Says It "Cannot Name and Shame" on Sexual Violence, Silence on Congo
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 9 -- The UN on February 9 bragged about its work
against Sexual Violence in Conflict, introducing Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon's new Special Representative on the topic, Margot
when asked why
the UN's Mission in the Congo MONUC works with Army united accused of
mass rape by the UN's own Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, and why
the UN never disclosed any discipline for Sri Lankan peacekeepers
sent home from Haiti after being accused of sexual abuse, the UN had
no answers. Video here,
from Minute 16:23.
asked Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping
Operations, about a portion of Alston's
report describing that
Shalio (near Busurungi in North Kivu) it appears that the FARDC, led
by Colonel Zimulinda, attacked a makeshift camp of Rwandan Hutu
refugees on 27 April 2009. The FARDC surrounded the camp, shot and
beat to death at least 50 refugees and burnt the camp to the ground.
It also appears that some 40 women were abducted from the camp. A
small group of 10 who escaped described being gang raped, and had
severe injuries; some had chunks of their breasts hacked off. It is
not known what has happened to the other 30 women."
has previously asked MONUC chief Alan Doss about the report, after it
came out in October. Doss never announced any suspension of support
to Zimulinda's unit. Rather, he made a misleading announcement of the
end of the Kimia II operation. Soon thereafter, it was replaced by
another operation, Amani Leo, in which MONUC supports questionable
units of the Congolese Army.
Roy on February
9 said that the UN is "vetting unit by unit." He blurred a
word, or made a Freudian slip, saying that "Alan Doss knows [or
does] very well, each times there is full evidence" of abuse by
a unit, "we stop our support." Video here,
18:50. So does Alan Doss do this well? Or is the claim that he
"knows" very well the policy?
asked why, four months after Alston's report, which was followed by
others (with Zimulinda called "Zimurinda"), the UN has
apparently done nothing. Video here,
from Minute 19:18. There was another recent report of the UN
and accused mass rapist Bosco Ntaganda, which some in the UN think
was unfair. But what about Zimulinda?
does it take
the UN four months to study Alston's short report? Why has it taken
the UN eight months and counting to "investigate" and act
Doss' six line email to UNDP asking them to show "leeway"
and give his daughter a job? Does Doss "do" well, or simply
At the UN, is
it all about who you know?
UN's Ban and Alan Doss, investigation of Zimulinda
and Doss-mail not shown
Roy answered a
question by referring to a new UN web site purporting to provide
transparency into the disposition of allegations of sexual abuse or
exploitation by UN peacekeepers. Inner City Press pointed to a
particular page, here, which reports that the UN made 82
communications about abuse to Troop Contributing Countries in 2009,
and got 14 "responses."
asked, were the responses indications of prosecution? Or merely
letters in response? This, Le Roy did not answer. He said "we
cannot name and shame," because TCCs don't want it. But nor
should the UN give blue helmets and immunity to soldiers who, if they
rape, suffer only "repatriation." More disclosures should
be made -- we will continue to pursue this. Watch this site.
* * *
Ban to Call Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa about Fonseka's Arrest, Nambiar
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 9 -- A day after his spokesman dodged
about Sri Lanka's arrest of opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, on
Tuesday afternoon UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "intends to
speak" with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
spokesman Martin Nesirky announced the scheduled telephone call in
response to a follow up question by Inner City Press. Video here,
from Minute 7:36. Nesirky had a
prepared statement, "urging the authorities to follow due
process of law" and "provide all necessary protections" in the run up
to "Parliamentary elections."
had asked on February 8 if the Rajapaksa administration's violent
arrest of Fonseka was the type of "provocative act" which
Ban had counseled against. Nesirky had declined to apply Ban's
general statement to the facts on the ground.
Inner City Press contrasted the Rajapaksas' dissolving of parliament
and calling for snap elections with their arrest of their main
opponent. Could the coming elections be considered free and fair?
UN's Ban, pictured with Basil Rajapaksa, arrests and
call not shown
declined a request at the UN provide safeguards of fairness to the
presidential round of elections, which Fonseka has challenged as
riddled with fraud. After that vote, Ban even expressed "relief"
at how well it had done.
journalists have been harrassed,
censored and prosecuted and the main opponent arrested, might Ban and
the UN at least attempt to provide some type of safeguards for the
second, Parliamentary round?
since Ban has
said he is considering appointing a panel on investigating Sri Lanka
war crimes, and presidential brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has since
rejected any UN investigation, will Ban raise then announce the
panel, which UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston and others have
called for? Watch this site.
Also on the war crimes front, Sri Lanka'a Ambassador to the UN
Palitha Kohona has now denied that the UN's Vijay Nambiar was even in
Sri Lanka at the time LTTE leaders were executed while surrendering
with white flags.
City Press, which has asked the question
publicly without public answer, understands that the UN is being
asked again for the specifics of Mr. Nambiar's involvement, whether
he was given and conveyed assurances of safety and legal compliance
from the Rajapaksas which were then violated.
Inner City Press asked as it had on February 8 about attempts by
Kohona and Sri Lanka's foreign minister to reach Mr. Ban to cancel a
press conference on war crimes by UN Special Rapporteur Alston, which
request was referred to Nambiar. The day after he said he would find
out, Neskiry on Tuesday had no answer. Video here,
from Minute 9:50. He called it a small thing --
as Inner City Press had, in an abundance of caution -- but again said
he would "look into it." We'll see.