to Probe UN Inaction on Congo Rapes, UNSC to Meet Aug 26, NGO
August 25 -- Two days after the UN belatedly
of its knowledge of the mass rape of at least 154 women in Eastern
Congo less than 20 miles from the UN MONUNSCO Peacekeepers' base,
Roger Meece of MONUSCO took questions from the Press. Meanwhile,
sources tell Inner City Press that the Security Council will hold
emergency consultations on the rape on August 26.
the UN on
August 24 had denied that MONUSCO had been aware of the presence in
the area of the FDLR rebels, Meece admitted that they became aware on
July 31, before four days of mass rape. He said that MONUSCO's patrol
on August 4 went away from the village of rape, and that the
International Medical Corps only told the UN about the rape on August
asked Meece to respond to a call by the foreign minister of Belgium,
the former colonial power in the Congo, for an investigation
including of MONUSCO failure to protect civilians. Meece said he was
not aware of the call. Video here.
International Medical Corps' 'California office found Margaret
Aguirre saying that “We work closely with the UN agencies and we
want to continue working with them.”
Cragin, who has said
the UN knew of the rebels' presence still at least July 31, is now
traveling and unavailable. Inner City Press asked about this, and
Meece said if the implication was retaliation or cover up, he rejects
it. We'll see.
asked Meece about his Mission's failure to protect civilians from the
Lord's Resistance Army, which the UN has blamed on the withdrawal of
nine Indian helicopters. (India tells Inner City Press they gave the
UN fore-notice, and still have other copters in the Congo.)
referred to the loss of copters, and said that the remaining ones had
many uses and weren't suited for patrolling “densely wooded”
Press asked for the second day in a row, is the UN going to communicate
with the civilians it is
charged with protecting?
Meece and UN's Ban, investigation of MONUSCO
inaction not yet shown
Meece said there's cell phone service in
only one of the villages. Here's a suggestion: with the UN spending a
billion dollars on MONUSCO, maybe it could leave better communication
in place? In the interim, flares or satellite phones?
Council still has not issued any statement. Multiple Council sources,
however, told Inner City Press that there will be consultations on
August 26 at 10 am with an eye toward issue elements to the press.
after Number Two Peacekeeper Atul Khare and Sexual Violence and
Conflict envoy Margot Wallstrom have assessed the situation, the
Council may issue a more formal statement.
* * *
Inaction on Congo Rapes Triggers Belated Trips, Why No Flares or Sat
August 24 -- The UN's belated response to the mass gang rape
of at least 154 women in Eastern Congo became more surreal on
Tuesday. Following up on questions it
posed the previous day, Inner
City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to an NGO's
statement that the UN knew of the location of the FDLR rebels on
31, before the four days of mass rape began. Video here,
by reading out a timeline, that the UN Mission MONUSCO's North Kivu
office only learned of the rapes on August 12. But the rapes took
place less than 20 miles from the peacekeepers' base, and the
international medical NGO was able to access the village from August
repeatedly that the UN peacekeepers conduct “routine patrols.”
But how could these patrols leave them unaware of these mass rapes 20
miles away, from August 4 to August 12? Nesirky on Monday called the
area “densely wooded.” On Tuesday he called it “vast.”
supposedly lack of knowledge -- other
accounts say that the
peacekeepers were aware but did nothing until the rebels left -- is
attributed to the rebels blocking their victims access to the road.
asked what the UN does to ensure that the civilians it is charged
with protection can in fact reach the peacekeepers -- flares?
Satellite phones? Video here,
from Minute 12:15.
suggestions you've made [are] the kind of things people will look
at.” But why only now, after the 154 rapes?
UN in Congo: equipment but protection of
civilians, flares or sat phones, not shown
Now, 12 days
the UN says it became aware of the mass rapes, Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon is sending the Number Two Peacekeeper Atul Khare to the
Congo, and charging his expert on Sexual Violence and Conflict Margot
Wallstrom with belatedly coordinating the UN's response.
while the UN
should clearly investigate its own peacekeepers' inaction, Nesirky on
Tuesday insisted that “it's for the government of the DRC to
does not accept the results of DRC Government investigations: the
government has charged two members of the Pareco militia with killing
three Indian peacekeepers in the Congo, but when Inner City Press
asked Nesirky for the UN's comments, he declined. Video here,
several questions by saying that on Wednesday by audio or video link
up a UN official will brief the Press about the incident. The
(1) the UN knew as
early as July 31,
(2) could have
intervened at latest on August 4, as the unarmed NGO did, and
delayed at least from August 12 onward in going public with the facts
of the mass rape, all have to be answered. Watch this site.