Friday, August 13

Blame the UN?

The UN gets blamed for a lot of things. Should the UN be blamed for the events in the Congo as well?

I worked in Bukavu for three years with MONUC, the U.N. mission in Congo. The recent fighting erupted as I was about to leave the region. For me and many of my colleagues, the fighting came as no surprise. It had become obvious that the various factions in the recently formed transitional government were more interested in lining their pockets than in rebuilding their country. Legislation on key issues such as the national army, amnesty and nationality was simply shelved for months as parliamentarians bickered over their salaries and per diems.
What the U.N. panel of experts reported had also been clear to us: that Rwanda was arming and supporting a group of dissenting officers in Bukavu. On several occasions we found arms caches in houses in Bukavu; once we surprised dissident soldiers secretly transporting weapons stolen from the national army.

Despite this knowledge, MONUC did little to prevent the violence.

Is it the job of the UN to enforce peace? Seems to me that the people of the Congo also carry some responsibility.


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