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ICP Asks IOM Swing of Australia's Manus & Cambodia, Rohingya & FDLR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- When International Organization for Migration director William Lacy Swing took questions at the UN on International Migrants Day, December 18, Inner City Press asked him about IOM's work for Australia, in Manus Island, Nauru and prospectively in Cambodia -- and also with Bangladesh about or on the Rohingya.

Swing insisted that IOM is not involved in involuntary repatriations, but that once the deed is done, they will assist. Inner City Press asked, doesn't they enable and embolden countries to violate international refugee and humanitarian law?

Innner City Press pointed out that in Manus, there were riots in February that killed at least one asylum seeker from Iran, Reza Barati ; the private military contractor G4S was involved in the violence in Manus.

Now Australia wants to use Cambodia, and IOM is scoping it out. Swing told Inner City Press that no final decision has been made. We'll continue to follow this.

Inner City Press also asked Swing, who previously headed the UN peacekeeping mission in the DR Congo when it was called MONUC, to comment on the continued existence of the Hutu FDLR militia, with deadlines for “neutralization” repeatedly put back, now to January 2.

Swing declined to comment on the Congo. Previously, Inner City Press asked him about UN Peacekeepers there using old ammunition, to the detriment (to be diplomatic) of the Congolese. Things have gotten worse with the UN in the Congo, under peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, video compilation here.

But the UN podium is not one from which Ladsous will be held to account. In fact, yesterday Ban Ki-moon was clearly given questions in advance for his “press conference.” Inner City Press, just before Swing's appearance, asked spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it - that's another story, watch this site.


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