Tuesday, January 11, 2005
NY TIMES Calls for UNHCR's Lubbers to be Sacked--Finally!!
In its penutimate paragraph, the Times said:
"Sweeping changes are also needed at the United Nations
refugee agency that is responsible for protecting the
interests of some 17 million people worldwide who have been
forced from their homes by armed conflict or fear of
persecution. Not only has the current high commissioner,
Ruud Lubbers, performed uninspiringly, but his relations
with his staff have been embittered by a charge of sexual
harassment. Although an internal U.N. investigation found
some basis for these claims, the complainant withdrew
formal charges and Mr. Lubbers says he intends to finish
his term, which ends in December. He should be asked to
It is no coincidence that this call came the same day when The Independent On-Line edition published an article detailing the sexual atrocities of UN peacekeepers in the Congo. The opening paragraphs, reminding one of the sexual abuse of refugee girls in UNHCR camps in West Africa in 2002 exposed on Lubbers' watch (see our January 3rd 2005 post), are sickening:
"In the centre of a dimly-lit bar in Kinshasa, the capital of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, a paunchy middle-aged man danced with a
of Congolese prostitutes. Oblivious to the stares of onlookers, he
out of time to the insistent beat of the music and, sweating
his exertions, leaned over to fondle the girls'
scene it would almost have been commonplace - a
fool of himself for the oldest reasons of all -
were it not for
element: the man in question is alleged to
be Jacques Grinberg,
high-ranking United Nations official, the chef de
cabinet for the UN
to the DRC and the former head of civilian
affairs to the UN mission
Although Mr. Grinberg was apparently suspended for his bad dancing, he has nothing to fear--like Mr. Lubbers before him, Prince Milquetoast Annan, after seeing that Mr. Grinberg is investigated by an "independent" internal commission (now that will surely instill confidence in all you cynics out there--the criminals investating themselves!) will come to his rescue and pardon him for all his transgressions, no doubt because our Prince will use his brilliant legal intellect to determine that the charges were "not supported by the evidence", whatever that means in the Orwellian world inhabited by our Prince and his FOK's!
The Independent saves its most scathing indictment for its clothing paragraphs:
"For those who work for the UN, the protection of its reputation is
As the pressure mounts on the beleaguered secretary general,
there is much talk
of "zero tolerance" and of cracking down not just on the
troops who abuse but on
those who command them. Amid all this pressure it is
perhaps unsurprising that
an atmosphere of secrecy prevails, with few people
prepared to go on the
record for fear of jeopardising their chances of
continuing to work within the
organisation. Ms Konrad believes that
these internal problems within the
UN run so deep that they are affecting
its ability to perform as a force
within international peacekeeping. "The
misconduct of senior-level employees of
peacekeeping missions and UN
institutions is seriously undermining global
peace-keeping operations," she
Yes, the New York Times is right--Mr. Lubbers must go, but so too must Annan and the cabal that surrounds him. And only when the UN is stripped of its illegal and outdated immunities will these atrocities begin to abate.
The UN should definitely not seek advice from the US military which recently promulgated a new policy on sexual assault and harassment. Victims' rights groups promptly criticized the policy which allows the military to investigate itself (what's wrong with that Prince Milquetoast can no doubt be heard muttering):"But even as the policy changes were made public, victims' rights groups
expressed skepticism that they would work. They said that as long as the Pentagon insisted on policing and investigating itself in allegations of sexual abuse — rather than ceding to independent groups — sexual assault would continue to be pervasive in military culture.
"It will not make a difference," said Dorothy Mackay, a former Air Force officer who is executive director of Survivors Take Action Against Military Personnel, or STAAMP, a national advocacy group for military sexual assault victims. "It is nothing more than for public perception that they are doing something," Mackay said. "The Pentagon does not have the ability to change its ways. It would be like asking Saddam
Hussein to change his stripes. We can't expect the same system that's been allowing this for decades to change overnight."
Ain't it the truth--et tu, Kofi?