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On LRA, HRW's Egeland Dismisses Rwanda "Ambassador," US Vets for Rights?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 -- Jan Egeland, now deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch, spoke at the UN about the Lord's Resistance Army on June 26, the day after Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said HRW puts people in Eastern Congo at risk with inaccurate reports.

  Inner City Press asked Egeland to respond to the Rwandan Foreign Minister's critique, since HRW director Ken Roth has not responded at all. Video here from Minute 16:47.

  Egeland said categorically that HRW stands behind all of its reports, given the "rigorous scrutiny... before we publish anything," regardless of what the "Rwandan Ambassador" says. Video here, from Minute 21.

  Mushikiwabo is, of course, the foreign minister.

  On a second round of questions Inner City Press asked Egeland, since HRW stands behind all of its reports, what safeguards are in place in the fight against the LRA to not include and involve the elements of the Congolese Army which HRW itself has said are human rights abusers. Video here, from Minute 39:55.

Egeland replied that "the US" are doing training and "vetting" to "avoid that one is creating human rights violations."

   Inner City Press asked if it would be fair to say that this African Union high minded endeavor is outsourcing or delegating all of its human rights vetting to a single member state, the US. No, Egeland said, before the African Union's Francisco Madeira jumped in to describe dedicated human rights officers at the "RTF," and to picking soldiers "one by one," including based on "health."

  This would certainly be different than UN Peacekeeping's deployment of cholera-infected troops to Haiti, a question DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has refused to answer, like why he accepts as a senior adviser the alleged war criminal Sri Lanka General Shavendra Silva.

    The purpose of the June 26 press conference, it seems, was to beat the drum for more money to equip and supply the 5000 troops to be deployed against the LRA. Mention was made not only of the US but also of Germany, which recently authorized its forces to bomb up to two kilometers inside Somalia.

At the tail end of the press conference, Angelique Namaika of the NGO Mama Bongisa told Inner City Press that there are now two kinds of FARDC Congolese soldiers: those who are underpaid and those who are "well paid by the Americans." Who knew? As with Voice of America, US taxpayer dollars at work. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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