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Plan Puts UN Between M23 and Goma, After Ladsous' Failure, No Answers, Rights Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 -- After the statement on the M23 mutineers issued by a meeting of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, Inner City Press asked the three top UN spokespeople for UN "comments and plans on the roles assigned to it by what was announced."

  Surprising to many, the UN's MONUSCO mission, which did nothing as the M23 took over Goma, was assigned the task of standing between the new territory taken by M23 and the city of Goma, which the statement says M23 should leave - except, paradoxically, for its airport.

   But so far the UN has had no response. This is a pattern: basic questions Inner City Press posed to the UN on November 23 are still not answered 24 hours later.

   Inner City Press asked the UN to "please describe any and all of MONUSCO's interaction with or support of elements of the Mai Mai or NYATURA so far this year."

But more than three hours later, it was Ladsous' spokesman Kieran Dwyer who purported to respond. But on this, all he said was "I am looking into this."

   In the 21 hours since, no information has been provided. Questions have had to be asked of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including that "in Minova, there have apparently been rapes and looting by FARDC units as they retreated. Has anyone from OHCHR visited Minova?"

   Inner City Press also asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople to "please specify all damage or injury to UN system staff, facilities or property in the Democratic Republic of Congo since November 20, including but not limited to in Bukavu, Bunia, Goma, Kinshasa and Kisingani."

   More than three hours later, all Dwyer responded with was, "I am looking into this." And as with the question above about Mai Mai and NYATURA, no information was provided in the 21 hours since.

   How could the Department of Peacekeeping Operations purport to have no answer to this? UN buildings have been set aflame, rocks thrown at cars, mortars reportedly fired at the MONUSCO base in Monigi. But after 24 hours,no information at all was provided.

Back on November 21, it was Kieran Dwyer who for Ladsous asked UN personnel to not give Inner City Press the microphone as its question "would MONUSCO protect Bukavu" was asked.

  Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's three spokespeople to "please state the Secretariat's position on its Department of Peacekeeping Operations' spokespeople directing staff of the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit and UN Television / audio to hold the Security Council stakeout microphone away from Inner City Press, most recently by spokesman Kieran Dwyer on November 21."

This question was paradoxically referred to Dwyer himself, and he did not purport to answer it or even claim "I am looking into it."

  There was another, entirely factual question about Herve Ladsous, to which Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office has replied only that "We do not comment on recruitment processes." We'll have more on this.

Meanwhile, Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations is issuing short statements about the "background" and mandate of MONUSCO. What about its failures? Who will be held accountable? Watch this site.

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