This essay is about the Democratic Republic of Congo, a big country who is rich in natural resources but has been destroyed by the colonization, slavery and, conflicts. A country who not always sees the rights of the civilians but now tries to build up a stable society. To help the government to develop a stable society and create a more secure environment for the civilians they have a peacekeeping mission called MONUSCO. The purpose of the essay is to get a clearer picture of the situation in the country, get a knowledge about the history and what peacekeeping mission UN has done there. It starts with a historical background of the different conflicts and how it is now, then lead the way to what MONUSCO stands for and what the ambition with the peacekeeping mission is. The essay ends with an analysis and conclusion of the work.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second-largest country in Africa, the capital is Kinshasa and it has a population of nearly 80, 000, 000 people. From the 1800s was the country a colony controlled by King Leopold II of Belgium, during this time was almost the whole population under slavery. In the beginning of the 1900s, 1908 to be correct, the country where taking over by the Belgian state which, during this time the country was named ‘Belgian Congo’. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that more and more opinions about the treatment of the local people were brought up, how suppressed they actually were. Which lead to that the Belgian state where forced to increase the demands on human and political rights. After a few years of minor changes in rights, which still did not reach the level it should have done, the Democratic Republic of Congo could finally declare independence in 1960. To take the history further in time, the 1990s began with war. The country opened the door for thousands of refugees that came from the genocide that was ongoing in Rwanda. Among all these refugees who came to the country were perpetrators of the genocide, which resulted that they used the refugee camp as a base to plan which actions they were going to do in Rwanda. As a result, did the conflict in Rwanda spread to Zaire and hundreds of thousands of people had to flee again which escalated to the so-called ‘first Congo war’.
When the rebel group AFDL, Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, chased out president Mobutu, 1997, out of the country was the end of the war and the leader of the rebel group became president of the country. But only one year later started the ‘second Congo war’, which lasted for five years, resulted in that hundreds of thousands of people were killed. The war was a major conflict involving several different parties from several cities, trying to set aside the government that existed. This resulted instead in major power zones, which lead to the cause of the conflict that would be called the ‘First World War of Africa’. The Democratic Republic of Congo tried to make a peace agreement several times to bring the conflict to an end, but this was unsuccessful. So in 1999, a peace agreement was established that contained ceasefire and the UN peacekeeping force were involved and took over from the troops who already were there. But even in the 21st century, the country continued to have minor conflicts, especially on the eastern side of the country. This can be explained by looking back at how it has been in the country for decades, where the country has had a clear dictatorship, a leadership of various leaders from, for example, rebel groups and with a view of both political and human rights that not have been priorities. Whit this in the back it is hard to build up and create a stable development for the country. The fact that UN peacekeeping mission is in the country and trying to create security, there still are several small conflicts. As CNN writes, 15 UN soldiers were killed in December 2017 during an attack, probably carried out by the rebel group ‘Allied Democratic Forces’ (http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/08/africa/africa-un-peacekeepers-killed/index.html).
As mentioned earlier in the background, the UN is working on peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo to fight the conflicts and particular build up a security for the civilians. The UN general commission is working with peacekeeping to be able to protect the things that enable human liberties, to maintain security from threats and conflicts for all individuals. Their ambition is to work on the process that is based on people’s strengths, in order to build up, among other things, a good political, social and economic situation (http://www.un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/).
UNs peacekeeping work in the Democratic Republic of Congo is named MONUSCO, the ‘United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo’. Their main ambition and work can be sum up in four definitions: “protect civilians from violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law”, “fight impunity”, “support national and international efforts to bring perpetrators to justice”, “address serious violations against children” (http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/sc9939.doc.htm). MONUSCO where invented in 2010 when it took over from the earlier peacekeeping operation called MONUC, this was from the beginning a new mandate made from the original resolution 1925 by the Security Council. This resolution was created to protect de civilian people in the country, they who was working with the human rights and humanitarian personnel who have been exposed to physical violence. The resolution would also support the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the work with stabilization and strengthen of the peace work. Although, the Council thought that MONUSCO was in need of a comprise, in the sense that there would be a maximum of the military, polices and members of formed police units (https://monusco.unmissions.org/en/un-drc).
In March 2013 had the Democratic Republic of Congo a stream of conflicts in the east, that did not only hurt the eastern side people and land, it was also a threat to the developed stability for the whole country. Therefore did the Security Council create resolution 2098, that contained an “intervention brigade” which contained one artillery, three infantry battalions, one special force that works directly under the command from the Force Commander of MONUSCO. This decrease of help had the responsibility to make sure that there would be a neutralizing of the armed groups in the east and to develop civilian security again. The Security Council did also decide to strengthen the military presence and also the presence of the police in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, to make a statement that they still are in the country. A few years later in 2016 did the Security Council decide to extend the peacekeeping operation for one more year because of the, still existing situation with civilian security and the delays with the preparation of the presidential elections. But it did not end there, the Security Council decided to keep the MONUSCO mission with all the military personnel, the observers, polices and formed police units until March 2018. This mission is continuing to make sure that there is security for the civilians and that the country continuing to develop a stability (https://monusco.unmissions.org/en/mandate).
The conflict has a history long back in time when the country for the first time became a colony when Belgium took over the country and made the inhabitants be slaves. The conflict is deeply-rooted in the culture that has made the Democratic Republic of Congo like the way the country is today. The structural causes are made by the historical causes that have been discussed in the background when Belgium made it their country and the natives were forced to slavery and the human rights were sinking to the bottom. Before they noticed that the rights of the civilian people were not as good as they should be, and the Democratic Republic of Congo could pronounce themselves as independent. More proximate causes could be described as the two wars that took place in the late 90s. The first war that started in the beginning of 1990, when the country welcomed thousands of refugees that had fled from Rwanda where there was an ongoing genocide. This resulted not only in refugee camps but also a base for some refugees that were perpetrators in Rwanda. It was a chance for them to plan actions in the genocide, which in the end resulted that the conflict in Rwanda spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo. And then there was the second war that started 1998, where they tried to remove the existing government. The situation today in the country consist a series of conflicts between the different rebel groups who have different thoughts then the government on how the country should look like. The different triggers that have been in the country since the colonial time could be described as different actors, the first event with Belgium, the civilians from Rwanda, and then the rebel groups that have caused a major insecurity in the country.
The situation right now in the country can be described as status quo scenario, in the meaning that there are still small conflicts, like the conflict on the eastern side of the country that resulted in an extension of MONUSCO with a new intervention. But also considering the attacks on the UN peacekeepers. Like the situation that happened last year in December, when 15 UN peacekeepers were killed in an attack, probably made by the rebel group ‘Allied Democratic Force’. It could be seen as a failure for the country because it is an attack on the peacekeepers that works for the development and stability in the country. It can be seen as two steps backward when they are trying to move forward in the progress of peace. The limits of the peacekeeping work could be the same thing as the failure, there are always gonna be some parts of groups that going to stand against the thoughts of the government and the country. So the struggle for the country, like other countries, is to keep on working for them who has an interest in human rights and the rights of the society.
4.1 SMART – recommendation
As the current situation is, with conflicts in the different cities, especially with human rights it is a goal of continuing working on that. So one SMART recommendation for the Democratic Republic of Congo could be a more clear sight on what they want to achieve. Specific, create an even more secure living for the civilians, even if there are rebel groups that creates insecurity for them. See to both women and men’s opinion on what security is. Measurable and attainable, try to involve everyone, create small groups that have one representative that stands for the thoughts and questions. Relevant, it is relevant for everyone that is interested in peace and development of the country. Time-bound, could be one year because it could take time to start up the project.
The main findings that can be drawn out of this are especially the peacekeeping mission that UN do down in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That the country, almost, every day is fighting for the human rights, the rights of every person in the country. That every civilian should be and feel safe without worries about if they are secure in their own country. The one thing that I especially will pick up from this work is the knowledge I have achieved about the country and how the development of the country has changed through the years. That the civilians have fought for their rights in the society for decades, and now they have found a sort of stability. They have some pieces that have to be worked with if you see to all the small conflicts who is still going on, but in the long run, there could be a good and stable security for the civilians.