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Amid DRC Army Abuse, UN Turned Down "Some" of 8th Military Region

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 -- The UN says it has a "Human Rights Due Diligence" policy which prohibits UN support to military or presumably police forces which abuse human rights.

  But in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after more than 100 rapes in November 2012 by the Congolese Army's 41st and 391st Battalion, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused for months to answer Press questions about the rapes and the Policy, and the UN still supports those units.

So on March 5 Inner City Press cited information earlier in the day by the UN's own Mission in the Congo, MONUSCO, and asked how it related to the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy:

Inner City Press: on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), at its weekly press conference, produced some statistics about human rights violations of the UN under a Security Council resolution has been collecting; and they seem to say that 36 per cent of the violations found in the month of January were by FARDC (Congolese Armed Forces), the Congolese army. So, what I am wondering is, which units that is and if one arm of the UN is collecting this type of statistics, how this relates to this, to whatís called the human rights due diligence policy of not providing support to army units engaged in abuses. If this high a percentage is by the army, whatís the connection between the two processes?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Well, there is a connection in that the due diligence policy means that such reports from the human rights part of the Mission would be looked at and studied very carefully. I will check with my colleagues in the Mission to see if I can give you some more detail, but I donít have any at the moment.

Inner City Press: To understand the policy a little more, is it possible to know from them whether support has actually been suspended to any unit of the Congolese army since this policy was publicly announced?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I am sure my colleagues, as I have said many times before, from Peacekeeping Operations, are listening attentively right now, and will be on it.

  And while a number of other questions remain unanswered, later on March 5 this was sent to Inner City Press:

Subject: Your question on MONUSCO and human rights due diligence
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Date: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com

Regarding your question on the human rights due diligence policy and the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), we can confirm that MONUSCO has in the past refused to provide support to units of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) who have requested it, due to the human rights records of the commanding officers.

A recent example would be that some units of the 8th Military Region involved in operations against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have requested but do not receive MONUSCO support.

All FARDC units requesting support are systematically screened prior to support being provided.

  While the question about MONUSCO's recent report was not answered, it is significant that the UN says it turned down "some units of the 8th Military Region involved in operations against the Allied Democratic Forces."

  Then again, why the UN has yet to go after the Hutu FDLR militia remains unanswered.

  The new UN report that will be released under the symbol S/2014/153 on the "Implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region" does not answer this question. Amid 49 paragraphs of happy-talk, it says for example that "some 950 elements of the Police Nationale Congolaise and provincial Ministries have already redeployed to Rutshuru and Kiwanja."

  What about the FDLR? Watch this site.


 

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