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For an effective and credible MONUC

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EurAc - September 28, 2008

Alan Doss
Since 28 August Laurent Nkunda's CNDP has launched several offensives against positions held by the army, the FARDC, thus violating the "Acte d'engagement à la paix" he signed in January 2008. These attacks have aggravated the humanitarian situation in North Kivu, causing the displacement of a further 100.000 people. Suffering and frustration has led the people of eastern Congo, feeling unprotected, to have a very negative opinion of Monuc, and even to demonstrate in anger against it. They doubt Monuc's sincerity in carrying out its mandate and believe the Goma accords to be ineffective.

EurAc continues to believe that the result of the Goma Conference, with its signature on 23 January 2008 by all the Congolese protagonists of declarations of commitment to peace in North and South Kivu still offers a way out of the crisis. Together with the Nairobi Accord of 9 November 2007 between Rwanda and the Congo, which agreed on a common approach to the threat to stability and security in the region caused by the FDLR and the Interahamwe, the Goma Accords seemed to be a vital element of a single peace process.

However, the fighting has never stopped. Two years after the elections and eight months after the signature of the Goma Accord, the militias continue to recruit, even children. A good number of the signatories of the Goma Accords are fighting each other, looting and raping.

With the situation on the ground deteriorating, the Goma and Nairobi Accords are under huge pressure which risks destroying the window of opportunity and with it the entire peace process.

Therefore the members of EurAc are launching an appeal to the international community, and in particular to member states of the European Union which are also members of the UN Security Council to:

1) Preserve the arrangements made at Goma and Nairobi because there are no credible alternatives for solving the conflicts in the region

In this context, EurAc calls on member states of the European Union which are also members of the UN Security Council to:


    a) insist on an immediate ceasefire and for Nkunda's CNDP to evacuate the positions he has occupied recently and to return to the positions he held before 28 August.

    b) put strong pressure (including through dissuasion by force) on the signatories of the Goma and Nairobi Accords, and to help put their commitments into action.

    c) put strong pressure on Rwanda to prevent any support for Nkunda from within its territory.

    d) release and make available the funds committed for putting the Amani Programme into action

    e) support civil society in explaining the Amani process among the people of Congo.


2) Make MONUC effective and credible

EurAc considers MONUC is still an important actor on the ground and that it will have, at least in the short term, an indispensable role to play in protecting the peace and democratisation process. Therefore, EurAc urges member states of the European Union which are also members of the UN Security Council to clear away the political barriers which are preventing Monuc from fully carrying out its mandate as defined in Chapter VII, against those groups that fail to respect the Goma and Nairobi Accords and to proceed with disarming them, voluntarily or by force, in collaboration with the FARDC.

This mandate allows Monuc to protect the population and gives it the right to impose peace e.g. by disarming militias. Monuc has not done this except for a very short time in Ituri, after the killing of nine Bangladeshi blue helmets in February 2005.

If Monuc wants to play its role in a credible way, it should:


    a) take control of the external and internal support given to armed groups in the DRC and develop a strategy capable of stopping cross frontier arms trafficking;

    b) invest in a much clearer and more effective method of making its mandate, its objectives, its working methods and its actions better known ;

    c) deploy only better trained, better orientated and better equipped forces. The fact that some UN soldiers come from countries where the army has a problematic role in the process of democratisation reduces Monuc's's credibility;

    d) show zero tolerance to all bad behaviour on the part of UN personnel, especially regarding sexual exploitation and looting of natural resources, and enforce the Code of Conduct strictly.


3) Speed up the reform of the security sector (RSS) which is the backbone of sustainable security in the DRC

EurAc considers the RSS to be the key element in the rehabilitation of the Congolese state and its means to restore the state of law. EurAc calls on member states of the European Union which are also members of the UN Security Council to:


    a) Strengthen the coherence between the European and UN approach to the RSS. EurAc urges the adoption of a single action plan by the international community to support the re-establishment of security on the Congo. This plan should be based on a long term vision and on the complementarity of the roles of the EU and the UN. A plan for gradual withdrawal of MONUC in the medium term would be part of this long term action plan;

    b) increase efforts to set up a credible police force and to rehabilitate the Congolese justice system.


4) Eurac urges the European Union and its member states, given the current fragility of the peace process and the catastrophic humanitarian situation, to consider deploying in the very short term a military mission to help restore security in the east of Congo in collaboration with MONUC and the FARDC.

For more information:

Kris Berwouts
Rue des Tanneurs, 165 B - 1000 Bruxelles, Belgique
Tel: +32 (0)2 213 04 00
Mobile: +32 (0) 485 070 852
@: kris.berwouts@EurAc-network.org
www.EurAc-network.org


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