UN Permits Kashmir in the Kivus, Congolese Critical of UN Peacekeeper
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 14 -- If you listen to the UN in New York, they'll tell
you they're doing the best they can in the Congo. But in speaking
with Congolese, whether in Kinshasa, Goma or New York, you get a
Last week, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesperson
Michele Montas about reports that the UN's Pakishretani peacekeepers in
South Kivu are refusing to cross even an inch over the administrative
border into North Kivu to protect civilians from the attacks of FDLR
militias, because the UN has put an Indian battalion in charge of the
province. It's a little Kashmir in the Kivus, and the UN has
apparently done nothing to solve this entirely foreseeable and not
Montas said she hadn't heard the report, despite them being on
Reuters and elsewhere. She said,
will check for you what happened there. I
was not aware that there was a conflict." An
answer was promised, but not received. And
so on June 14 Inner City Press asked a panel of Congolese women what
they thought of the UN's performance in their country.
Kasongo of the Shalupe Foundation, speaking in French, said that the
UN peacekeepers do nothing when "the enemy attacks our people."
There was an incident last year in which the commander of the Indian
battalion in North Kivu openly praised CNDP militia
indicted war criminal Laurent Nkunda. The UN would probably have
denied the incident, except it was captured on tape.
Kasongo went on to say that many believe that UN is only there to
assume corridors ("couloirs")
for the exploitation of the
Congo's natural resources. All you have to do to take our coltan, she
said, is rape a woman and give her son a gun to go and get it.
Nabushosi said that a major effect of UN presence is to drive up
housing prices, as the UN overpays, doesn't negotiate, destroys the
market. They drive around in their big cars and do nothing, she said,
most Congolese wish they would leave.
UN Security Council in Goma at Heal Africa,
views of Congolese not shown
panel was set up by Friends of
the Congo and followed a performance
of the play "Ruined" by Lynn Nottage, set in Bunia, which
won this year's Pulitzer Prize.
Faray, when Inner City Press asked what the UN Security Council
should be doing, scoffed that France supported Operation Turquoise
which brought the Rwandan genocidaires into the Congo.
She added that
the U.S. supports the neighboring governments in Rwanda and Uganda,
both of which have sponsored militias in the Congo. How can the
Security Council, she asked, solved the problems of the Congo when it
had caused so many of them?
are questions we will pursue.
City Press: In the Congo, there are these reports of civilians
unprotected in the southern part of North Kivu, apparently because
the Pakistani contingent refuses to cross the line from North to
South Kivu due to some India-Pakistan issues within the Mission. Can
the UN confirm that, and what’s being done to offer protection to
people in this part of the Kivus?
Michele Montas: Okay, I will check for you what happened there. I
was not aware that there was a conflict. But I can tell you one
thing: that whatever the conflict, it will be resolved because it is
the priority of the Mission to provide protection to the civilian
see above. And watch this site.
August 6, 2009 update.
UN's $8.2 Billion
Peace Budget Faces 2.5% Cut, S. Korea Puts Congo
Drones on Block?
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 8 -- Anyone can call for peace, but who will pay for
it? That question was being debate, or at least discussed, in the
basement of the UN past 10 p.m. on Monday night. The UN's Fifth
(Budget) Committee had passed its end of May deadline and still the
$8.2 billion peacekeeeping budget was in dispute.
The U.S, Japan,
European Union and surprise Westerner South Korea are proposing a 2.5
percent across the board reduction in all peacekeeping missions'
budgets. The phrase, taken from the Western Sahara draft of June 6, was
a decision "to reduce the Mission's overall operational costs by a
further 2.5 per cent to be accommodated through efficiency savings."
The Group of 77 and China are resisting.
the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known by its
French acronym MONUC. The Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions' "recommendations on the financing of MONUC
would entail an overall reduction of $66,818,200 or some 4.7 percent
of the Mission's overall budget," mostly due to the local
elections MONUC will support being put back into 2010.
on the other hand, "is concerned that the cuts proposed by the
ACABQ could negatively impact on the effective functioning of the
from public speeches. Consider, however, the confidential
presentation of the Secretariat to ACABQ, the slide script of which
Inner City Press has been given by a well-placed source. The
Secretariat argued that "the budget before you is not a
maintenance budget based on routine operations." Instead the
Secretariat proposed "an increase of $235 million compare to
2008/09... 168 new posts and positions directly related to the surge
is the 3,000 additional personnel called for the Security Council
during the CNDP fighting in the Kivus, before the house arrest and
Nkunda and incorporation
of indicted war criminal Jean-Bosco
Ntanganda into the Congolese Army, where he has worked in connection
with UN-supported operations according to Congolese records. While
troubling, this should at least save money, no? No. The Secretariat
still proposed ever-increased spending.
come, the document says, from "troops from Bangladesh, Egypt and
Jordan... The new Egyptian battalion will be deployed to South Kivu
and the Bangladeshi will be deployed to Ituri... while the Jordan
Special Forces company will be positioned in North Kivu."
Interestingly, the budget includes "$18 million additional
requirements for 2 UAVs" -- unmanned aerial vehicles, the drones
MONUC chief Alan Doss requested at the turn of the year.
UN's Ban and Doss (not
Mountain) in DRC, budget cuts not shown
Committee sources emphasized to Inner City Press the news value of
South Korea's position. Here you have Ban Ki-moon, one source spun,
putting his name on proposals to increase peacekeeping budgets by
almost five percent, while his home country South Korea has joined
the push to instead cut the budgets by 2.5 percent.
"who's kidding who?" All we could say is "whom."
(On this front it must be said that the Secretariat's presentation to
ACABQ has some laughable typos. It refers for example to "the
Pakistanese battalion." But we digress.)
Delegates' Lounge, a proponent of the Haiti mission's budget told
Inner City Press that MINUSTAH, as it's known, spends 100% or more of
its budget. Mission head Hedi Annabi is called Napoleonic. Other
missions, in their start up phase or even earlier, like Somalia,
might face even steeper cuts.
all of this,
the chief of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le
is slated to travel from June 9 to 23 to West Africa. He will stop
first in Nigeria, where 27 peacekeepers have been sentence to jail
for life for protesting not being paid after a UN mission. Another
peacekeeper, female, says she was pressured for sex while on mission.
As a now-dead rapper sang, More money, more problems.
Roy will head
to Cote d'Ivoire, where Laurent Gbagbo keeps putting off the promised
election. When will the mission draw down? The force in Liberia,
too, is called larger than needs be. In the basement, however, it is
a question of whose ox is gored. Watch this site.