Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sex Abuse by Peacekeepers UN-Solved Amid CSW Shindigs at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 1 -- With the UN teeming with participants in the Conference on the Status of Women, Inner City Press on Monday asked the personal representatives of the president of the Congo and of the prime minister of Morocco about UN peacekeepers charged with sexual abuse or exploitation.

"In the DRC," the Moroccan representative said, "there were accusations proven to be false." Video here, from Minute 23:30. The Congolese representative stared at her.

But even as to the Congo, when a UN peacekeeper is accused, the most that is done is to repatriate the soldier back to his home country. After that, it is never clear if there is prosecution or punishment. Inner City Press asked the Moroccan representative about the case of more than 100 Moroccan soldiers repatriated from the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, UNOCI -- where they ever prosecuted?

I am not sure, was the answer, then a reference to one person being prosecuted. The representative said that in Morocco the army and gendarmes take this seriously, the police less so. But where is the showing of what was done with the repatriated peacekeepers? The UN provide obscurantist statistics, saying the Troop Contributing Countries don't want to be exposed.

The Congolese representative said that the repatriation is the most that can be done. Inner City Press asked about charges that Joseph Kabila, whom she represented, has done too little about rapes committed by his army, particularly by the units that came in from the CNDP. Video here, from Minute 19:45. This question was not answered. On this, and other UN system sleaze in Kinshasa, we will continue to inquire this week. Watch this site.

CSW meeting in UN on March 1, accountability for UN sex abuse not shown

Footnote: the CSW as not only filled the UN cafeteria, so recently the site of an anthrax scare, but at a more elite level has given rise to a string of receptions. On Monday, the UK's Mark Lyall Grant has invited heads of CSW delegations to the UK mission, while Egypt's Maged Abdelaziz makes a similar invite to his country's Art Deco mission on 44th Street..

On Tuesday, Chile's Heraldo Munoz invites delegates and Permanent Representatives to his residence on East 57th Street. This competes with the EU reception on 72nd Street and Madison Avenue. On Wednesday March 3, Ambassador Susan Rice invites the same crowd to the U.S. Mission. Many parties, little accountability. Again, on this, and other UN system sleaze in Kinshasa, we will continue to inquire this week. Watch this site.

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