Civilians by UN Supported Troops in Somalia Admitted But Not Acted
July 21 -- In the wake of the World Cup finals bombing in
Uganda, there has been even less discussion of the civilians being
killed in Mogadishu by the peacekeeping mission which the UN is
supporting. But a memo leaked from within that AMISOM mission notes
continued firing into civilian neighborhoods.
asked UN Humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden whether there is a
special responsibility on the UN to ensure that the troops to which
it provides logistical support through its UNSOA office are not
killing civilians. “Yes there is,” Bowden said, adding that he's
“had discussions” with Ambassador Diarra of the African Union
about “reducing civilian casualties.”
UN's support to troops be conditioned on avoiding killing civilians? “I
think it is,” Bowden said. “It's not my side of the shop”
but “my colleagues are in active discussion in Addis with the AU.”
from Minute 18:13.
asked, which colleagues? UNSOA or the Department of Field Support?
“DFS and UNSOA,” Bowden said. Previous questioning by Inner City
Press, of DFS chief Susana Malcorra and the Office of the
Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has not yielded any
specifics to back up the claim that the UN has made its support to
troops in Mogadishu conditioned on not killing civilians.
the UN's and others' support of the Transitional Federal Government,
the UN's own Humanitarian report for June describes TFG forces
looting UN food supplies in a convoy. Inner City Press asked Bowden
about this, and about the TFG's reported shelling of a press
conference on June 29, which killed journalists.
UN's Ban & envoy Mahiga, safeguards on UN
supported troops killing civilians not shown
“indisciplined TFG forces... vying with each other.”
On the killing of journalists by the TFG, he referred to the Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, without providing any more
Republic of Congo, by contrast, when violations by the Congolese Army
forces the UN was supporting were exposed, the UN claimed to put in
place a detailed policy of conditionality, and to suspend support to
a particular unit engaged in the killing of civilians.
troops the UN is providing logical support to are killing civilians.
Where is the policy of conditionality? Are human rights protections
another casualty of the World Cup final bombings in Uganda? Watch
Footnote: Of the
last two times Inner City Press spoke with new UN Somalia envoy
Augustine Mahiga, in the first he agreed that the AMISON peacekeepers
are mis-using long range artillery and harming civilians. In the second
conversation, it was all about Al Shabab. In between? The bombing in
Kampala, claimed by Al Shabab...
* * *
Supported by UN in Somalia, UNSC Will Respond After 3
16, updated -- Days
after the UN-supported
Federal Government's use of child soldiers was widely exposed, the
Security Council's lack of seriousness on the issue was on display on
Wednesday. Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa presided over a
day-long series of speeches about children and armed conflict. At
noon, Inner City Press asked her what she and the Council would do
about their support of the TFG, which uses children as young as nine
and 12 to wield AK-47s in Mogadishu.
raised to the Security Council, Secretary Espinosa replied, not even
to the Working Group. Video here.
later, when Inner City Press asked
the UN's envoy on the issue Radhika Coomaraswamy how the TFG's use of
child soldiers could have been missed, she protected that the Council
had in fact been told of the TFG's recruitment in three straight
of the Council's debate after 7 p.m., a Mexican mission official
confirmed that yes, the Somali TFG has been formally listed for the
past three years. The most senior Mexican mission official shrugged*
that the minister had been mis-informed. [See update below, on both the shrug
and the information.]
The expose of
TFG's use of child soldiers was on the front page of the New York
Times days before the UN's day long "debate." The
representative of a Permanent Five member of the Council told Inner
City Press that the NYT story had triggered inquiries to the
capital(s), and statements ready for the press. How could the month's
Council presidency, with children and armed conflict as their chosen
thematic issue, be so unprepared?
Update: It has been explained to
Inner City Press that what Secretary Espinosa was referring to was an
upcoming Working Group session in September. Our point remains the
same: something is wrong with the Security Council when pressing
issues, involving as this one does the Council's own integrity, get
confined to slow bureaucratic processes.
But that is
hardly this month's Presidency's fault. And the senior -- senor --
diplomat, it's worth nothing, undertook a thankless trip to Eritrea and
other hotspots, in the name of Somali sanctions. The shrug* was not
disinterest but fatigue after a full day of speeches. We will continue
to follow this issue.
UNICEF's Johnson, Ms. Coomaraswamy, UN action on TFG
asked Secretary Espinosa if this didn't show that the Council is too
bound in bureaucracy to deal with egregious behavior in the
peacekeeping or political missions it creates, from Somalia to the
Congo to Haiti. These are the mechanisms, she replied. Indeed.
said that UN Envoy to Somalia Ould Abdallah had been told, UNDP had
been told. Why did Ould Abdallah say or do nothing? Why did UNDP keep