Monday, December 04, 2006

The United Nations: worse than you think

The following are excerpts from a book called, “The Beast on the East River” by Nathan Tabor.

"Reports of brutal sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers have surfaced periodically for more than a decade. But these charges have rarely been investigated thoroughly and exposed to the light of public scrutiny. That veil of secrecy and denial began to lift in May 2004, when major media sources first began to publish reports of alleged UN corruption and sexual scandal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

"Those charges included the rape and sexual abuse of Congolese women in certain UN refugee camps staffed by UN soldiers and civilian employees. The UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) employs a large civilian staff, as well as about 10,800 peacekeeper soldiers from fifty countries. Fighting continues in war-torn Central Africa, despite a peace treaty signed in 2002, and the International Rescue Committee has estimated that the combination of war, famine, and disease kills thirty-one thousand civilians each month."

"The specific allegations, as reported by the Independent (London), initially centered around the sexual abuse of teenage girls who lived at the Internally Displaced People camp in Bunia, in the northeastern Congo, home to about sixteen thousand refugees. Many of these girls, some as young as thirteen, had already been the victims of multiple rapes by the various roving militia groups that had terrorized the region during the preceding six-year conflict commonly known as “Africa’s world war.” These militias regularly used rape and sexual violence as weapons of warfare."

"Desperate for food, both for themselves and in some cases for the babies they had birthed after being raped, each night these young girls would crawl under the wire fences that separated their compound from the UN soldiers’ barracks, where they would sell their shrunken juvenile bodies for as little as two eggs, a banana, or a cake. Their willing but often brutal customers were usually the UN peacekeepers from Morocco or Uruguay."

"By November 2004, the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services had issued a confidential report that said its own “investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of local Congolese women and girls found that the problem was serious and ongoing.” Eventually more than fifty UN civilian staffers and peacekeeper soldiers in the Congo were charged with 150 separate crimes, the most serious being pedophilia, prostitution, and rape at gunpoint."

"At the remote Kisangani outpost on the Congo River, UN staffers from Morocco were found to have impregnated eighty-two local women and girls, and Uruguayan staffers fifty-nine more. Women there had given birth to hundreds of illegitimate children fathered by the UN peacekeepers. One soldier charged with rape was hidden in the barracks for more than a year. Major-General Jean Pierre Ondekane, a rebel commander who later became Minister of Defense in the postwar Congolese government, told a top UN official in July 2002 that the only thing the UN peacekeepers at Kisangani would be remembered for was “running after little girls."

"Kathryn Bolkovac was a former Lincoln, Nebraska, policewoman who worked for UN security in Bosnia as an employee of the American security company DynCorp. As part of her job, Bolkovac uncovered massive sex corruption, human trafficking, and prostitution rings in which UN officials and policemen were active participants. Girls as young as fifteen were sold into sex slavery to bar owners, where they were forced to dance naked and perform sex acts for their owners and bar customers. If they refused, they were locked up, starved, beaten, and raped."

"In 1990, Boutros Boutros-Ghali was Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs. Part of his job was to sell weapons, and in that capacity he approved an initial $5.8 million arms deal with Rwanda. That sale opened the door to others, so that between 1990 and 1992, Cairo shipped $26 million worth of ammunition, grenades, rocket launchers, and mortar bombs to Rwanda. It was those arms that the Hutus later used to crush the Tutsis.18 When the wholesale slaughter began in 1994, Boutros-Ghali had moved up in the world—he was now the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The head of the UN’s peacekeeping operations at that time was none other than Kofi Annan."

"The UN Force Commander in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, sent an urgent fax to Annan requesting permission to defend the helpless Tutsi refugees who were flooding into UN compounds seeking safety and protection. Annan’s fax back to Dallaire ordered him to defend only the UN’s image of impartiality and forbade him to protect the desperate Tutsis. Boutros-Ghali refused to intervene. Later the UN troops were withdrawn completely from the scene of the carnage, leaving behind up to 800,000 hapless Tutsis, many of them bludgeoned to death with clubs or hacked into pieces with machetes by the bloodthirsty rampaging Hutus. The world watched for weeks as the bloodbath continued unchecked."

Please read the rest at “The Beast on the East River.”

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