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On Minova Rapes by Congo Army, UN Says Can't Access, But UNICEF's There

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 3 -- The number of rapes in Minova in the Democratic Republic of Congo while the Congolese Army FARDC retreated there in late November is now reported to be closer to 100 than the 21 the UN first reported.

  But still the UN refuses to provide information on which its knowledge of which regiments of the FARDC were present in Minova during the rapes.

  It is important that the UN's knowledge be disclosed, including in light of the UN's supported Human Rights Due Diligence Policy prohibiting it from working with those engaged in violations like rape.

  Inner City Press asked UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous again on November 30 if his Department DPKO will disclose which units were in Minova. This he did not answer.

  Over the weekend, Inner City Press asked the UN in writing to "please state which FARDC regiments MONUSCO has worked with / supported this year."

  That list, of units the UN works with, should be publicly and easily available. But it has still not been provided.

  And so on December 3 at the UN's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked again about Minova and MONUSCO.

  Spokesman Martin Nesirky replied that there is "a human rights component within the Mission. As I think you have been told, those people who carry out that kind of work have not been able to gain the access that they need because of the security situation on the ground. As soon as they are able to do so, they will conduct the investigation that is necessary. So at this point, we cannot say with any certainty who precisely was involved. We are aware of the reports and need to investigate them in the usual manner that these incidents are investigated and then report back. Once we have information we will be able to provide that."

  With all due respect, it seems strange for DPKO to claim that this MONUSCO component has not been able to gain access to Minova when the UN Children's agency UNICEF not only delivered 200 doses of post-exposure treatment to the hospital in Minova - it now says online that "UNICEF RRMP partners will begin registration to distribute NFI kits for the 784 families in the public buildings and sites in Minova on 5 December."

   So UNICEF accessed Minova on November 26, and will be there on December 5, and heavily armed MONUSCO can't? Watch this site.

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