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UN Says Peacekeepers Killed in DRC, Cites Rights Diligence, Not in CAR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- The UN Mission on the DR Congo MONUSCO issued a press release in French on May 5, that an unnamed number of Tanzanian soldiers in its Force Intervention Brigade were killed in an ambush in Beni. Inner City Press' loose translation to English from the French is below.

 The MONUSCO press release ends with a reference to restoring cooperation between the UN mission and the Congolese Army, which the UN's Herve Ladsous broke off citing the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

 But, as Inner City Press reported earlier today, Ladsous' DPKO argues that this same policy does NOT apply to DPKO's cooperation with the French Sangaris force in the Central African Republic, accused of sexually abusing children. Why not?

 Here is Inner City Press' translation of the MONUSCO release:

I condemn the ambushing of the Tanzanian peacekeepers who were deployed to protect the population in Beni region. I express condolences to the families of the peacekeepers killed in combat, and solidarity to the wounded, whom I intend to visit on Wednesday, said Martin Kobler, theUN SRSG in the DRC.

MONUSCO said that a unit of Tanzanian peacekeepers in the Force Intervention Brigade were ambushed on the Mavivi-Mayimoya axis, in the village of Kikiki some 11 kilometers south of Eringeti, resulting in several dead and wounded among the peacekeepers. This is the second attack in less than 48 hours on the UN peacekeepers in the region. On Monday, a helicopter with the Force Commander on board was fired on, requiring an emergency landing.

This shows the need to restart cooperation between MONUSCO and the Congolese Army FARDC to secure the territory of Beni, Kobler said - indirectly referring to the Rights Diligence Policy.

  French soldiers in the Central African Republic allegedly sexually abused children, and after more than nine months, no action has been taken. Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN how its supposed "Human Rights Due Diligence Policy" applies to its work with the French forces in CAR.

  Now the UN has sent Inner City Press this answer: conveniently, the UN's human rights policy DOES NOT apply:

"Regarding your question on the human rights due diligence policy and the French forces in the Central African Republic, our peacekeeping colleagues inform us that the human rights due diligence policy applies for UN support to non-UN forces. In the case of CAR, during the period of the allegations contained in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report, MINUSCA did not provide support to Operation Sangaris. MINUSCA has a working relationship with the French operation which does not fall under the human rights due diligence policy framework."

  While there is more to be said about the level of coordination between the MINUSCA mission, run by Frenchman Herve Ladsous, and the French Sangaris force, they are described as conducting operations together.

  So it appears that rich countries can buy their way out of the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. The Congolese Army needed or wanted supplies and transportation from the UN, opening them up to Ladsous' use of the Policy to justify the UN not participating in operations against the Hutu FDLR militia.

 Richer countries might "coordinate" with the UN, using its perceived legitimacy, but be exempt from any human rights due diligence.

  Does the Policy cover the French Force Licorne the UN has worked with in Ivory Coast?

 And if the UN or Ladsous can exempt French soldiers' rapes from the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, could the UN say these child rapes don't require the inclusion of the perpetrators' forces on the Annex of the UN's Children and Armed Conflict report? We'll have more on this.

 No soldier has been prosecuted. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made that clear when he urges the perpetrators to turn themselves in.

 It now emerges that UN Peacekeeping did not suspend any collaboration with the French forces, unlike its decision to not support the Congolese Army fighting the Hutu FDLR militia in the DR Congo. Both decisions are attributable to UN Peacekeeping chief (and long time French diplomat) Herve Ladsous.

 On May 5 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to compare the relationships between Ladsous' MINUSCA mission in CAR and the French forces, and his MONUSCO mission and the Congolese Army, with support suspended to fight the FDLR. Video here.

  Dujarric said every relationship is different - clearly - and then when Pressed added that the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, cited by Ladsous to not fight the FDLR, applies "across the board."

 So, Inner City Press asked, how was it applied, or not, to the French forces once the UN had the child rape allegations, nine months ago?

  Dujarric paradoxically said that's under the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. But OIOS is not in charge of the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Ladsous' refusal to answer questions, and misuse of UN Peacekeeping, is bringing UN Peacekeeping to ever-new lows.


 

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