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DRC Troops To Leave MINUSCA in CAR, ICP Reported, HRW No Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 19, more here -- Will the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo be leaving the Central African Republic on September 15, when the UN takes over the peacekeeping mission there, or at the end of the year?

 This army, the FARDC, committed at least 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012, the UN has been making excuses for it. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused Press questions for months, video here. There is also the issue of the FARDC being listed as a recruiter of child soldiers.

   On August 15 Inner City Press exclusively reported that the  FARDC will leave the UN Peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, at latest in January. They currently are part of the MISCA force but will not be included in its successor, MINUSCA - at least not after three and a half months.

   Multiple peacekeeping sources told Inner City Press this is has to do with the DRC Army's "abuses." That is to say, while Ladsous refused to implement the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and suspend UN support to the 391st and 41st Battalions involved in the Minova rapes, now problems in the DRC Army are excluding it from the mission in CAR.

  Ladsous' extraordinary refusal to answer Inner City Press questions, noted as far away as the UK's New Statesman, here, and evidenced on CAR as well, here, is intended to make more difficult Press reporting on UN Peacekeeping - and it does. Not impossible, however.

  While Inner City Press had known this for some time, it waited to give senior peacekeeping personnel a change to deny, or put some gloss on it. It was not denied; hence Inner City Press' exclusive August 15 report.

  On August 18, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I heard from a number of sources that FARDC, the Congolese army, DRC army, which is currently part of MISCA [African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic], will no longer be, remain with MINUSCA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic], the UN mission beginning in September, after 1 January. I was told it has to do in some way with human rights due diligence policy. And I like you to, if you can find out from [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations]

Spokesman Dujarric: I can find out.

    Video here. A day later, not answer. So Inner City Press asked Dujarric again on August 19 - and he said that MINUSCA chief Babacar Gaye will be expecting the question from the Press at 5 pm.  Video here.

  Inner City Press asked Dujarric if in Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth's meeting with Ban Ki-moon on August 18, this issue arose. Dujarric wouldn't say, not even what countries were discussed. Haiti cholera? No answer -- including from HRW's top two spokespeople. We will continue to have more on this.


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