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UN Peacekeeping Ripped by Ramsey Clark and Congo Doctor, Even HRW's Roth

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- An unlikely pairing of Ramsey Clark and Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, both criticized UN Peacekeeping on Wednesday, as they both collected the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights. Inner City Press asked Roth and another prize winner, Doctor Denis Mukwege who repairs raped women in Eastern Congo, about Western powers' indecision over whether to send peacekeepers there. Doctor Mukwege said the 17,000 troops currently there should have been able to stop the abuses of the 6,000 FDLR Interhamwe in the area, but have not.

  Inner City Press asked Ramsey Clark for his views on more aggressive UN Peacekeeping in the Congo and Darfur. Clark replied by describing the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, as soldiers from 15 countries who do not coordinate with each other or with UN headquarters in New York.

  While Clark did not answer Inner City Press' question if he would represent Sudanese president Omar al Bashir if he is indicted, he said that five million people have died in the Congo due to the lack of interest of Western powers, who nevertheless focus on what Clark called the 200,000 dead in Darfur in Sudan.  To some, this sounded like an answer, to others, an offer of representation.

Ramsey Clark takes human rights prize from UN's Brockmann, Srebrenica not shown

  Earlier on Wednesday at the Nigerian Mission, that country's Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu said that she hopes that no arrest warrant is issued for Bashir, who she described as acting better, "much better," of late. Asked if Nigeria would enforce an arrest warrant, she did not give a direct answer.

  HRW's Ken Roth in his opening remarks about the Congo criticized what he called the three countries best equipped to go into the Kivus: France, the UK and Germany. Inner City Press asked why he had not even bothered to mention the U.S.  Roth agreed, saying it is sad one does not even think of the U.S. for peacekeeping any more. He said that among the victims of the war in Iraq are people left unprotected in Sudan, the Congo and Somalia. This implies that the U.S. would have participated in those UN Missions but for occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.

  But as left unaddressed by Madeleine Albright earlier this week, the U.S. did not act in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide either. It goes back to the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Somalia. Ramsey Clark's views on that were not available at press time.

Footnote: As Inner City Press first exclusively reported on October 26, Ramsey Clark was selected earlier this year by General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann as one of his 15 special advisors.  His spokesman was asked on Wednesday why Clark hadn't earlier gotten this UN prize. Inner City Press asked if d'Escoto Brockmann's presidency this year had anything to do with the award. Could it be only a coincidence?

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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