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On 130 Minova Rapes & Kobler's Claim of Clarity, UN Has No Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- The UN still hasn't said how its Human Rights Due Diligency Policy applies to the 130 rapes in Minova for which only two DR Congo soldiers were convicted. Inner City Press asked again on June 9, video here.

   When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous held a press conference on May 29, Inner City Press asked him why UN Peacekeeping has yet to apply the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy after only two Congolese FARDC  soldiers were convicted for more than 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012.

  Ladsous said, "You know I do not respond to you, Mister." Video here.

   On June 7 the head of the UN's MONUSCO mission in DRC Martin Kobler put out a press release, about an attack in South Kivu, that "la MONUSCO soutient activement les FARDC" - that is, that the UN's MONUSCO is actively supporting the FARDC.

    Because Ladsous has refused to answer questions, first about the Minova rapes (video compilation here) then about how the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy applies to future support to FARDC units, the question arises: is MONUSCO "actively supporting" any of the unpunished Minova rapists?  Inner City Press asked this question.

   Kobler to his credit responded. He said, "What a nonsense Matthew, our policy on Minova is clear."  But is it?  If Kobler's boss in UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous has outright refused to answer questions about the rapes and about the policy, the policy is NOT clear.

  So at the next UN noon briefing on June 9, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: over the weekend, Mr. Kobler from MONUSCO said that the policy on the Minova rapes is clear. Maybe you agree with that, but to me, at least, it’s not clear in the sense of just what the steps are after two convictions…

Spokesman Dujarric: We’ll try to make it clear

   Nine hours after the briefing and counting, no answer, not clear.

  Has any support been suspended since only two soldiers were convicted for 130 rapes?  What is the process? Who makes the decision? How? The Free UN Coalition for Access, which has raised to senior UN official Ladsous' refusal to answer questions and his directing a spokesperson to seize the UN TV microphone to avoid questions, will stay on these transparency issues, while Inner City Press continues reporting on DRC -- and Burundi, on which Kobler also commented.

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