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UN Can't Name Any Action to Fight FDLR, Claims Cut Support to 41st Battalion

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 5 -- After the UN claimed to be jointly fighting the FDLR rebels with the Congolese Army FARDC, then to be supporting the FARDC to do so, on February 5 UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq when Inner City Press asked if ANY support from the UN is being given did not say Yes. Video here.

 From the transcript:

Inner City Press: I've asked several days in a row about the UN's either support for the fight against the FDLR or direct fight against the FDLR.  And Stéphane said, just ask MONUSCO; this is a mere detail.  Now, clearly, a self-described senior UN official has said that the UN is withholding its support because of two generals, Bruno Mandevu and Fall Sikabwe.  So, I wanted you, one, to confirm that; two, I wanted to know why Stéphane was saying it's a mere detail and ask MONUSCO if [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] was going to provide this information to select journalists.  And I also wanted to know…

Deputy Spokesman:  You're basically misquoting Stéphane.  He didn't call it a mere detail.  He mentioned operational details.

Inner City Press:  And I asked him:  Are you supporting the fight against FDLR?  He said that's an operational detail, ask MONUSCO.

Deputy Spokesman:  Yeah — not a mere detail.  That's a misquote.

Inner City Press:  Alright.  I think when you say detail… So, why is, why… Okay, let me ask this.  If the UN system has said, including the special representative that you named, that fighting the FDLR is so crucial, how can it be that now the UN doesn't do it, citing its human rights due diligence policy, which it never enforced after the Minova rapes as an excuse for not fighting the FDLR?

Deputy Spokesman:  First of all, I disagree that the human rights policy was not enforced after the Minova rapes.  It was.

Inner City Press:  Was support ever suspended?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, it was.  In fact, support was suspended to the 41st Battalion, which is not engaged in operation against the FDLR right now.  Second of all, MONUSCO’s support to the Congolese Armed Forces, or FARDC, operations is provided in compliance with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.  The policy requires the United Nations to ensure that its support to non-UN security forces will not contribute to grave human rights violations.  I wish to underline that this policy has been implemented by MONUSCO, in close collaboration with the DRC authorities, for the past several years.

The appointment of two Congolese generals to lead this operation, who are known to us as having been heavily involved in massive human rights violations, is of grave concern.  I can confirm that discussions are under way at the highest level with the DRC Government to address these concerns.  In line with the policy, the provision of support to units where there is concern about potential human rights violations requires remedial measures to mitigate risks.  If, because of the past record of units or their commanders, there are substantial grounds to believe there is a real risk that they commit grave human rights violations, support to those units will be withheld unless adequate mitigating measures can be put in place.

Inner City Press:  So, is there any support currently by… thank you for that.  It should have been probably said yesterday or in… but anyway, thank you for it now.  Since Mr.… General Mandevu is in control of the whole FARDC action against FDLR, is there any support whatsoever going from the UN to this operation?

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, the discussions are under way at the highest level.  If there's anything to say about the extent of our support, you just heard what our line is.  If we have those concerns, then that is what will need to happen. 

 The UN has been dissembling for some time about its role in the Congolese Army's stated attempt to "neutralize" the FDLR. While refusing to answer Press questions publicly, Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping on February 4 once again used friendly scribes to appear to be strong on human rights - in this case, to explain NOT fighting the FDLR.

  Ladsous did this on the Congolese Army rapes in Minova, using the same scribes; he is preparing the same scam to explain his mission's covering up of rapes in Tabit in Darfur, Sudan (more on this to come).

  Here's Ladsous' DPKO's most recent use of Reuters. And here is Ladsous' history with the Hutu rebels in 1994, supporting their escape into Eastern Congo, where now this false fig leaf is used to explain not fighting... Hutu rebels. Here is Agence France Presse; here is Ladsous' DPKO's most recently use of Reuters:

"The United Nations has threatened to withdraw support for a planned Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) military campaign against Rwandan rebels if the government does not remove two generals accused of human rights abuses by the end of next week, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the world body has told Congolese Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda: 'If you keep these guys we're not going to be in a position to support you ... get these people out.'"
  Reuters and AFP of course do not mention Ladsous' history, not only in 1994 but in refusing openly to answer questions about the rapes in Minova, or more recently, this. No, in this story the UN comes off as heroic. Really?

 Inner City Press asked more on February 4, video forthcoming.

 Inner City Press on January 30 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: Since it's UN Social Media Day, MONUSCO 46 minutes ago said that — I'll say it in French: Les operations militaires contre les #FDLR, lancées hier jeudi, seront dirigées et planifiées conjointement par la #MONUSCO et les FARDC.  So unless I'm misunderstanding this, they're claiming that it's a joint operation, “conjointement”, on their Twitter feed.  I wanted to know, why would they be doing that, given what you've just said?

Spokesman:  I think without going into a deep analysis of French and English, which you obviously are able to do and I couldn't try to keep up with you, I think it is a different characterization maybe, a different use of words, but I think the point is that it's an FARDC-led operation with the support of the UN.

   On February 2, Inner City Press asked Dujarric more specifically, video here,

transcript here

  Reuters has again misrepresented the UN's and Herve Ladsous' (non) enforcement of the human rights due diligence policy. The anonymously trolling Reuters correspondent -- reviving that on January 26, after Reuters' Stephen J. Adler et al were told but did nothing -- "reports" that

"The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo threatened in 2013 to withdraw support for two Congolese battalions accused of involvement in the mass rape. The mission decided to keep working with the battalions after 12 senior officers, including the commanders and deputy commanders, were suspended and about a dozen soldiers were charged over the rapes in Minova."

  This is propaganda -- only two lower ranking soldiers were convicted. The Reuters implication is that Ladsous' DPKO is tough on human rights: false.

  On January 22  Ladsous made a speech about freedom of the press in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Thursday to the US Security Council, and made excuses for not acting to “neutralize” the Hutu FDLR rebels as the UN did the largely Tutsi M23.

Then Ladsous came to the Security Council stakeout, ostensibly to take questions.

  Inner City Press asked, “On the neutralization of the FDLR, what is the hold up?”

  Ladsous said "I don't respond to your questions, Mister." Video here and embedded below.

   Then Ladsous turned and gave the question to Reuters, the same trolling correspondent. When that back and forth was over, Inner City Press asked if any of the countries in the UN's Force Intervention Brigade are well than willing to attack the FDLR, as senior diplomats at the UN have told Inner City Press.

   Ladsous refused to answer this question, and gestured that Ban Ki-moon's envoy to the DRC Martin Kobler, standing behind Ladsous at the stakeout, shouldn't answer it either. Reuters took or was given another question, distancing the FDLR from genocide.

   Finally Inner City Press asked both men what if anything UN Peacekeeping has done as the Kabila government has frozen the accounts of the Panzi hospital for rape victims.  Ladsous waved this off -- for months he waved off Press questions about mass rape in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army, video here -- and walked away with this spokesman.

 (One can only imagine the advise this “communications professional” is giving Ladsous. Perhaps he can help Ladsous address his history with Hutu groups as evidence in this memo. These are Press questions.)


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