I have worked for the United Nations for most of the last three decades, says a United Nations assistant secretary general for field support until this month. I was a human rights officer in Haiti in the 1990s and served in the former Yugoslavia during the Srebrenica genocide. I helped lead the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, planned the mission to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and most recently led the Ebola mission in West Africa. I care deeply for the principles the United Nations is designed to uphold.
And that’s why I have decided to leave, he writes for the New York Times:
Look at Haiti: There has been no armed conflict for more than a decade, and yet a United Nations force of more than 4,500 remains. Meanwhile, we are failing at what should be our most important task: assisting in the creation of stable, democratic institutions. Elections have been postponed amid allegations of fraud, and the interim prime minister has said that “the country is facing serious social and economic difficulties.” The military deployment makes no contribution at all to solving these problems.
Indeed, Haiti’s democratic institutions “remain weak,” according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service.
But the thing that has upset me most is what the United Nations has done in the Central African Republic, Banbury adds:
When we took over peacekeeping responsibilities from the African Union there in 2014, we had the choice of which troops to accept. Without appropriate debate, and for cynical political reasons, a decision was made to include soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and from the Republic of Congo, despite reports of serious human rights violations by these soldiers. Since then, troops from these countries have engaged in a persistent pattern of rape and abuse of the people — often young girls — the United Nations was sent there to protect.
“Last year, peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo arrested a group of civilians, with no legal basis whatsoever, and beat them so badly that one died in custody and the other shortly after in a hospital,” he adds. “In response there was hardly a murmur, and certainly no outrage, from the responsible officials in New York.” RTWT