I have never had much respect for the United Nations, and for some of its agencies, like the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), I have absolutely none. The UNSC, in charge of maintaining peace and security around the world through its peacekeeping missions is a huge joke. Too often they have sat around doing nothing, and allowed major tragedies to occur. Of course, a lot of that is/was dependent upon the head of the U.N. at the time, but it’s still no excuse for the uselessness of that organization as a whole.
Remember the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda? The blue hats (as the peacekeepers are sometimes called) had ample opportunity to save many lives, but just sat around doing nothing. Same thing happened in Bosnia, when Bosnian Muslims were massacred during the Bosnian war, and peacekeepers did nothing to prevent the mass killings at Srebrenica. Of course, all these inexcusable tragedies happened on the watch of the then-head of the U.N. Kofi Annan, who was also responsible for some other major improprieties, like the Iraqi “oil-for-food” scandal.
Now the latest scandal involving the peacekeepers has surfaced with the news that men, women and children, at least 500 of them, were systematically raped in the Congo over a six week period while the peacekeepers did nothing to prevent it.
Aid workers who reached a village captured by rebels in late July found that 242 women and children had been raped in the course of four days.
A unit of two dozen armed UN peacekeepers stationed less than 20 miles away did nothing to stop the assaults.
“While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the state, its national army and police force, clearly we have also failed,” Mr Khare, assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping, said after returning from a trip to eastern Congo.
“Our actions were not adequate, resulting in unacceptable brutalisation of the population of the villages in the area. We must do better.”
We must do better? This has been an ongoing problem for decades. The U.N. needs a major overhaul of its rules of engagement with regards to its peacekeeping missions and those who participate in them. You are not keeping the peace and providing security if you just sit there and do nothing.
And, as usual, there is a major lack of communication between UN officials or they’re lying to save their butts from well-deserved criticism.
The UN had earlier said that it was not aware of the most recent attacks until after Congolese and Rwandan rebels had left Luvungi town, despite running at least one patrol there while the attacks were ongoing.
But emails reportedly sent between the UN’s humanitarian office, other UN agencies and aid organisations allegedly alerted officials to the rebel takeover, and of at least one rape.
Ban Ki-moon expressed his “outrage” at the attacks and dispatched Mr Khare to investigate last week.
During his visit, the chief peacekeeper found reports of the mass rape or sexual violence against at least another 267 people, including men and children.
Not only are they useless, peacekeepers have often been responsible for atrocities themselves against those they are there to supposedly protect.
We have the sex scandals involving those stationed in countries around the world who have taken advantage of men and women, including minors, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haiti. Although the peacekeepers are made up of individuals from every member nation it is still part of the U.N.
I really don’t have much hope for change in that organization, and for all intents and purposes, people are no better off with them in their countries than they are without.