George Clooney Calls For End To DR Congo Conflict
UN Advocate George Clooney Calls For Greater Efforts To End DR Congo Conflict
New York, Oct 30 2008 4:10PM
United Nations Messenger of Peace and award-winning actor George Clooney has called on the international community to step up its efforts to resolve the worsening conflict currently engulfing the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“The recent events in [DR] Congo are deeply concerning, as is the international community’s failure to engage in sustained, robust diplomacy to address the deadly and deteriorating conflict,” Mr. Clooney said in comments last night to the wire agency Associated Press.
“In the absence of sustained attempts at peacemaking, United Nations peacekeepers have, once again, been thrust into the lead.”
The UN peacekeeping operation in the DRC, known as MONUC, has been working to protect civilians caught up in the deadly fighting in recent days between Congolese armed forces (known as the FARDC) and the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), a militia led by a former general.
As many as 250,000 Congolese have been left homeless since August because of the fighting, which is centred on North Kivu province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have condemned the violence, and MONUC chief Alan Doss has called on the international community to increase its support of the mission, including by providing more capacity on the ground.
While ensuring the safety of civilians is “the number one priority” of MONUC, Mr. Doss told reporters earlier this week, “there are limits to what we can do with what we have.”
Mr. Clooney, who since January has been a Messenger of Peace with a special focus on UN peacekeeping, recalled visiting MONUC earlier this year.
“We were in Congo and met with the Indian Kivu brigade in January. We saw the incredibly important and tough work they are doing every day.”
He added that the DRC “is the site of the deadliest war since the Holocaust. It is time for the world to pay attention.”