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On DPKO India's Mukerji Contrasts DRC FIB, Ambivalent S. Sudan, Defensive Golan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- When the UN Committee on Peacekeeping began on February 24, Indian Permanent Representative Asoke Mukerji asked a poignant question: "If there are casualties among the traditional peacekeepers from action by armed groups in MONUSCO, due to this ill-conceived dual mandate approved by the Security Council, who, Madam Chairperson, will be accountable?"

Mukerji was referring to the "Force Intervention Brigade" which deployed attack helicopters in Eastern Congo against the M23 (but not yet the Hutu FDLR militia), and the unanswered question about whether its inclusion inside the MONUSCO mission makes all peacekeepers there "combatants" or parties to an armed conflict for purposes of international law.

  The UN Department of Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous had refused to answer this question; Ladsous himself refuses to answer Press questions after Inner City Press reported on his statements and actions as French Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN during the Rwanda genocide in 1994, see sample document here.

  Should UN Peacekeeping be run, four times in a row now, by a country with a long colonial history in Africa, where most of the missions are? That type of question should be addressed in this C-34 committee, but isn't.

  Still, Mukerji's speech stood out, contrasting the "robust attack posture advocated in DRC, the ambivalent posture evident in South Sudan, and the defensive posture in the Golan." Ambivalent is a deft word; may the Indian peacekeepers killed in Akobo in South Sudan in December 2013 rest in peace, and have died for something, including needed reforms in UN Peacekeeping. Watch this site.


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