Council Silent on Congo Rapes of which MONUSCU Had Foreknowledge, Will
Meet on Somalia Killings
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
dozens, including parliamentarians, no Council member called for the
two issues to be taken up.
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.
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
MONUSCO looking tough, action on mass gang rapes not shown
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?
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
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.
* * *
154 Rapes 30 KM from UN Peacekeepers Leaves UN Silent,
P-5 In Disarray
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
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,
replied that thirty kilometers might sound close by, but this is a
“densely wooded area” and that the FDLR has “blocked the road.”
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.
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
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”
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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?