World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


DR Congo: warning of ‘huge risk’ of new conflict

DR Congo: warning of ‘huge risk’ of new conflict, UN agencies urge greater aid

Warning that there is “a huge risk for conflict to rise again” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC), the top United Nations refugee official has called on the international community to provide greater support for the vast country’s transition to full democracy for the first time in 45 years.

“The scale of the problem, the complexity of the problem, and the nature of the problem are such that all our resources combined together won't easily solve it,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres told ambassadors from donor countries in Kinshasa, capital of a nation that is moving towards national elections in June after the most lethal fighting in the world since World War II.

A six-year war cost 4 million lives, and medical experts say a further 1,200 people are still dying needlessly every day. More than 3.4 million have been displaced from their homes and 17 million don't have a steady supply of food.

“We are morally obliged to act together. Separately, UN agencies cannot do much. Together we can really make a difference,” Mr. Guterres declared, speaking on the first day of a visit to the Great Lakes region with the heads of two of the UN's other large humanitarian agencies, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director James Morris and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

He said the unprecedented mission of the three agency heads showed their “total solidarity with this area and its people” as well as the commitment of UN agencies to co-operate more closely with each other.

The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) is not only fielding nearly 17,000 soldiers and police to help bring stability but is also engaged in the biggest and most expensive electoral process the world body has ever helped organize. Its various agencies are also involved in the full spectrum of humanitarian activities.

The three agency heads today met with DRC President Joseph Kabila for 45 minutes, discussing the need for the international community to help DRC protect its own citizens. Later today they were scheduled to travel to eastern DRC where tomorrow they plan to meet refugees returning home from camps in Tanzania with UNHCR's help.

Over 57,000 Congolese refugees have returned home since October 2004, of whom 22,000 were assisted by the UN refugee agency.

The three lamented that the DRC’s tragedy was unfolding out of the glare of television cameras, and out of the consciousness of the developed world. All three UN agencies say they are dramatically under-funded compared to the needs of the three Great Lakes countries they will visit on this trip.

After the DRC they move on to Rwanda and Burundi to underline the need to find a regional solution to conflict and displacement in the Great Lakes.

“You cannot solve the political problems of Congo if at the same time you do not address the problems of Rwandans and Burundians,” Mr. Guterres said, referring to the DRC’s two small neighbours which have also been afflicted by decades of civil war and humanitarian crises, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus by extremist Hutus, in which 800,000 people are estimated to have died.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC