Conflict & Justice

UN peacekeeper investigation

(Your report took 18 months to complete, can you explain your findings?) Well in essence Pakistan and India are the two troop-contributing countries in Eastern Congo, areas where there are huge amounts of minerals and wealth in timber. These two countries first arrived and established some order, but then became interested in the gold and resources and they then discovered the militias were the ones who controlled these resources. The militias are notorious for being involved in every human rights abuse. So the peacekeepers got involved with some terrible people. And then when difficulties came, they provided them with weapons in exchange for the minerals. (What is behind this? Is it about money?) It's greed. These are countries that are not well enough, neither the Indians or Pakistanis are paid all that well. (The head of the UN's operations in Congo has said there may be misconduct but it can't be said of the whole UN operation.) And I would agree with that, but the real problem lies with the UN investigation system which is broken. The investigation talks about no management leadership, and it hardly gives any confidence that control can be exerted through the UN over these troops. Britain and America do not supply many troops to the UN, the UN relies mainly on troops from third world countries and most of them are poor and vulnerable to temptation. (It's also a matter of culture with the UN which doesn't like to admit errors.) Exactly. We also came across endemic corruption in other bureaus in the UN and third world countries don't like to investigate this and give their missions a bad name.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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