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As UN Refuses Comment on DRC Leaks, Minova & Airport Readiness in Text

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 -- On January 30 the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations' mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo "strongly denounced" Inner City Press for publishing a leaked e-mail reflecting UN awareness that its partners the Congolese Army work in support of the FDLR militia.

  But on January 31 when Inner City Press asked the UN in writing and then at the noon briefing to deny or confirm and comment on two more documents, UN deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey, replied "Matthew, you know for a fact we don’t comment on documents that may or may not have been leaked."

  But how then to get a denial or list of "errors" such as MONUSCO said would be provided upon request? Inner City Press asked, rhetorically it thought, "So I will publish these and they can denounce them."

   UN spokesman Del Buey said, "as always, freedom of the press; you are free to do what you like to do." Video here, from Minute 13:34.

  Today Inner City Press is publishing a document concerning preparations by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous for the "peace enforcement" force that, it's important to note, was NOT agreed to at the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa.

   The EGYBATT (Egyptian Battalion) is referred to as in charge of security at the Goma airport -- in which the M23 rebels, under the agreement reached when they pulled out of Goma, were to have had a role.
  Overall the document, and a MONUSCO Deputy Force Commander's January 28 inspection for "readiness" of Congolese Army forces on Mont Goma seem to reflect that conflict with M23 may again begin, and may explain shifting positions at the talks being held in Kampala.

  Since DPKO's Herve Ladsous has three times refused to answer Inner City Press quesitons about the 126 Congolese Army rapes in Minova in late November, it is noteworthy that Minova figues in this new document -- one in a series -- in sections 5(b) and 6(b)(3).

  It had been said that the UN would at last complete its investigation into the Minova rapes by the end of January - not least so it could implement its claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy which prohibits working with army units which commit rape of other abuses.

  But on January 31, this deadline passed; now it's said to be a Congolese investigation, with no mention of the UN's Due Diligence Policy. We'll have more on this, and on #LADSOUS2103.

  For now, here is the new document, click here. Watch this site.

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