To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports she received of the use of UN humanitarian helicopters to transport military personnel in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; whether such transport is in accordance with the MONUSCO mandate; whether such transport is funded by her Department; and what assessment she has made of the effect of such transport on the (a) safety and (b) effectiveness of humanitarian personnel.
UN humanitarian helicopters are operated by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which transports humanitarian organisations and donor representatives in the DRC and completes airlift operations. Unless specially authorised by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator or the World Food Programme Country Director, military personnel may not be carried on UNHAS flights. No arms and ammunition are allowed on board UNHAS flights. On 23 July 2014 the Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC authorised the transport of some MONUSCO staff in UNHAS planes to small bases in the west of the DRC, in areas where no other transport options are available. MONUSCO staff can only be transported in civilian clothing, and no military equipment will be transported by UNHAS.