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As US Envoy, What'll Feingold Do on DRC Army's Minova Rapes, UN Inaction?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 -- Amid advocates' congratulations and advice for Russ Feingold as US President Barack Obama named him US envoy to the Great Lakes yesterday, several issues were missing.

  While there was much urging of Feingold to focus on external support to the M23, little was said of the Congolese Army's UN-enabled abuses, such as the mass rape of 135 women and girls at Minova in November 2012.

  The US is the largest single funder of the UN, but has done little as UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous first stonewalled about the rapes for four months (click here for Inner City Press video compilation), then failed to follow through on the UN's stated conditionality or Human Rights Due Diligence policy.

  In fact, one of the two FARDC units implicated, the 391st Battalion, was US trained. This is an issue that Feingold should work on very quickly. It will be something of a litmus test.

  Meanwhile, Inner City Press on June 18 asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey to comment on the DRC government of Joseph Kabila ending talks with M23 in Kampala, and if sending an "Intervention Brigade" led by Tanzania whose president has said Rwanda should negotiate with the historically genocidal FDLR militia has not, in fact, made things worse.

Del Buey said he would check with Mary Robinson, who as Inner City Press first reported is based in Dublin. Where will Feingold be based? What will he do about the Minova rapes and the UN's failure to follow through? Watch this site.

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