Rwanda Accused of Genocide, UN Downplays Threats, MDG Connection
August 27 -- In the face of Rwanda's push back Friday
against a draft UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report accusing
it of genocide in the Congo in the 1990s, the UN in New York was in
Spokesman Martin Nesirky said it was “absolutely false” that
Rwandan president Paul Kagame threatened to withdrawn his country's
troops from the peacekeeping Mission in Darfur, UNAMID.
asked if this threat was made not by Kagame but in a letter by
Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo -- from whose photo op
with Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro Inner City Press was
excluded. Video here,
from Minute 10:20.
“There has been
correspondence,” Nesirky replied, calling it the “normal practice
to not disclose the contents of correspondence in that way.” But
Nesirky had so strenuously denied the threat of withdrawing
peacekeepers, a threat Rwanda made before, after complaints about one
of its general, indicted for war crimes, serving with UNAMID.
is that one of the 30 authors of the report leaked it, because they
sensed or knew that the word genocide would be removed from the final
the other hand, is accusing the UN of more
systematically and strategically leaking it, to divert attention from
mission MONUSCO's inaction on mass rapes by the Hutu
City Press asked Nesirky about this Rwandan
government allegation. Nesirky refused to comment, saying he wasn't
aware of the Rwandan government response. Video here,
from Minute 14:44.
UN's Ban and Kagame in July 2010, HCHR genocide
charge not shown
UNHCRH report, at least in draft form, accused Kagame's Rwanda of
genocide, Inner City Press asked Nesirky if Ban Ki-moon considered this
before naming Kagame the co-chair, along with Spain's
Zapatero who in turn snubbed Kagame on war crimes grounds, of the UN
MDG advocacy group.
two are not
connected,” Nesirky said. So why not name Omar Al Bashir, one wag
asked, to the UN's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability?
fact, on the High Level Panel on Global Sustainability, along with
Kevin Rudd, Ban named the head of Research in Motion / BlackBerry,
James Lawrence Balsillie.
While one angle involves the countries like
Saudi Arabia trying to block BlackBerry service if they are not
allowed to unencrypt communications, the other is the opprobrium of
the SEC and Canadian government at Ban's sustainable choice
Balsillie. Then again, Ban put a convicted corporate criminal from
South Korea on the UN Global Compact board. Watch this site.
* * *
Rapes, UN Can't Find E-mail, Won't Say Where Expert Wallstrom
August 27 -- How seriously is the UN taking the scandal of
its peacekeepers' inaction on the mass rapes in Eastern Congo in
early August? Well, at the August 27 UN noon briefing, more than 24
hours after Inner City Press asked about a late July UN e-mail
telling humanitarian workers to stay away from the area due to the
incursion of rebels, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the UN is
“still trying to track down the e-mail.” Video here,
excuse for not stopping four days of mass rape 30 kilometers from its
peacekeepers' base, and supposedly only learning of the rapes a week
after the fact, is that the area is “densely wooded,” presumably
this description does not apply to the UN's e-mail system. So why the
Inner City Press on August 27 asked Nesirky why the UN Office on
Sexual Violence and Conflict, six months after its ostensible launch,
has filled only two of the six allotted staff positions. Video here,
Minute 25:46. The head of the office, Margot Wallstrom,
reportedly only learned of the mass rapes on the weekend of August
21-22, when they became public in the media.
asked what procedures are in place for UN peacekeeping missions like
MONUSCO to tell Ms. Wallstrom and her office when they learn of rape
as a tool of war, as MONUSCO says it learned on August 12? In ten
days, they couldn't tell even Ms. Wallstrom or her office?
Ms. Wallstrom was in Europe at the time; the statement Nesirky's
office put out in her name did not have a dateline, unlike Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's statement of the same day. Nesirky told Inner
City Press that Ms. Wallstrom's location was “immaterial.” Was
UN's Ban and Wallstrom, 2 weeks to know, e-mail and
location not shown
the UN is trying to make the Congo rape scandal story die down, by
delaying admitting finding the late July e-mail, and belatedly
dispatching to the Congo Ms. Wallstrom and Peacekeeping Deputy Atul
Khare. (Where, correspondents asked again on Friday, is top
peacekeeper Alain Le Roy?)
Council's presidency will soon pass from Russia to the next in the
alphabet, Turkey, a country with its own concerns in the Council and
a Permanent Representative who has to date spoken very little to the
UN press corps. So, some correspondents opine, the UN is trying to
“run out the clock and play for time.” Watch this site.