New MONUSCO Mandate Must Expand Civilian Protection Strategy: Enough Project

Date: 
Jun 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the U.N. Security Council reassesses the mandate for the world’s second largest peacekeeping operation, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or MONUSCO, it must address the serious gap in the implementation of its civilian protection strategy. MONUSCO’s next mandate, due for renewal on June 30, 2012, must allow the mission to deploy an early warning human rights monitoring service, improve patrols to go out into communities, and create rapid reaction Joint Protection Teams, according to a new Enough Project brief.

Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev said:

“The world’s second largest peacekeeping mission is failing to protect civilians and angering Congolese people on the ground. Because MONUSCO takes days to deploy to villages that have been attacked, people are left vulnerable, and massacres such as the May 13 killing of 37 people in Kamananga are the result. Unless there are serious changes, taxpayers’ money is wasted on these efforts. MONUSCO is too fixed in its bases to provide adequate protection. The U.S., France, and the U.K. need to give MONUSCO a wake-up call and ensure it deploys an early warning service inside vulnerable communities. Last year, the early warning system was cut. The result? Locals rioted after a massacre and left seven peacekeepers seriously injured. That is not protection.”

Enough Researcher Fidel Bafilemba said:

“Overall, the failure of the UN to deal with the FDLR rebellion, as a major factor in regional instability, allows for the eastern Congo crisis to fester. The optimal longer term change in MONUSCO’s mandate would be to empower and support it, in coordination with the region, to end the FDLR threat along the lines of the ‘Artemis’ model, when French peacekeepers adopted a more robust stance in Ituri.”

The brief calls on the U.N. Security Council to have MONUSCO deploy an early warning human rights monitoring service based in vulnerable communities to report incidents in real time as they happen. The service should be well resourced and include at least 10 people for each of the 16 territories in the Kivus, including the UNHCR Protection Monitors program and the Community Liaison Assistance Program.

The briefing also emphasizes that patrols should venture into the most vulnerable communities, instead of the current strategy of staying on the main roads where militia fighters are least likely to operate. It also stresses that the MONUSCO Joint Protection Teams should be sent to communities immediately following a reported incident.

Read the Enough Project brief, “MONUSCO—Protection of Civilians: Three Recommended Improvements,” URL: http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/monusco%E2%80%94protection-civilians-three-recommended-improvements

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Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.