Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN and Council Silent on Congo Rapes of which MONUSCU Had Foreknowledge, Will Meet on Somalia Killings

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- As the Security Council met Tuesday, a day after the revelation of 154 rapes in the Congo 30 kilometers from UN Peacekeepers, and hours after an Al Shabab attack in Mogadishu killed dozens, including parliamentarians, no Council member called for the two issues to be taken up.

  On the rape spree, as issue the UN and Council say they are deeply concerned about, several Permanent Representatives told Inner City Press that they were not aware of any requested meeting or press or presidential statement. A Permanent Five member's spokesperson said that the “beyond horrific” attack might be taken up in a few days, after more is known about it.

Now the NGO treating the rape survivors says that the UN knew the FDLR rebels were in the village, before the rapes began. Will the Council be willing to criticize and not only offer support to the UN's MONUSCO mission?

MONUSCO looking tough, action on mass gang rapes not shown

The Council's Tuesday session involved the mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, and the 1718 resolution on North Korea. The UN's Number Two peacekeeper Atul Khare went in to give a briefing. On Monday, he was supposed to speak to the Press about Sudan, but did not. Will he speak on Tuesday, and take questions on the mass gang rapes in Congo?

DPKO has pushed further back its report on the shoot out between Israel and Lebanon. Cynics say it has been pushed back into September so that the mandate of UNIFIL can be extended without controversy. We'll see. Watch this site.

Update of 11:54 a.m. -- A P-5 Ambassador tells Inner City Press no request has yet been made for any action about the Congo rapes -- but under Any Other Business, a statement about the Somalia killings of the MPs is being considered.

* * *

In Congo, 154 Rapes 30 KM from UN Peacekeepers Leaves UN Silent, P-5 In Disarray

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- Thirty kilometers from a UN peacekeeping base in Eastern Congo, at least 154 women were gang raped over the course of days without the UN doing anything about it. The UN Mission, MONUSCO, costs $1 billion a year, and is charged with protecting civilians.

  At the UN's noon briefing on August 23, spokesman Martin Nesirky read out a number of press releases and then asked if there were any questions. Inner City Press asked about the gang rapes, attributed by the UN to the FDLR rebels, and asked why the UN had done nothing. Video here, from Minute 3:12.

  Spokesman Nesirky replied that thirty kilometers might sound close by, but this is a “densely wooded area” and that the FDLR has “blocked the road.”

  Nesirky answered these and other follow up question be reading from a prepared statement he pulled out of a binder in front of him, saying “it says here.” Video here, at Minute 12.

   Inner City Press asked Nesirky why, if he had this statement, he had not read it out at the beginning of the briefing, but rather waited to see if a question would be asked. Video here, from Minute 21:38. This is important, in light of statements Nesirky has made about his asserted right to block questions, that there are no rules, that it is “his briefing.”

  Nesirky nevertheless told Inner City Press that he didn't read out the Congo statement because he knew questions would be asked, “if not by you then by someone else.” The statement is true of many of the statements that Nesirky does read out at the beginning of “his” briefings.

 Could it be that the UN knows that the gang rape of 154 women 30 kilometers from its facilities makes the UN look bad?  What will be done to improve MONUSCO's and the UN's performance on protection of civilians?

  And where, one wondered, is the UN's new -- for months -- Special Representative to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on sexual violence and conflict, Margot Wallstrom? This is a test case.

UN's Ban arrives in Eastern Congo, inaction on 154 rapes not shown

  In front of the Security Council, Inner City Press asked this month's Council president Vitaly Churkin of Russia if the Council would take up the issue of the gang rape of 154 women in a country with a $1 billion UN peacekeeping mission. Video here, from Minute 3:49.

Ambassador Churkin said it was very disturbing but “we have not yet consulted on whether we need to do something about it.” Inner City Press asked the spokespeople of two of the Western Permanent Five members of the Council if they intended to ask for a meeting or at least Press Statement -- that intention does not appear to be there. 
  By contrast, when French UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon had eggs thrown at them, the Council had an emergency meeting and issued a press statement. Watch this site.

Footnotes: Inner City Press also asked Nesirky if the UN was ready, belatedly, to say which rebel group was responsible for the killing of Indian peacekeepers last week. Video here, from Minute 18:33. (Note that the audio of the August 23 UN noon briefing was mixed with ambient sound, seemingly from the stakeout area in front of the Security Council.)

No, Nesirky said, adding that since the incident involved UN peacekeepers, there is a different procedure than for the gang rape of 154 women, which the UN has attributed to the FDLR. In fact, the Congolese government has already made arrests in the case of the killing of the UN peacekeepers by rebels who did not have guns. So why won't the UN speak about who did it?

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -