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In UN's Silent CAR Alarm, Civilians Unprotected, Impunity for Assassinations, Mistaken for Burundi

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- "In northwest Central African Republic, we have no force there and the rebels are in activities," UN envoy Francois Lonseny Fall told Inner City Press on Tuesday. It has been that way in CAR for some time now, and the UN appears to have given up on trying to protect civilians there.

   Fall had been leaving his briefing to the Security Council, not planning to speak with reporters, many of whom had mistaken acronym of his mandate, BONUCA, as concerning Burundi rather than CAR. Some jokes, a country so poor it cannot afford a name. Others commented how the MINURCAT peacekeeping force, stationed in northeast CAR, is only about Darfur, not about the locals. Who cares about the the people of the Central African Republic? In the northwest, fighting has forced them in their thousands into the bush.

   Even the UN's envoy Fall is dismissive, pitching an upbeat vision of peace talks this week in Bangui. But at what cost? The UN's report on CAR recites without criticism an amnesty agreement for CAR's former leaders Ange-Felix Patasse and others "and their accomplices for embezzlement of public funds and assassinations, among other offences." This is in a UN document, S/2008/733 at Paragraph 7, without any criticism.

   If such an arrangement were proposed in Darfur, for example, their would be worldwide outcry. But this is the CAR. Impunity, mass displacement, none of it seems to matter. It is not a high profile conflict, the wrongdoers don't fit into into wider global template. And so the suffering continues, with the pretense of UN caring.

  Inner City Press asked Fall four questions on Tuesday. Has there been an upsurge in violence, and areas to which the UN cannot go? Yes, he said, in the northwest. The report under staff security says that "following an attack on the north-eastern town of Sam Oundja on 8 November, one UN staff member and either humanitarian workers were evacuated by EUFOR on 9 November. UN activities are currently suspended in that part of the country."

UN's Fall, impunity and suffering in Northwest CAR not shown

  Note that is the north-east: when such attacks occur in the north-west of CAR, there is no EUFOR to evacuate the workers, and no inclusion in the report.

  Inner City Press also asked about the Lord's Resistance Army, reportedly rampaging in from the DRC. Fall acknowledged the incursions, but played them down, nothing since the end of the year. Nothing but hopeful upcoming talks, all based on impunity. Where is Luis Moreno Ocampo now? The toolbox of double-standards adds new drivers every day.

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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