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NZ's McLay Tells Press of Proposal For Monitoring Force Intervention Brigade

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- New Zealand, new on the UN Security Council this year, is calling for increased monitoring of UN Peacekeeping military operations by the Force Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador Jim McLay told the Press on March 19.

  After a Security Council meeting about the UN's mission in the DRC, McLay told the Press that there's a need for more frequent and detailed monitoring of the Force Intervention Brigade, which was created with troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in order to “neutralize” armed groups in the Eastern Congo.

  The FIB, as it is known, used attack helicopters and ended the largely Tutsi M23 rebellion. Now with some controversy the FIB is not being similarly deployed against the largely Hutu FDLR militia.

   Inner City Press asked McLay about this, and the perception that the Troops Contributing Countries to the FIB have a role in which groups it will target. McLay said that New Zealand's focus is "specifically on the monitoring issue, not so much who they engage with but what happens when they engage."

   Inner City Press asked if each contingent would monitor itself. McLay said “the most effective mechanism is probably a relative informal one,” that ensures the information comes to the Council more frequently than the standard 90 days.

  “We owe it to the civilians,” McLay said, and also to the troops themselves. Asked if the monitoring reports would be public McLay said yes, it all becomes public in reports.

   This is not always the case, however. For example in December UN Peacekeepers in Haiti were filmed shooting at demonstrators. That UN report has still not been released.

   Still, increased oversight by the Security Council member states over the missions they create is needed. As another example, a UN Office of Internal Oversight Services “strictly confidential” report leaked to Inner City Press shows that UN Police positions in the missions in the DRC and Haiti were sold for money by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire. Click here for report.

  That individual remains in his position, in and out of the UN building; the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (and the host country) have done nothing about that. Perhaps if other Security Council members, for example New Zealand, did more monitoring and oversight, things could improve. Watch this site.


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