Tag Archives: peacekeeping

The Trouble with the Congo

I interviewed political scientist (and former aid worker)  Severine Autesserre about her new book The Trouble with the Congo for How We Got Here #53. She’s done some really interesting work on violence in Congo and the failures of peacebuilding there.

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The EU and Congo

Today I look at the debate over whether to send an EU “bridging” force to Congo.  The UN plans to beef up the UN force in Congo, MONUC, but it can’t mobilize additional troops for months. The idea behind an EU deployment would be to get a small agile force on the ground quickly to secure strategic towns and provide some stability while the UN force refocuses on civilian protection outside the cities.  The massacre in Kiwanja last month unfolded even with a UN peacekeeping base nearby.  Belgium has offered troops and its foreign minister is keen to see an EU force go but Britain and Germany, countries that actually have troops standing by for emergency deployments, are reluctant to deploy them.  It doesn’t make sense for France to send troops to Congo because it has terrible relations with neighboring Rwanda (which is anyway accused of stoking the conflict in eastern Congo–an accusation it denies.)  President Sarkozy said today he thought African troops should go, not European troops. Yesterday EU leaders failed to agree on an EU force. It’s not clear that the idea is dead yet though. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is due to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Monday.

Here’s the piece:

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Time to act in DR Congo

…is now says the head of U.N. Peacekeeping.  

U.N. News Centre.

Congo Updates

Alarm bells keep ringing on North Kivu:

AP: UN investigating war crimes.

Reuters: Civilians flee to Uganda.

CNN: The number of girls being raped has increased sharply since fighting intensified in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a humanitarian group said Tuesday.

Reuters: Belgium could contribute to “bridging force” in the DRC.

The issue is that the U.N. has approved more peacekeeping troops but they’ll take months to deploy. Advocates are calling for a European force to bridge the gap.  Their point: Civilians need protection now.

BBC: UN Secretary General calls for more peacekeeping troops for Congo.

What peace?

War is very much on in Eastern Congo. Here’s the latest from the BBC.

Aid and advocacy groups had been warning that things were getting out of hand. Refugees International says the U.N. Security Council should give the U.N. peacekeeping force there more support. MONUC is apparently under strain; according to Reuters its new commander has resigned after only seven weeks on the job.