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UN Says It Protects DRC Civilians, Accused of Shooting 2 Itself, Double Standards

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 26, updated -- Amid reports two civilians in Goma were shot by UN Peacekeepers from the Uruguayan contingent, and of mob attacks on Rwandaphone residents of North Kivu, Inner City Press on Monday asked UN spokesperson Farhan Haq what MONUSCO said about it. Video here.

  Haq insisted that MONUSCO was all about protecting civilians "so they are not shot at." But MONUSCO is accused, itself, of shooting at civilians. And what about the documented abuse of civilians by the Congolese Army, for example the 135 rapes at Minova and gunship helicopter attacks since?

  Haq took a different approach, saying that in those cases the UN tries to "make sure there is follow-up." So, alleged abuse by M23, attack with gunship helicopters. Documented abuse by Congolese Army? Try to make sure there is follow up, even if only months later.

  If the UN took this approach in Syria, it would be fighting with the Assad forces against the rebels, some of whom are more abusive than anything alleged of the M23. But there are different focuses in different regions.

  The US, too, calls for no cross-border support of rebels in the Great Lakes region, while publicly mulling increasing support to rebels in Syria. So there is no principle here, only a political decision. Watch this site.

Footnote: in the video the UN also declined to answer Inner City Press which members of the Muslim Brotherhood its official Jeffrey Feltman "saw" in Egypt, or to answer on protests of its own compound in Sri Lanka, saying instead to talk to Navi Pillay's office. Her new Italian deputy is in the DRC -- what will she say? Watch this site.

Update: on Inner City Press' Sri Lanka question, the UN later sent this:

Subject: Your question on Sri Lanka.
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 4:54 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

The High Commissioner for Human Rights was not in the vicinity of the peaceful protests by the UN compound in Sri Lanka today.


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