June 21, 2013

For Golan, UN Says Fijians Will Vet Themselves, Post-Coup Restriction Gone

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous has waved a previous restriction on using troops from post-coup Fiji.

DPKO now says it is entirely up to Fiji to vet its own troops for "violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law."

Clearly, a coup government would not deem itself to be violating such laws. So Ladsous has undermined this previous UN Peacekeeping safeguard. 

He made a similar mockery of the stated conditionality policy, by continuing to support units of the Congolese Army implicated in 135 rapes in Minova. On July 1, he is set to "blue helmet" soldiers from an army on the UN's list of child soldier recruiters. This is DPKO under Herve Ladsous.

After the coup in Fiji, the UN said it would not use Fijian peacekeepers, post-coup. Later when Inner City Press inquired how Fijians were reportedly traveling to the UNAMI mission in Iraq, UN Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq told Inner City Press that was not a new deployment, only a "rotation."

Now the UN has recruited peacekeepers from Fiji, still under Josaia Bainimarama, for its decaying mission in Golan, UNDOF. On June 17 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey if Ban had changed the policy, or determined (contrary to, for example, the Commonwealth) that  Del Buey replied that he thought the policy was only that Fijian peacekeepers would be vetted. (As noted, that was not the policy.)

Inner City Press asked if these 170 Fijian have been vetted. Del Buey said to "ask DPKO" - the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Today, just before the 3 pm Security Council meeting on the Golan mission UNDOF that the Fijians are joining, the following came in:
Subject: Your question on Fijians in UNDOF 
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org 
Date: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:36 PM 
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com 
Regarding your question on Fiji's deployment to the UN Disengagement Observer Force, we have the following to say: 
Fiji's deployment to UNDOF will be implemented in line with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations's human rights policy. It is the responsibility of the Government of the Republic of Fiji, as with all troop contributing countries, to ensure that its personnel have not been convicted of, are currently under investigation for, or being prosecuted for any criminal offence, including violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.
Fiji will vet itself; the restriction on new deployments of troops from post-coup Fiji has been removed under Ladsous. This is a DPKO in decay. Watch this site.

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