By Deng Mangok Ayuel, Jonglei, South Sudan, SEP/06/2016, SSN;
The United Nations has dispatched numbers of peacekeeping forces to Africa for years, deploying soldiers to trouble spots countries such as the DRC, Central African Republic, Darfur and South Sudan. Yet the “blue helmets” or the “men in white mercenaries” as known to South Sudanese have failed to prevent fresh wrinkles of violence in Africa.
The recent clashed in July, 2016, between government and Dr Machar’s forces in Juba, South Sudan, couldn’t surprise the AU and the UNSC because “the Compromised Peace Agreement” mediated by IGAD-plus has terrible errors.
The UNMISS has been in the country for years but contributed less than expected. In 2013, the war broke out in South Sudan but UN couldn’t do anything to minimize rape, killing of civilians or provide enough food for the IDPs in the camps where some of the civilians had starved and others grabbed near UNMISS’ house in Malakal and killed while UN peacekeeping forces kept watching to tell the stories. The mission is not mandated to involve in local affairs but there is a need for peacekeeping forces to be signally alert and watchfully enforcing as protection forces.
The United Nations is mesh-meddling in local affairs. Former head of UNMISS in the country, Hilde Johnson was perceived by critics, citizens and observers as an agent of regime change in South Sudan. However, Ms Johnson was accused of supporting Dr Machar after the rebel leader was flown to Bor from Juba by UN helicopter.
The same UN had recently air-lifted Dr Machar from South Sudan-Congo border, together with sanctioned rebel commander, Simon Gatwich Dual to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Is it right for UN to air-lift a sanctioned military commander with its helicopter? What is the so-called sanction by khawaja?
The UNMISS puts itself in a confused situation in order to become part of confusion for more donations in the west. The mission is also marred by confused international staff and chauvinists with western conflicting interests. Mr Ban Ki-Moon, why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Here are the countries UN had failed to do its mandated job in Africa:
In 2003, a conflict erupted in Sudan’s Darfur, as various militia groups criticized and attacked the government for oppressing non-Arabs. Early in the war, rebel forces defeated the Sudanese military in more than thirty battles. Seeing that defeat was looming, the government funded the Janjaweed, a group of Arab militants. By 2005, the Janjaweed carried out attacks on populated villages using artillery and helicopters, prompting condemnation by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Despite this condemnation, the UN did not enter into Sudan, instead urging members of the African Union to intervene. Despite overwhelming evidence of the Sudanese government’s direct and indirect participation in the killings of civilians, and its repeated failure to disarm the Janjaweed militia, the Security Council’s response fell far short of what is needed to end the atrocities in Darfur. The war fulminated continuously for years.
President Omer el-Bashir was indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity but wasn’t taken to the court because regional actors and UN are toothless. The UNMID has been in Darfur for years but peace couldn’t be realized. Only God can bring change and peace in Sudan, not United Nations.
Peter Takirambudde, executive director, Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division once said, “The UN Security Council’s new resolution on Sudan fails to provide protection for endangered civilians in the country’s western Darfur region. The Security Council will be judged harshly by history.”
The Rwandan genocide in 1994 details the gross inability of the United Nations to carry out its sworn duty to maintain peace and security. Following the Rwandan Civil War in the early 1990s, tensions between two ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsis were high. And in 1993, UN peacekeeping forces entered the nation, attempted to secure the capital to enable humanitarian aid operations.
In January, 1994, a cable was sent from the Canadian Force Commander to the UN headquarters detailing the imminent threat of genocide by Hutu masses on Tutsi minorities. The Security Council never received the cable, and the notice was largely ignored. Following the killing of eighteen American servicemen in the Battle of Mogadishu, the United States was largely unwilling to help in any intervention.
The most shocking in this series of events is the desertion of a school by Belgian peacekeepers after ten soldiers were murdered. Thousands of people had flocked to the school for UN protection, and roaming gangs of Hutu supporters killed nearly all of them. At least, a million Rwandans were killed in the genocide, amounting to twenty per cent of the population. The UN was there in Kigali.
The UN peacekeeping forces were used in Somali for humanitarian interventions purposes. However, the peacekeepers were met with a hostile reception in Mogadishu. Several of them were killed and the bodies of dead US soldiers were paraded on the streets by the Somali warlords. When an American Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in the Battle of Mogadishu, the US withdrew its troops. In 1995 the UN withdrew all peacekeeping troops in Somali. It was described at the time by one UN official as “the greatest failure of the UN in our lifetime.”
The charter of the United Nations is to ensure world peace, but this mandate is being sorely tested in Congo, where the organization has 10,800 peacekeepers and has done nothing to protect the civilians and their wealth in a country full of diamonds and gold.
The United Nations Mission in Congo, known by its French acronym MONUC, embodies the failure and all the contradictions that have characterized the organization worldwide in the last decade. In eastern Congo, where rape and insecurity are the daily lot of hopeless civilians, the mission has, in fact, become the symbol of impunity. The UNMISS forces are part of the hot love in DRC, no wonder.
The UN troops were sent to DRC in 1999, in the midst of a civil war that killed more than 3.3 million people. The war drew in many of Congo’s neighbours, including Uganda and Rwanda. The MONUC has been in DRC and will still be there tomorrow and the Congolese shall keep suffering and suffering for more years.
A report by group of lawyers in CAR has condemned the UN for failing to respond to allegations of child abuse against peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR). The independent investigation released on Thursday, May, 2014 said the UN handling of the case was “seriously flawed”, accusing it of not taking the required action after the alleged abuse of young boys by French soldiers. The end result was a gross institutional failure to respond to the allegations in a meaningful way.
Those on the investigative panel, chaired by Jean Eric, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of CAR, condemned the organisation for passing responsibility to those who tackled allegedly abuse from “desk to desk and inbox to inbox”, with no one willing to take responsibility for the allegations.
The allegations of abuse were brought forward by 10 children and allegedly took place in a centre for displaced people near Bangui airport between December 2013 and June 2014. The children, who were as young as six, reportedly approached French soldiers looking for food and were told by the troops to perform sex acts in exchange.
Deng Mangok Ayuel is a humanitarian worker, freelance writer and South Sudanese blogger. He currently lives in Jonglei State and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.