pic jacked from newsone.com
I recently finished assisting on an academic project on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the protection of women from violence and their involvement in peacekeep and conflict prevention processes. After it's unanimous declaration in 2000 in Windhoek, Namibia, the subsequent failure to implement by member states led to a further UNSCR 1820, 1888 and 1889 being passed with the aim of safeguarding women and girls from sexual and gender based violence. Needless to say these were meaningless diplomatic hand-wringing declarations that amounted to piffle.
Even in countries where UN peacekeepers were stationed, violations of women continued unabated, Liberia and the Congo are prime examples. Even in an instance where the UN had a mandate to act as country administrator, like in Kosovo, the rights of women were not protected by UNMIK (UN Mission in Kosovo) or any of the UN Resolutions. On numerous occassions, UN peacekeepers have been found guilty of taking sexual advantage of civilians, trading food for sex or raping civilians as young as 6 particularly in the Congo, Haiti and Sudan.
The latest in the series of catastrophies is the mass rape of 150-200 Congolese women and children by rebel fighters in Kivu in a space of 4 days, just an hour away from the UN base. How did the UN fail to intervene? How did they not know? A UN official in DRC claimed that "there was no particular suggestion of an attack, much less the kind of events like the mass rape." Lies. Absolute lies. The UN was 20km away for crying out loud! In '09 UNIFEM released statistics showing that in Kivu 40 women are raped per day! And we're s'posed to believe there is no 'particular suggestion'??? The UN should admit it's failure, it's more dignified than trying to weasel one's way out of this. While the UN is not be responsbile for the barbaric rapes (yes we all know that is the work of Rwandan Hutu and Congolese rebels, for want of minerals and military conquest), the UN is responsible for failure to act on them. With a year to go before the UN peace troops pull out of Kivu, this goes down as yet another failed UN mission and proof that a complete, complete, complete (!) overhaul is needed within the UN, that experts like Thomas Weiss have been calling for, for the longest time. But instead all this will amount to is one more beautifully worded 'never again' apology to the victims of Kivu and another non-mandatory, conscience-cleansing Security Council Resolution.