now or later today, can Peacekeeping describe what review it’s made of Bangladesh military figures given the concerns…

Spokesman Dujarric: I don’t have any information on the peacekeeping aspect. .

   We noted that we’d have more on Herve Ladsous’ failure to vet Bangladesh’s “peacekeepers,” now as his DPKO won’t answer this basic question. Ladsous refuses Press questions: video here and hereVine here.

  Now Inner City Pro raises these questions. Is Colonel Imran Ibne A. Rouf serving UN Peacekeeping? A filing addressed to the International Criminal Court says he “abducted seven innocent civilians from a place near Dhaka Central Jail;” they were all killed.

  What about Colonel Amin, Director of National Security Intelligence, now reportedly serving in Ladsous’ MINUSCA mission in the Central African Republic, along with Lt Col Mazid, who was commanding officer of Rapid Action Battalion 10?

  In Ladsous and Martin Kobler’s MONUSCO mission in the DR Congo, where a Cote d’Ivoire diplomat was allowed to sell UN Police positions (clear here for that Inner City Press exclusive), please explain the presence of Lt Col Shiraj , Lt Col Mofazzal and Lt Col Khandakar Mahmud, all three of whom were in the Bangladesh Border Guards?

  In Ladsous’ mission in Mali, accused like the mission in Haiti of shooting at unarmed demonstrators, please explain the presence of Lt Col Munir, Lt Col Faruq, Lt Col Shamsul Kabir and  Lt Col Mustafiz, all of whom were in the Bangladesh Border Guards, and another Maj Mustafiz, from the Directorate-General of Forces Intelligence?

   Ladsous’ UN Peacekeeping uses human rights abusers, and at least in Mali and Haiti commits human rights abuses (while enabling them in the DR Congo and elsewhere). Maybe this is why Ladsous refuses to answer Press questions. Or maybe it’s the still UNaddressed sale of posts scandal in his missions in Haiti and the DRC also exclusively exposedby Inner City Press. We’ll have more on all of this.


Described at events in Shapla Square in May 2013 back to Pilkhana in February 2009, and more.

 As to Bangladesh this comes after it emerged that Ban Ki-moon sent January 30 letter(s) to the country, even though the government there says they only got the letter much later. What explains the delay? On February 18, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Duajrric:

Inner City Press: I asked about Bangladesh yesterday and there was some response.  Now, it’s been confirmed by the Government there that they received a letter from the Secretary-General.  They said they received it two days ago, but in other accounts, it was dated 30 January, and the Government there is saying they’re asking the UN Resident Representative why it was lost in the mail for two weeks.  But one, can you confirm the letter?  Can you say a little bit what’s… what you can, what’s in it?  And also is it true that it took two weeks for Ban Ki-moon’s letter to reach Sheikh Hasina?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I can check on the letter and see what we can tell you about the letter.  The standard procedure for these letters is, if there was such a letter, is that the letter is transmitted through the Permanent Mission here and then the Permanent Mission transmits it back to capital.

Inner City Press:  Right. They quote from the letter that the Secretary-General is thanking Sheikh Hasina for the country’s contributions for peacekeeping.  Some people think it puts the UN kind of in a tough spot.  Like, what’s the balance between thanking for much-needed peacekeepers and also trying to hold somebody accountable for violence in the streets?

Spokesman:  Well, I think you could do both, but I will look at the letter for you.

   Twenty three hours later, no answer. Back on February 17, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: there was a report that Mr. [Oscar Fernández-]Taranco is going there on a visit, and this was denied by the Permanent Mission here, Ambassador [Abdul] Momen, who said he has not spoken to him.  Can you… is Mr. Taranco seeking to go to the country, and why hasn’t he spoken with the Permanent Representative here in New York?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Well, right now on the first question:  There’s currently no plan at this point for Mr. Fernández-Taranco to travel back to Bangladesh.  He has been there before.  He has been tasked by the Secretary-General to be in contact with the Government and the opposition and he will continue with those efforts.  But, at this point, like I said, there’s no travel to announce.

  Back on February 12, Inner City Press asked UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman if Taranco in Washington had been addressing Bangladesh. Feltman genially replied, yes, that among other issues. Even though Taranco, as a product of the UN’s so-called Five Year Rule, moved to the Peacebuilding Department, he is still the UNHQ’s man on Bangladesh.

 Later at the February 12 noon briefing, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, saying he was answering Inner City Press’ questions from the day before, confirmed that Taranco’s meeting with the US State Department’s Biswal had addressed Bangladesh. Was that so hard?

On February 11, Inner City Press had asked Dujarric: UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on February 11 said:

Inner City Press: Mr. Taranco is still involved in this issue.  I notice that he’s meeting this afternoon with Nisha Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.  Is it fair to assume that that’s what that meeting is about?  And how would you characterize it?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think it’s not fair to assume anything.  I’ll now see if I can actually get you some facts, as opposed to assumptions.

 But seven hours later, there was nothing. Then on February 12, Feltman then Dujarric.

When on February 5 Inner City Press asked the UN, which uses Bangladesh soldiers as peacekeepers, this ensued:

Inner City Press: In Bangladesh, the… things seem to be getting worse.  Former Prime Minister has been charged with arson and… which she says she doesn’t do.  The power’s been turned off to the opposition party and basically the authorities are using violence on protestors.  So, I’m wondering, what’s the response of the Secretary-General?  Is there any [Department of Political Affairs] or other UN involvement in trying to mediate it?  And with senior military officials making statements about what they’ll do to civilians, what’s the impact on Bangladesh as a peacekeeping contributing country?

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:  Well, the political process is separate and apart from the issue of peacekeepers in UN missions, who are under the control ultimately of the mission.  Regarding the situation in Bangladesh, we’ve made our concerns known.  As you know, officials, including the senior officials from our Department for Political Affairs, have repeatedly visited Bangladesh, trying to meet with the leaders there and make sure that the crisis can be resolved peacefully.  As you know, we continue to have our concerns that that hasn’t happened and that there has been violence.  We have continually encouraged and continue to encourage the authorities to allow for peaceful protest and for the right to peaceful assembly.  And beyond that, we’ll continue to be in touch with the leaders of the two main parties, trying to make sure that they can resolve their differences.

  So what if anything is the UN doing? Watch this site.


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