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UN in Congo, Genocidaires Into Moral Vacuum, Zero Follow-Through on Sexual Abuse Charges

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 4 -- The UN so wants there to be good news in the Congo, it only gives answers when pushed to do so. On November 21, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson about reports that the genocide-linked Hutu militia of the FDLR was stepping into the vacuum left by the pull-back of the militia of self-styled Tutsi defender Laurent Nkunda. The UN never answered. Then on December 3, Inner Press again asked the spokesperson for Ban, and then her counterpart for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. This results in the a semi-detailed response on the morning of December 4:

Per your question yesterday evening, here's what I was able to find out that the FDLR have not redeployed to "fill in" wherever CNDP has vacated. However, MONUC  confirmed today that FDLR have entered the town of Ishasha in Northeastern North Kivu near the Ugandan border. The Nepalese and Indian battalions' redeployment in the area continues. The Indians will be establishing themselves in Ishasha.  It will take until the end of December to complete these moves. North Kivu Brigade is sending a patrol there today.  The intention of the Force is to tell the FDLR to leave.

  The problem, sources say, is the close alliance of the FDLR with the Joseph Kabila government, and his army, the FARDC.

  Another problem arose at a UN Department of Public Information panel discussion in which Inner City Press participated on Wednesday morning. Several NGOs who had attended the Paris conference of DPI say they sent a letter to Ban Ki-moon to take action on sexual abuse and exploitation by UN Peacekeepers. Inner City Press ran to Wednesday's noon briefing and asked about the letter, and any action by the UN.

UN's Indian battalion with the FARDC, sexual abuse and FDLR not shown

    Ban's Spokesperson Michele Montas said she was not aware of the letter, but that Ban Ki-moon is clear. How? After expressing concern about sexual abuse by Indian peacekeepers in the Congo Ban traveled to India and praised the government take taking action.

  Wednesday Inner City Press asked what action was taken. "We did talk about disciplinary matters taken," Ms. Montas answered. But in fact we did not; Peacekeeping source said, "Ask Afghanistan."  When it's the UN's own credibility on the line, outsourcing the responsibility to answer questions doesn't cut it.

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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