Congo Siasa

Welcome MONUSCO

The Security Council will vote either today or tomorrow on a new mandate for MONUC. According to a draft, which is currently being debated, here are the outlines:

  • The mission will be named MONUSCO, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo. Its first priority will continue to be protecting civilians in imminent danger. But the overall mission will shift slightly to supporting Congolese institutions – the language over and over again is “support the Congolese government” with continuous caveats of “upon explicit request by Congolese authorities;”
  • However, the biggest bullet was dodged: they have decided on withdrawing 2,000 troops, but they will not withdraw any more troops until the Congolese government is able to fulfill certain benchmarks such as progress in bringing an end to military operations, “resulting in minimizing the threat and restoring stability in sensitive areas.” MONUSCO will have to report back to the Security Council every three months over the next year on developments;
  • In somewhat convoluted (and contradictory?) language, in order to protect civilians, they are supposed to support the Congolese army “to bring to a completion” operations against the FDLR and LRA, while respecting humanitarian law;
  • They are explicitly mandated to continue efforts such as Joint Protection Teams, Joint Investigation Team, Women’s Advisers and – a new development – “Prosecution Support Cells” to support prosecutions by FARDC military authorities;
  • Participate in the training of Congolese police and army battalions and mobilize donors to supply material;
  • Elaborate a plan with other UN agencies for a comprehensive support of the justice sector;
  • Establish, together with the DRC government, five mining “counter” in North and South Kivu to help enhance traceability of minerals (the so-called “centres de negoce”).

Some problems:

  • There are no details of how exactly MONUSCO is supposed to support the Congolese army – no mention, in particular, of vetting out abusive officers;
  • No mention of pre-empting violence by taking offensive action against armed groups to stave off (not that it worked that well in the past);
  • No new ideas of how to put pressure on the Congolese security forces to improve behavior – just a small reference to paragraphs about conditionality in the last resolution;
  • Nothing on shifting some resource to deal with the LRA.

The politics of the resolution have been predictable. China is trying to remove many of the concrete suggestions for how to protect civilians, as well as the conditionality of supporting the Congolese army. The Americans are pushing strongly for protection of civilians (but not security sector reform), while Austria is pushing on strong language on security sector reform.

Uganda – wonder of wonders – didn’t see the need to say that sexual violence was “widespread.”