Rapes, UN Stalled By Fear of Equipment Theft, Wallstrom's
Not on Haiti
November 9 -- In the wake of the scandal of UN peacekeepers'
inaction in Eastern Congo as hundreds of women were raped 20
kilometers from the base of the UN's MONUSCO mission, it was
announced that communications for the villagers would be improved, so
they could call for her.
Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Representative on Sexual
Violence in Conflict Margot Wallstrom for an update. Ms. Wallstrom
said that MONUSCO has “bought the equipment” but is now trying to
figure out “how to deploy it without exposing [the villagers] to
said, is expensive, and rebels and presumably others may want to
steal it. It seems this should have been thought out, and that some
improvement should actually have been in place on the ground by now.
described some new “tricks,” as she called them, such as changing
battalions in such a way that the troops that are being rotated out
remain there for a while, to give the impression of double strength.
the new round of
rapes on the Congolese border with Angola, Wallstrom said an
investigation is being conducted, that “MONUSCO has to decide where
to have troops.”
about the UN disciplining its peacekeepers for sexual abuse or
exploitation. She said it is up to the troop contributing countries
and that “the UN's capacity to follow up is limited.”
But the UN
chooses to not even report which countries discipline their
repatriated peacekeepers, much less condition future service and
payments on a country imposing discipline where necessary.
asked about rapes in the camps in Haiti and what the UN or
Wallstrom's office is doing. She said that the number of rapes in
Haiti was “high before” the earthquake, and that many of the IDP
camps were “spontaneous” and so “unprotected.”
that Haiti is not on her work list, she looked into whether it
would be helpful, where her office can bring “added value” -- not
Haiti, apparently. Nor did she even once mention Myanmar, where rape
is without question used as a tool of war.
Ms. Wallstrom and UNU's Coicaud, UN reform in question
the audience at
the UN University event were at least two Swedes. One loudly
congratulated Wallstrom; the other asked about her two year mandate.
Wallstrom said pointedly that she would stay for the two years.
Earlier during the election, there was talk of her decamping for a
post if her party won. But it did not. And now she is in, soon to
visit Bosnia and troop contributing countries. The issue is
important, and so we wish her luck.
other rumors of revolving doors, now people are saying that the
only recently installed head of UNESCO Irina Bokova is considering
running for office back in Bulgaria. A high UN official told Inner
City Press on November 9 that Bokova could probably not have run if
she'd remained an ambassador, but by stepping out into the UN system,
she could return. The UN is being used, she said.
* * *
Election, UN Is Silent on Observers, War Crimes,
6 -- In the run up to Myanmar's military dominated
election, the degree of capitulation by the UN and Western permanent
members of the Security Council became painfully clear.
General Ban Ki-moon, who declined to even mention the recommendation
of UN Special Rapporteur Quintana for a war crimes investigation in
his “Report on Human Rights in Myanmar,” said that he “expects”
the election to be free and fair.
appointed a more than
interim replacement to fill the General Assembly mandated Good
Offices on Myanmar post, and he has allowed its staff time to be
reallocated within the UN Department of Political Affairs.
Council met on November 5, and afterwards the Permanent
Representatives of France and the UK came out to speak to the press.
Neither mentioned Myanmar; the UK did not even take questions.
president of the Council this month and makes much of “getting
Myanmar in the footnotes of the program of work.” But why wait
until after a scam election to have a meeting about it?
Development Program, meanwhile, two days before the election released a
Development Report stating that Myanmar jumped up six places in global
development between 2005 and 2010. Even UNDP affiliated economist
Amartya Sen, when questioned by Inner City Press, said the Myanmar data
(and UNDP's report on it) are not credible.
hit Myanmar, Inner City Press asked if the UN thought the election
should be postponed or modified in the hardest hit areas. We have to
do an assessment first, was the answer. Since then, nothing has been
UN's Ban greets Than Shwe, election observers
or human rights recommendations not seen
briefing on November 5, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman
I have some Sudan questions, but I wanted to ask about
Myanmar first because of the upcoming election on Sunday. It’s
been reported that the Government there is extending an invitation to
diplomats and UN representatives to tour polling stations on Sunday.
It’s also… that some diplomats have said that they won’t go on
the tour, but will make their own arrangements to make some
observation. I wanted to know, since the Government there forbid
outside election observers, but said it would ask the diplomatic
community, including the UN, to do it, what’s the UN intending to
do on election day in Myanmar?
me find out.
hopefully before the day, is that possible?
wouldn’t be a bad idea, yeah. Okay?
later, right before the polling began, still no answer from the UN.
Watch this site.
Update: 40 hours
more later, this
-- with no description of what the UN did during the polling, and no mention of the reported 90
day state of emergency...
* * *