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In Congo, UN Tells ICP It "Can't Reach Areas," Much Less Protect Civilians

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- The UN in Eastern Congo first stood by as the M23 rebels moved on Goma, then responded with missiles from helicopter gunships which, reportedly, killed at least one civilians.

  Inner City Press asked about this and was told of an assessment by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, run by Herve Ladsous, who openly refuses to answer any Inner City Press questions.

  On July 30 the UN canceled its normal noon briefing, to urge press focus on a 12:40 pm stakeout at which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took three questions, all on Syria.

  Inner City Press could not get a question in -- about the comparison between the UN leaving Rwanda in 1994 and what Ladsous is doing now, dismantling the UN mission there -- but asked, in writing, this about M23:

"where is / what is the status of the UN's inquiry into whether one or more civilians were killed by UN helicopter gunships and missiles in combating M23?"

  No answer came in on July 30, but Inner City Press asked outgoing Security Council president Nestor Osorio if Ladsous' MONUSCO mission is even pretending to protect civilians in areas controlled by M23.

 Osorio said one is hoping to avoid confrontation, and referred to a press statement that France drafted but did not circulate.

On the afternoon of July 31, Colombia dismantled its Council president -- much as Ladsous has dismantled the UN's Syria mission -- taking out the coffee machines, plants and flag.

  Still France held back its M23 press statement, with more now opining this is so French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud can be the one to read it out on UN TV.

  Later on July 31, the UN belatedly sent this troubling response, about probing its impact:

Subject: Your question on the investigation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 4:30 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Due to the prevailing security situation, MONUSCO is currently unable to reach all areas on the ground where it has engaged the M23. It is therefore unable to complete the investigation at this stage. We will let you know once we have anything further.

  If MONUSCO now admits it can't even REACH these areas, how can it protect civilians? Watch this site.

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