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

 

Time To Act In DR Congo Is Now

Time To Act In DR Congo Is Now, Says UN Peacekeeping Chief

With a "humanitarian tragedy" unfolding in the war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it is imperative that action be taken immediately to protect the population and bring an end to the fighting, the top United Nations peacekeeping official said today.

Escalating conflict between Government forces (FARDC) and a rebel group militia known as the National Congress in Defense of the People (CNDP) has uprooted an estimated 250,000 people since late August, mainly in North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda and Uganda.

Other armed groups, including the Mayi Mayi, have also been involved in deadly clashes, some of which have been along ethnic lines.

"The situation in the Congo highlights the dilemma, and limits, of peacekeepers caught in ongoing conflict," Alan Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, wrote in an Op-Ed in The Washington Times.

The UN mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, is the Organization's largest, with 17,000 personnel.

"However, compared to the enormity of the tasks it is assigned and the vast expanse of the DRC -- roughly the size of the United States east of the Mississippi and virtually without infrastructure -- this number is actually rather small," Mr. Le Roy said.

For example, in Kosovo, NATO deployed 40,000 highly-trained and well-equipped troops to an area 200 times smaller than the DRC, he added.

"Civilians have suffered from intense and often chaotic fighting, driven from their homes, caught in the crossfire and subjected to direct attacks and reprisals by armed groups and undisciplined elements of the national army," the official said.

Over 90 per cent of the UN mission's troops are deployed in the DRC's eastern provinces, and 10,000 blue helmets are trying to protect the 10 million-strong population, at a ratio of one peacekeeper for every 1,000 civilians.

"MONUC forces cannot
serve as a substitute for the Congolese army to fight a war or impose peace," Mr. Le Roy wrote, adding that UN peacekeepers are "not an expeditionary or counterinsurgency force."

But in the face of such challenges, he said that the Organization's troops "continue to do their utmost, protecting thousands of civilians every day."

The Under-Secretary-General underscored that the fighting will only end when a political settlement supported by all States in the region has been reached.

"With so much at stake, the international community simply cannot afford to let the Congo slide into the abyss," he wrote. "The time to act is, and indeed must be, now."

The UN envoy tasked with helping to resolve the conflict that has engulfed the east of the DRC is scheduled to launch a dialogue tomorrow in Nairobi between the DRC's Government and the CNDP.

The talks will be facilitated by Olusegun Obasanjo, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on the Great Lakes Region and former Nigerian pres
ident, and Benjamin Mkapa, representing the African Union (AU) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR), who is also the former president of Tanzania.

The agreement to launch the discussion comes after the their recent talks with regional heads of State, the Congolese Government, the CNDP and other armed groups in which they appealed for dialogue and respect for the ceasefire to allow for humanitarian assistance.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>