Sex Abuse by
Peacekeepers UN-Solved Amid CSW Shindigs at UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 1 -- With the UN teeming with participants in the
Conference on the Status of Women, Inner City Press on Monday asked
the personal representatives of the president of the Congo and of the
prime minister of Morocco about UN peacekeepers charged with sexual
abuse or exploitation.
"In the DRC," the Moroccan
representative said, "there were accusations proven to be
false." Video here,
from Minute 23:30. The Congolese
representative stared at her.
even as to the
Congo, when a UN peacekeeper is accused, the most that is done is to
repatriate the soldier back to his home country. After that, it is
never clear if there is prosecution or punishment. Inner City Press
asked the Moroccan representative about the case of more than 100
Moroccan soldiers repatriated from the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire,
UNOCI -- where they ever prosecuted?
am not sure, was
the answer, then a reference to one person being prosecuted. The
representative said that in Morocco the army and gendarmes take this
seriously, the police less so. But where is the showing of what was
done with the repatriated peacekeepers? The UN provide obscurantist
statistics, saying the Troop Contributing Countries don't want to be
representative said that the repatriation is the most that can be
done. Inner City Press asked about charges that Joseph Kabila, whom
she represented, has done too little about rapes committed by his
army, particularly by the units that came in from the CNDP. Video
from Minute 19:45. This question was not answered. On this, and
other UN system sleaze in Kinshasa, we will continue to inquire this
week. Watch this site.
CSW meeting in UN on March 1, accountability
for UN sex abuse not shown
the CSW as not only filled the UN cafeteria, so recently the site of
an anthrax scare, but at a more elite level has given rise to a
string of receptions. On Monday, the UK's Mark Lyall Grant has
invited heads of CSW delegations to the UK mission, while Egypt's
Maged Abdelaziz makes a similar invite to his country's Art Deco
mission on 44th Street..
Heraldo Munoz invites delegates and Permanent Representatives to his
residence on East 57th Street. This competes with the EU reception on
72nd Street and Madison Avenue. On Wednesday March 3, Ambassador
Susan Rice invites the same crowd to the U.S. Mission. Many parties,
little accountability. Again, on this, and other UN system sleaze in
Kinshasa, we will continue to inquire this week. Watch this site.
* * *
Official, "Elated" by Rapes, Says Corruption Watching is Up
to Haiti's Preval
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 24, updated -- "Three rapes? That almost elates me,"
the UN's second in command in Haiti Tony Banbury told the Press on
Wednesday. "There are rapes in New York, in any refugee camp in
the world." Video here,
from Minute 34:17.
surprised at this UN official's statement. While he may say that the
quote -- caught on film -- is out of context, Inner City Press would
counter that the quote was created by, and reflects, the context.
presentation, billed as a description of the situation in Haiti, was
in fact a defense of the UN's performance. Banbury said the
earthquake in Haiti was harder to deal with than the tsunami or
Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, in which he was involved.
asked Banbury how the UN, which has made appeals for over $1 billion,
will ensure that rubble removal contractors are transparently
selected based on merit, and that the landowning elite in Haiti
doesn't gain super-profits from the move to acquire land for new
both of these are up to the sovereign Haitian government. He derided
procurement rules as causing delay. But US-based companies like
Ashbritt, under fire for post-Hurricane Katrina profiteering, have
already held private meetings with President Rene Preval.
UN's Banbury on Feb. 24, 2010: elated?
be fair, Inner
City Press reiterated the question: was Banbury saying the UN would
do nothing to try to ensure that money donated to help poor Haitians
wasn't grabbed by profiteers? Yes, Banbury said, we have an interest
in that, and the UN will pursue it "on a political level... with
the World Bank." But by leading with the UN's deference to
sovereign Haitian decisions, a message is sent.
involvement in the UN's and World Food Program's response to Cyclone
Nargis involved knowing, but keeping quiet, about currency exchange
losses of up to 25% to the Than Shwe military government of Myanmar.
were and are looking for is facts, not UN spin. And if one is the
UN's spinmeister, it might be better not to say, "Three rapes?
That almost elates me." What happens next? Watch this site.
days after Banbury's comments and the article above, and one day
after the UN was asked about the comments, and promised an update,
the following came in:
Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 2:40 PM, UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
briefing on February 24, Assistant Secretary-General Banbury was
asked about a report by Human Rights Watch on security and protection
conditions in IDP camps in Haiti, including a report that there had
been three cases of women being raped.
the following comment: “My remarks make clear my strong commitment
to human rights protection issues, and my conviction that three rapes
is "far too many". I said that reports of only three rapes
"almost elates me" because of deep concern--by myself and
human rights protection experts--that the large numbers of people who
are living in cramped and onerous conditions in displaced persons
camps could lead to serious protection issues, especially with regard
to sexual violence against women and children. If the total number of
rape cases is indeed three, while "far too many", it would
show that efforts by the UN and our partners to enhance protection
measures for women and children in the camps were working to a large
extent, and our worst fears were not materializing. This would be a
source of encouragement. I have dedicated many years to protecting
the human rights of vulnerable populations, and my career to public
service. Far from belittling the crime of rape, my clear intention
was to convey a sense of UN commitment and concern about human rights
which heard but never wrote about Banbury's comment about being "almost
elated" at three rapes were quickly to publish his subsequent