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At UN, Bachelet Admits Walikale Warning Signs, Cites Cell Phones, Bangura

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- Amid a mass rape scandal in Walikale in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010, response was slow from the UN peacekeepers in the MONUSCO mission led by Roger Meece, and from then envoy on Sexual Violence Margot Wallstrom.

 Afterward the UN pledged to do better, including using and distributing mobile communications.

  On Tuesday at the UN, Inner City Press asked the head of UN Women Michelle Bachelet what has in fact been done. She said that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is "working to provide mobile phones" and "trying develop early warning signs" or signals.

  To her credit, she admitted that as to Walikale, "there were warning signs, we need to work on that." There is a new envoy on Sexual Violence and Conflict, Zaibab Bangura, Wallstrom having returned as predicted to Sweden.

  Some were pushing to merge the mandate of Sexual Violence and Conflict into that on Children and Armed Conflict, now taken over by Meece's deputy Leila Zerrougui. But that was fought off. Can the UN, particularly its Peacekeeping unit headed by the less than communicative Herve Ladsous, now do better than a Walikale? We'll see. Watch this site.

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