The Right Coast

December 14, 2004
The UN in the Congo
By Maimon Schwarzschild

According to the NY Times piece on Africa which Tom linked to yesterday,
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 3.8 million people have died as a result of a war that began six years ago, according to an annual study published Thursday by the International Rescue Committee, a charity based in New York. Nearly half of them were children under 5, most of whom fell victim to malnutrition and other preventable diseases.

Children, here as everywhere, are always the most vulnerable. They are the ones who most need what their rulers have not been able to offer - a functioning government that provides teachers, health clinics, a clean water supply to keep them from dying of diarrhea.

[B]ut first there must be a long-term commitment to peacekeeping. In short... end the fighting and fewer children will die of hunger and disease.
United Nations peacekeeping, perhaps?

I have just received a note from a friend whose sister has been working for the UN in Africa:
She despairs of the UN program she worked in, wondering why it has not imploded entirely. MONUC -- the French acronym for the United Nations Mission in Congo -- is a disaster. The "election" the UN pretends to be supervising in Congo will certainly fail. None of the private armies or freelance killers that swarm there have been disarmed. In fact, the Congo has no infrastructure for an election even if the "process" the UN is supposed to be supervising went without a hitch.

Meantime, UN personnel, very much including UN "higher-ups", are systematically harassing, abusing, or just flat-out raping really terrifying numbers of very young women and girls. If you approach the UN hierarchs about this carnival of rape, or for that matter if you approach the national governments "contributing" to MONUC, they all say "there is nothing we can do." Maybe that toss-off line ought to be the official motto of the UN, especially where the UN's own corruption – starting with widespread child molestation on UN dollars – is concerned.
This is from an eyewitness, an aid worker herself, not a journalist, and someone with no axe to grind against the UN -- the contrary if anything.

What to say about the world media, who piously don't investigate, and who report all this mutedly or not at all?