Securing peace and stability in the DRC. Brief History. replaced a decades-long dictator, Mobutu Sésé Seko, with the rebel leader, Laurent-Désiré

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1 1 Corey Helsel Arizona State University MUNASU 4 th Session Security Council Securing peace and stability in the DRC Brief History The First Congo War ( ) was a foreign invasion of Zaire led by Rwanda that replaced a decades-long dictator, Mobutu Sésé Seko, with the rebel leader, Laurent-Désiré Kabila. The destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan Genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors to align against the corrupt and inept government in the capital, Kinshasa. The new government renamed the country to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it brought little true change. Kabila alienated his Rwanda and Ugandan allies. To avert a coup, Kabila expelled all Rwandan and Ugandan forces from the Congo. This event was the catalyst for the Second Congo War, which began in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War and centered on many of the same issues. The war also largely occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and officially ended in July 2003, when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power. However, hostilities have continued since then in the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, as well as the Kivu and Ituri conflicts (History of the Conflict, 2013). UN Action in the DRC Following the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and five regional states, the Security Council established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2 2 (MONUC) by its resolution 1279 of 30 November 1999, initially to plan for the observation of the ceasefire and disengagement of forces and maintain liaison with all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement (MONUC, 2013). In a series of later resolutions, the Council expanded the mandate of MONUC to the supervision of the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and assigned multiple related additional tasks. In accordance with Security Council resolution 1925 of 28 May 2010, MONUC was renamed as of 1 July the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to reflect the new phase reached in the country. In June 2012, the Security Council renewed MONUSCO s mandate by adopting resolution 2053, which emphasized security reform, consolidation of State authority and the eradication of violence in the eastern provinces. In September 2012, at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), leaders in the African Union and UN decided to immediately establish a 4000-strong neutral international force in an effort to bring stability to the region. In March 2013, the Security Council adopted Resolution Faced with recurrent waves of conflict in eastern DRC threatening the overall stability and development of the country and wider Great Lakes region, the Security Council decided with resolution 2098 to create a specialized intervention brigade for an initial period of one year and within the authorized MONUSCO troop ceiling of 19,815. It would consist of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special force and reconnaissance company and operate under direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander, with the responsibility of neutralizing armed groups and the objective of contributing to reducing the threat posed by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities. The Council also

3 3 decided that MONUSCO should strengthen the presence of its military, police and civilian components in eastern DRC and reduce, to the fullest extent possible for the implementation of its mandate, its presence in areas not affected by conflict in particular Kinshasa and in western DRC (MONUSCO, 2013). Problems with Achieving the Mandate Sexual and gender-based violence Rape and sexual violence continue to be used as weapons of war against women in the DRC. UNICEF has confirmed that over 1,000 women are victims of rape per month, while the unconfirmed estimate is thought to be many times higher. One estimate has it as high as 400,000 rapes a year. Men are also victims of sexual violence and it is estimated that 23% of Congolese men will encounter some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. There are many psychological and social consequences to being the victim of sexual violence; victims often suffer from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and suicide. This can be particularly severe in cases in which men have been forced at gunpoint to sexually assault their daughters, sisters or mothers. Psychological trauma after experiencing sexual violence can have a negative effect on sexual behavior and relationships, feelings about sex, ability to negotiate safer sex and increased likelihood of drug abuse. The most common social consequence for victims of sexual violence is isolation from their families and communities. Raped women are seen as impure, frequently leading to their being abandoned by their husbands or having trouble marrying. The most extreme versions of this stigmatization can lead to "honor killings," in which the victim of sexual violence is murdered by her family or community due to the belief that she has brought them shame and dishonor (Legacy of War, 2013). Vulnerable displaced persons

4 4 The protection of internationally displaced persons (IDPs), most notably in the North Kivu province of eastern DRC, continues to be a problem. Fighting in Goma in November 2012 led to the displacement of 140,000 in North Kivu, adding to the hundreds of thousands already displaced in the province. IDPs living in camps and those who have yet to resettle live under constant threat of attacks by armed groups, especially the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) as well as the more recent Tutsi-led M23 rebel group. The DRC has also produced a considerable number of refugees and asylum-seekers located in the region and beyond. These numbers peaked in 2004 when, according to UNHCR, there were more than 460,000 refugees from the DRC; in 2008, Congolese refugees numbered 367,995 in total, 68% of which were living in other African countries. (UN Daily News, 2012) Exploitation of resources Exploitation of the DRC's rich minerals has funded insurgencies and fueled internal and regional insecurities. There are many factors that have contributed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo s severe socio-economic hardships, and not all resource extraction operations have had an entirely negative impact on Congolese society at large. That said, the negative consequences brought about by some forms of resource extraction, such as coltan mining, are devastating. For example, as worldwide demand for goods has increased, so has the demand for coltan and much of the finance sustaining the civil wars in Africa, especially in the DRC, is directly connected to coltan profits. Within the DRC, there are both wars between Congolese and conflicts between neighboring nations. Although these wars have components of inter-tribal conflict, in several cases the conflicts have been induced by external forces, such as changes in international support and demands for resource extraction. As a result of coltan mining and wars,

5 5 societies in the eastern regions of the Congo are experiencing heightened physical and economic insecurity, health problems and human rights violations (Resource Exploitation Report, 2001). Poor education With a GDP per capita of less than $400, many government programs such as basic education have been left underfunded and underdeveloped. In 2010 only 2.5% of GDP was spent on education, ranking the DRC 159 out of 173 countries (CIA, 2013). One of the largest issues with the educational problem in the DRC is that the children and families are afraid to go to school. The rebel armies of the DRC such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the National Congress for the Defense of the People are infamous for their use of child soldiers. Schools are one of the main ways these children are abducted and enslaved by these groups. The biggest international supporter of educational programs in the region is the UN. The UN has had to deal with large fluctuations in commitment for aid for the DRC in the past decade. In 2002 the international commitment was less than 100 million USD and in 2007 it peaked above 250 million USD. On top of this uncertainty from donors, the UN also has to contend with the local end of corruption and embezzlement of the funds raised. In 2008, 2% of the total funds raised for education never made it to the teachers and children that desperately need it (Hidden Crisis, 2013). Focus of Current Debate On 24 February 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged regional African leaders to provide sustained support at the highest political and diplomatic levels to implement a newly signed United Nations-backed accord aimed at stabilizing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, called the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. Part of this framework was the strengthening of MONUSCO, as

6 6 mentioned before. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated I therefore call for your sustained political, technical and financial support, especially over the long-term, to accompany the implementation of the national and regional commitments outlined in the Framework. It remains to be seen whether the Secretary-General s commitment to the DRC will have any substantial positive impacts. Questions to consider: 1. Many of the issues in the DRC stem from a poor economy devoid of opportunities. What sorts of actions-- either from within the DRC or externally-- can help to strengthen the economy of the DRC? 2. How can free and fair elections be achieved in the DRC? How can government transparency be guaranteed? 3. How could free and fair elections of government officials help achieve many of these goals? Consider citizens trust for the government (legitimacy) and the rule of law when answering this question. 4. What reforms need to take place within the poor educational system of the DRC in order to guarantee a better education for the youth? What sorts of positive impacts can an improved educational system have for a society?

7 7 References Central Intelligence Agency. CIA World Factbook Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html (August 22, 2013). Eastern Congo Initiative History of the Conflict. Retrieved from (August 22, 2013). Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Report of the Secretary General. Retrieved from (August 16, 2013). UN Daily News UN official stresses civilian protection on visit to areas affected by DR Congo violence. Retrieved from (September 1, 2013). United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education. Retrieved from (August 16, 2013). United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) Helping Bring Peace and Stability in the DRC. Retrieved from (August 16, 2013). United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Legacy of War. Retrieved from (August 16, 2013).

8 8 United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) MONUSCO Mandate. Retrieved from (August 16, 2013).

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