UN Quietly Re-Starts Military Help in Congo, Says Not With Zimulinda
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 4 -- The UN Mission in the Congo under Alan Doss
increasingly has been under fire for working with army units charged
with war crimes. In late 2009, the UN's own special rapporteur Philip
Alston criticized MONUC for working with Colonel Innocent Zimulinda,
charged with rape and murder. But MONUC apparently didn't have enough
spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press that MONUC's new
operation with the Congolese Army, Amani Leo, had not yet begun. But
the following day it emerged that the operation had begun on February
26, with MONUC providing logistical support to up to 18 Congolese
the March 4
noon briefing, Inner City Press raised this to Nesirky, asking if the
"logistical support" includes transporting weapons and
ammunition, and asking for a list of the 18 battalions MONUC will
work with, to cross check against war crimes lists. Video here,
as he had
about the job action against MONUC by its local workers, told Inner
City Press to ask MONUC. But he went on to describe MONUC's screening
criteria. Inner City Press asked, does that mean the UN will not work
with Zimulinda, sometimes known as Zimurinda?
Graves in the Kivus, MONUC and 18 battalions not shown
the UN's own
of the briefing:
a question, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Mission in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has a set of conditions, in
line with Security Council resolutions, concerning the way in which
it supports operations by the Congolese Armed Forces. Primarily,
MONUC provides logistical support limited to Congolese operations
that are underway, including such things as fuel, transport and
evacuations of wounded personnel.
assistance, Nesirky said, was taking place for Operation Amani Leo,
which technically began on 1 January but has moved into an
operational phase recently.
involvement with Congolese Armed Forces units that have been linked
to human rights violations, the Spokesperson recalled that MONUC has
an agreed procedure in place with the Congolese Armed Forces, which
it has used to screen all units and commanders directly involved in
operations that MONUC is called upon to assist. This includes joint
planning of these operations as required by the Security Council.
involvement by the United Nations with Colonel Innocent Zimulinda,
Nesirky said that units commanded by Zimulinda are not receiving any
assistance from MONUC.
Meanwhile, the supposed investigation by the UN of Alan Doss' six line
email urging the UN Development Program to show him "leeway" and give a
job to his daughter has, eight months later, still not been completed.
The UN cannot be a void for accountability in the Congo or elsewhere
when there is no accountability by even the chief of MONUC....
* * *
Congo, UN National Staff Tell Doss They Will Strike, UN-Clarity on
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, March 3, updated -- The UN Mission in the Congo, MONUC, is not
under fire for having worked with accused war criminals in its
operations in the Kivus, and for MONUC chief
Alan Doss' presumptive
nepotism in asking the UN Development Program to show him "leeway"
and give a job to his daughter. Now, MONUC faces another strike by
its national Congolese staff members.
has obtained, and is putting online here,
a list of demands sent to
Mr. Doss and others by MONUC's national staff union. The union
accuses MONUC of having obstructed its activities and communications,
have violated re-classification rules and engaged in pay disparities.
work stoppage is
planned for March 3 to 5. Watch this site. Meanwhile, Inner City
Press has against asked the UN for a simple answer to the question of
whether it will work with Congolese Army units controlled by Colonel
Zimurinda (or Zimulinda), accused of war crimes by the UN's own
special rapporteur Philip Alston.
Last time he
was at UN Headquarters, Doss declined to talk to the Press: he has
resorted to a series of letters to the editor, playing out the clock.
At the March
2 noon briefing, Inner
City Press asked
City Press: About MONUC [the United Nations Organization Mission in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo] 50 Congolese human rights
groups and Human Rights Watch have written to the
saying that Colonel Zimulinda, or Zimurinda, should be prosecuted
war crimes in Shalio. And they have also raised separately a concern
that the UN’s Amani Leo operation that’s about to begin in the
Congo will somehow, may work with Colonel Zimulinda’s unit. I’ve
asked DPKO [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations], but I am not
clear on their answer. Is MONUC… does it hear the call of the
groups and does it preclude working with Colonel Zimulinda, or would
it consider working with him on Amani Leo?
Nesirky: Well, there are a number of questions there. Do we hear
the voices of different NGOs? Clearly, we hear lots of voices out
there, including the Security Council, which laid down very strict
parameters on what is admissible and not admissible in the way that
MONUC conducts operations with the forces in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo. That would be very strictly adhered to. In other
words, if there is evidence that anyone has been involved in
atrocities, crimes against humanity, the UN, MONUC, is not going to
be working with those people. And that’s very clearly spelled out,
and that’s what’s being looked at, as you quite correctly said,
this follow-on operation has not yet started, and it’s precisely
because MONUC is very carefully looking at the contingents that it
will be working with.
I would follow up, except I know time is limited.
afterwards, there was still no answer.
UN's Doss walks, strike, nepotism and Zimurinda not shown
DPKO sent Inner City Press:
Zimulinda - further clarification
Date: Tue, Mar 2,
2010 at 6:52 PM
To: Inner City Press
question on Zimulinda during today's briefing and after consultation
with Martin, since you mentionned that you were unclear about our
answer on Zimulinda, kindly find herebelow some further
clarification in addition to what Martin has told you today :
by Zimulinda are not receiving any assistance from MONUC.
agreed procedure in place with the FARDC, which we have used to
screen all units and commanders directly involved in operations that
MONUC is called upon to assist. This includes joint planning of these
operations as required by the Security Council.
as the human
rights group have asked, WILL the UN work with Zimurinda? Watch this
When on March 3 when Inner City P ress asked about
this national staff job action against MONUC,
Nesirky said to "ask MONUC." He assked dismissively that there was not
work stoppage, only "casual workers" and a few national staff engaged
in a protest. Video here,
from Minute 7:12.
After Nesirky read out a response
about the UN's Mission in Lebanon, rather than saying "ask UNIFIL,"
Inner City Press asked about the difference. Video here
from Minute 15:45. "It's very clear," Nesirky said.
"There is a difference between speaking with colleagues in MONUC
and having the guidance." Moments after the briefing, one of
Nesirky's assistance emailed this MONUC "guidance" to Inner City Press:
answer to your question on Monuc
From: Yves Sorokobi at UN.org
Inner City Press
Date: Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 12:48 PM
stoppage" or "strike"
has been no work stoppage or strike at MONUC. Approximately 100
"casual daily workers" and 8-10 Congolese staff of MONUC
demonstrated peacefully outside MONUC Headquarters in Kinshasa today.
The rest of the 2,700 national staff (of whom 798 are in Kinshasa)
and some 3,000 daily workers reported to work throughout the country.
MONUC leadership willingness to engage in dialogue with national
Administration has met repeatedly with representatives of the
national staff and has remained open to discuss grievances. The
Mission has worked with DFS to improve conditions of service within
the constraints of the MONUC budget and UN rules and regulations. The
SRSG has agreed to meet personally with a staff delegation at Mr.
Nondo was absent from work for some five months without
authorization. He was repeatedly asked to return and did not
respond. He remains a staff member of MONUC. The MONUC leadership
has continued to engage with him as a representative of the national
staff, although the association, under his leadership, has refused
to hold general elections for [almost]* three years. UN Staff
(8.1 (b)) require staff elections to hold general elections at least
once every two years. A number of staff are now demanding new
facilitates the work of the National Staff Association by providing
paid time to the president and vice president to conduct association
business and providing offices, communications facilities,
transportation and other support.
have to do with issues faced by national staff and other national
employees in many peacekeeping missions, including delays in results
of UN system surveys to set local salaries, the status of "casual
daily workers" and other questions that are governed by rules
and regulations established by the UN's administrative and budgetary
bodies. MONUC has worked continuously with DFS to address these
issues within the constraints of its budget and UN rules and
the March 3
briefing, after Nesirky tried to say to "ask MONUC," Inner
City Press asked, but wasn't DFS, at headquarters, involved?
*- after initially
saying "over" three years, the UN subsequently changed it to "almost."
The UN levels tihs same charge at its New York union. Are the UN best
practices in union busting or divide and conquer?