Wednesday, 13 January 2010

UN-Backed Troops Wreak Havoc in Africa

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From Somalia to the Congo, United Nations-supported troops and “peacekeepers” are killing, raping, and displacing civilians on an unprecedented scale, charge human-rights groups.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a civil war that has claimed over five million lives still rages. And the UN is making matters much worse. The UN-backed Congolese and Rwandan militaries have been on a mission to disarm a rebel group known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). But the results of the effort have been disastrous, according to an umbrella group of 84 organizations called the Congo Advocacy Coalition and a report commissioned by the UN itself.

"For every rebel combatant disarmed, one civilian has been killed, seven women and girls have been raped, six houses have been burned and destroyed and 900 people have been forced to flee their homes," the coalition calculated. The UN-backed operations have “resulted in an unacceptable cost for the civilian population,” the group said in a press release.

Other organizations have also blasted the actions: “The human rights and humanitarian consequences of the current military operation are simply disastrous,” explained Marcel Stoessel of Oxfam. "Some victims were tied together before their throats were, according to one witness, 'slit like chickens.' The majority of the victims were women, children, and the elderly," the organization said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), another advocacy organization, criticized the UN mission as well. "The UN peacekeepers are being put in an appalling situation where they are supporting an army that is attacking its own population," said HRW. The group called for UN forces in the Congo to "immediately cease all support to the current military operation." According to an Associated Press article, the group has documented more civilian murders by the government army and its UN sponsors than by the rebels it is purportedly fighting.

Even a UN-commissioned “Group of Experts” set up to investigate the situation has blasted the boondoggle in the Congo. As reported in an article entitled "UN peace mission fueling violence in Congo, report says" by the U.K newspaper the Guardian, “Among the most damning findings of the UN-mandated Group of Experts is the free rein given to a military commander and war crimes suspect known as ‘The Terminator.’” He is wanted by the international criminal court for allegedly forcing children to serve as his soldiers.

Now, units under his command and backed by the UN mission in the Congo have been accused by the group of experts of widespread killing, torture, rape, looting, extortion, forced labor, and mass displacement of civilians.

The report also concluded that the military actions have “not succeeded in neutralizing the FDLR, have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the Kivus and have resulted in an expansion of CNDP [the Congolese Tutsi militia National Congress for the Defence of the People] military influence in the region."

But despite the well-documented monstrosities, a spokesman for the UN mission in the Congo expressed support for the Congolese army, as quoted by the Associated Press in an article entitled "UN-Backed Congo Troops Killing, Raping Civilians."

Somalia is also hosting a UN mission and UN backed African Union and other foreign troops. And the situation is dire there as well.

“The United Nations forces in Mogadishu are indiscriminately shelling civilian populated areas and markets,” reports Ali Osman for, a Somalia-based news outlet. “In the last three months alone the United Nations forces in Mogadishu have killed more than 160 civilians and have injured more than 400,” Osman wrote, adding that these figures were a conservative estimate since many victims are never even taken to the hospital or reported.

In an Online Journal article entitled "The UN in Somalia: Peacekeepers or peacekillers?" contributor Thomas Mountain reports from nearby Eritrea that the UN, via its “proxies” in the African Union, is supporting the random bombing of civilian neighborhoods. “It would seem that the UN/AU forces are little more than hired thugs doing the dirty work on the behalf of the USA and its European allies whose main goal is to see Somalia in a state of continued conflict and chaos,” he concludes.

The notion that American taxpayers should finance the UN and by extension these atrocities is simply unacceptable. The mission in the Congo, for example, is costing billions of dollars and doing far more harm than good. The United States should promptly withdraw funding and its membership from the UN once and for all. The world may not immediately become perfect, but at least Americans will not be financing the massacres of African civilians under the guise of “peace keeping.” Does anyone remember Katanga?

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