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UN probe finds peacekeepers in DR Congo used excessive force

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UN News - June 12, 2007

A United Nations investigation found that Bangladeshi peacekeepers operating in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) used excessive force in 2005 against detainees trying to escape from their control, a UN spokesperson said today.

Responding to journalists' questions, Michele Montas said the UN has already conducted a number of inquiries into the allegations of mistreatment, including one by the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) that reached the finding of excessive force.

She added that MONUC chief William Lacy Swing announced last week that he has also asked the UN's Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to conduct a full probe into all detainees held by the Mission's Ituri Brigade - which operated in the region of the same name in the northeast of the vast African country - in 2005.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has provided subsequent information that will be shared with the OIOS inquiry, Ms. Montas said.

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is also pressing the Bangladeshi Government to take the appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible, she stressed.

Speaking to reporters today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was extremely concerned about the mistreatment.

"As a matter of principle the peacekeepers must stand and work on the basis of the highest level of ethics and work standards," he said. "This is the ground principle of the United Nations, and I am going to closely follow this matter so that this kind of thing will not happen any more."


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