THEY Should Lead in Iraq????

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Annie, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I think not!


    DR Congo's shameful sex secret
    By Kate Holt
    Eyevine photo agency

    Please note that the names of the girls interviewed have been changed to protect their identities.


    Faela is 13 and her son Joseph is just under six months old.


    Sitting on the dusty ground in Bunia's largest camp for Internationally Displaced People (IDP), with Joseph in her arms, she talks about how she ensures that she and her son are fed.
    "If I go and see the soldiers at night and sleep with them then they sometimes give me food, maybe a banana or a cake," she explains.

    "I have to do it with them because there is nobody to care, nobody else to protect Joseph except me. He is all I have and I must look after him."

    Lawlessness

    It is a story that might not sound out of place in any part of the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo but for one thing, the soldiers Faela is talking about are not the rebel groups who devastated Ituri Province, in north-eastern DR Congo, during the last four-and-a-half years of conflict.


    Every night the soldiers would come to our hut and make my sisters and I do it with them
    Faela, Bunia camp resident
    They are part of the UN peacekeeping force, Monuc, and are stationed next to the IDP camp in Bunia on UN orders.

    Once a thriving trade town, these days Bunia increasingly resembles a frontier town from the Wild West. Its businesses are boarded up, and buildings are half derelict.

    The streets are heavily patrolled and everyone scurries home at the first sign of dusk. Gunfire can be heard nightly, usually between Monuc soldiers and local militia groups.

    Nightly rapes

    It is in this semi-lawless situation that Bunia's IDP camp sprang to life - row upon row of tents, housing 15,000 people, who gathered there seeking UN protection.

    "I came to this camp nearly six months ago when the fighting got bad in our village," Faela explains.


    "Every night the [Congolese militia] soldiers would come to our hut and make my sisters and I do it with them. We had no choice. If we said 'No' then they would hurt us.

    "Sometimes they put their guns against my chest and sometimes between my legs. I was really scared."

    Scared indeed, scared enough to leave the village where she had been born and begin the long walk through the jungle to the IDP camp, knowing she was pregnant by one of the fighters who raped her.

    "I had Joseph in the forest," Faela says. "My father cannot help me any more - he is ashamed of me because I had this baby when I am not married."

    Faela expected to be safe in the IDP camp, instead she discovered that the shame her father felt had followed her, and in the camp she was shunned and refused food.

    Common problem

    Faced with starvation and worried for her son, Faela, along with other girls in a similar predicament, turned to the Uruguayan and Moroccan Monuc soldiers stationed directly across from the camp.

    "It is easy for us to get to the UN soldiers," Faela explains. "We climb through the fence when it is dark, sometimes once a night, sometimes more."


    Nor is Faela the only girl to tell such a story. During a five-day stay in the camp over 30 girls were interviewed, half of whom admitted to crossing the boundary into the UN.

    They say that they too are unmarried with children and must seek help where they can.

    "It is hard to get food sometimes, if you don't have a husband or someone to fight for you," says 15-year-old Maria.

    "The UN soldiers help girls like me, they give us food and things if we go with them."

    Lack of evidence

    Dominique McAdams, the head of the UN in Bunia, admitted that there was a problem.

    "I have heard rumours on this issue," she said. "It is pretty clear to me that sexual violence is taking place in the camp."

    Ms McAdams is not the only member of Monuc to be concerned about the behaviour of their soldiers in Bunia.

    Last month the UN announced that it would launch a full investigation into abuse within the camp.


    Yet the gap between the intention to investigate and the reality of that investigation in Bunia remains large.

    "I have requested evidence and proof on this matter, but I have not received anything from anyone," Ms McAdams said.

    UN spokesman in New York, Fred Eckhard said:

    "Monuc is committed to completing a full and thorough investigation into [events at the camp] as a matter of urgency. We will apply all available sanctions against any personnel found responsible."

    Part of the difficulty faced by the UN is that the girls involved refuse to give evidence against the soldiers.

    Extreme sexual violence has been an integral part of the war throughout eastern DR Congo and the girls are terrified of all military, foreign and local officials, making any formal investigation extremely difficult.


    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/3769469.stm

    Published: 2004/06/03 04:48:34 GMT

    © BBC MMIV
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    And it just gets worse:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200406040999.html




    Looting Paralyzes Food Distribution in DR of Congo - UN

    UN News Service (New York)
    NEWS
    June 4, 2004
    Posted to the web June 4, 2004


    The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for an end to the looting that has forced it to suspend food distribution across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), while the UN peacekeeping mission in the eastern city of Bukavu estimated that the withdrawal of rebel troops from the university town was not yet significant.

    "We have just been through the worst situation, with our staff and offices coming under attack in Kinshasa, Kalemie, Lubumbashi and Kisangani," said Felix Bamezon, WFP Representative and Country Director for the DRC. "We need security to continue our life-saving work."

    WFP has been providing 150,000 people in South Kivu province with 3,500 tonnes of food a month through nutritional centres and hospitals, as well as to food-for-work and other programmes.

    Thousands of Congolese attacked UN offices and peacekeeping bases yesterday, angry that fewer than 1,000 UN peacekeepers were unable to prevent 2,000 to 4,000 rebels from seizing Bukavu, South Kivu's provincial capital, on Wednesday. The DRC's military in Bukavu unexpectedly collapsed, the chief of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations said.

    Fifteen DRC nationals working for WFP remained in the city, most of them hiding with their families for a second day.

    The last two WFP international staff members in Bukavu were taken yesterday by a helicopter owned by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to the north-eastern city of Goma.

    Before his evacuation to Goma, the head of WFP's office in Bukavu, Ndeley Agbaw, said civilians looted two barges loaded with 270 tonnes of food aid on Wednesday. The homes of WFP staff were also ransacked.

    In an indication of the confusion surrounding events, he said he had visited a nearby WFP warehouse which, contrary to an earlier report, had not been looted.

    In the eastern town of Kalemie, a WFP warehouse containing 1,000 tonnes of food was looted, as was the WFP office. One WFP international staff member there was placed under MONUC protection and was later relocated to the south-eastern city of Lubumbashi.

    In Lubumbashi, stone-throwing protesters smashed the windows of an office used by WFP and other UN agencies, Mr. Bamezon said.

    He added that in the north-eastern city of Kisangani, WFP staff members were told to stay at home for their safety. There a mob burned down the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office and smashed shop windows.

    Earlier this week the UN Security Council condemned "the incitement of hatred, especially against members of the local community, in particular those aimed at the Banyamulenge," or Congolese Tutsis.

    More than 2,000 Banyamulenge from the Bukavu area fled into neighbouring Rwanda over the past couple of weeks, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which has been taking care of them.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Copyright © 2004 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  3. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Im tired of the UN getting a pass through all these scandals and us getting scrutinized for everything we do. We could do everything out in the open, and still have people try to turn it into a scandal while the UN could hide and be as corrupt as they want and they would be ignored. its rather sad.
     
  4. menewa
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    menewa Member

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    This is a horrible story indeed.

    I wish the press corps in the U.S. spent more time and money on serious global issues like this.

    It's a shame that we have to search through European news outlets to learn many of the brutal truths occuring on this decaying planet.

    Avatar4321 did make a good point. Who tries the UN when it's members commit atrocities like this?
     
  5. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    Ultimately, the UN can't be held accountable by anyone government. There in lies the problem. I feel that the UN is an ancient relic from the Communist days. Like the League of Nations, its time has passed and a new World Organization must be created. One that actually does something rather than get tied down in bueracracy.
     

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