Posted by: africanpressorganization | 23 March 2010

RDC / MONUC still has a key role to play

 


 

 

 

RDC / MONUC still has a key role to play

 

 

BRUXELLES, Royaume de Belgique, March 23, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — EurAc, the European network of NGOs for Central Africa, has maintained a consistent position on MONUC (the UN Mission in the Congo). We have urged the European Union and its Member States to work towards a more effective, proactive and coherent MONUC that invests in better communication with the Congolese public and authorities. Civilians have not often felt protected by the UN force. We remain convinced that, although its performance and impact have remained well below expectations, MONUC’s presence has helped avoid implosion in eastern Congo. This is a real and substantial achievement

 

At a time when the future of MONUC is being discussed, we find that the UN has not yet completed its mission in the Congo, especially in the following areas:

 

The Umoja Wetu, Kimya 2 and Amani Leo military operations have not yet been able to put an end to the killing, rape and looting suffered by the civilian population. Following EurAC Director Kris Berwouts’s recent trip to the Kivus, we can affirm that the various armed groups are radicalising and recruiting. EurAc member organisations working in Ituri and in areas where the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) is present (Haut Uele and Bas Uele) have confirmed that the militia problem has not been resolved. MONUC’s presence remains indispensable for strengthening the rule of law and civilian protection, but only if the funding, equipment and political support required to fulfil its mandate are available.

 

Neither Congo’s transition period nor the Third Republic have seen the creation of a unified, efficient and disciplined republican army, considered to be the backbone of sustainable security in eastern Congo. A variety of international partners are currently contributing to security sector reform. MONUC not only has an important contribution to make, but also a role to play in coordination.

 

Given the destructive impact foreign militias still have in the Congo, an accelerated effort by MONUC for the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) of combatants is an absolute necessity.

 

Structural factors of the conflict, such as the militarization of mining activity and trade, continue to delay the chances of sustainable conflict resolution. It is clear today that without UN involvement this problem will not be effectively resolved.

 

The first term of the Third Republic is drawing to an end. If the 2006 election cycle is not completed by free and transparent elections at a local level, the achievements at provincial and national levels could be lost. MONUC has an important role to play in the logistical organisation and security of the elections, and could help ensure the elections are free and transparent.

 

We have always appreciated MONUC’s capacity building efforts, for example in human rights, governance and the prison system. The information service provided by Radio Okapi should be considered a commendable MONUC effort.

 

 

The European network of NGOs for Central Africa recommends that the EU and member states work within a UN framework to:

 

Formulate and communicate a strategy and timetable for MONUC’s withdrawal, giving a clear signal that the international community has no ambition to perpetuate a blue helmet presence in the DRC.

 

Define an exit strategy based on the capacity of the Third Republic’s civilian and military institutions to defend the territory, protect the population and promote the rule of law.

 

Accelerate the DDRRR programme and demilitarise the mining sector through an international UN-mandated structure, supported by a coordinated and consistent diplomatic effort.

 

Increase MONUC’s investment in capacity-building efforts in the DRC, especially through supporting the electoral process and security sector reform. In both cases it is important that international partners harmonise their interventions through a single strategic and operational plan.

 

Ensure that UN efforts respect Congo’s independence and sovereignty.

 

Concentrate the deployment of MONUC troops in conflict zones and improve communication with both the civilian population and the Congolese authorities through a more proactive presence.

 

SOURCE 

EurAc


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