Friday, August 9, 2013

DR Congo: Speak softly and carry a big stick

UN News reports

UN envoy says her only agenda is helping restore peace to Africa’s Great Lakes region

                                             Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson. Photo: MONUSCO

9 August 2013 – The United Nations Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa stressed that she has no other agenda than to help the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighbouring countries to regain peace.

Speaking to Radio Okapi, a radio station backed by the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC that is known by its acronym MONUSCO, Mary Robinson said it was important for her to remove any ambiguity regarding her position.

“As Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, I have no other agenda than to help this country […] to restore peace for the people so the country can move forward.”

Mrs. Robinson said that she fully supports Resolution 2098, which was unanimously approved in March by the 15-member UN Security Council. “This is a very clear resolution that provides a vision and a holistic and comprehensive approach to promoting peace and stability in the DRC. In my opinion, it leaves no room for ambiguity.”

She added that the resolution both launches a political process that aims to bring peace to the DRC, as well as authorizes an intervention brigade within the current UN peacekeeping force.

It does but Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region (PSC Framework) require a lot of co-operation on the part of the many regional players and that is a huge undertaking. The real teeth of the resolution is the Intervention Brigade ( African Brigade ). Or as  Theodore Roosevelt put it " Speak softly and carry a big stick "  and this would seem to be the approach Mrs Robinson is taking. The political framework from resolution 2098 .

" Calls on the newly designated Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, in coordination with and with the appropriate support from the Special Representative for the DRC, to lead, coordinate and assess the implementation of national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework, as set out in Annex A, including through the swift establishment of benchmarks and appropriate follow-up measures and, building on the PSC Framework, encourages the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to lead a comprehensive political process that includes all relevant stakeholders to address the underlying root causes of the conflict;"

“These are two pillars that go together, one does not exclude the other,” the envoy stressed.

Resolution 2098, which extends the work of MONUSCO through March 2014, provides a framework for the UN to support Congolese authorities by protecting civilians, neutralizing armed groups, and implementing key reforms to consolidate peace in the country, particularly in the area of security sector reform and rule of law.

There is provision for a further extension should the force meet its objectives and there is still a need for its presence should the Congolese government being unable to produce a force to take over from the Intervention Brigade. Something I think is likely, although it would seem things are improving with the reorganisation of FARDC. 

" Decides that the Intervention Brigade will have a clear exit strategy and that the Council will consider the continued presence of the Intervention Brigade in light of its performance and whether the DRC, which has the primary responsibility for safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, has made sufficient progress in implementing its commitments under the PSC Framework, as well as the establishment and implementation of a national security sector reform roadmap for the creation of a Congolese “Rapid Reaction Force” able to take over responsibility for achieving the objective of the Intervention Brigade; "

The resolution also approves an intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in the eastern part of DRC – a region that is prone to cycles of violence and consequent humanitarian suffering.

The objectives of the new force – based in North Kivu province in eastern DRC – is to neutralize armed groups, reduce the threat they pose to State authority and civilian security and make space for stabilization activities.

(b)   Neutralizing armed groups through the Intervention Brigade

In support of the authorities of the DRC, on the basis of information collation and analysis, and taking full account of the need to protect civilians and mitigate risk before, during and after any military operation, carry out targeted offensive operations through the Intervention Brigade referred to in paragraph 9 and paragraph 10 above, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and with the human rights due diligence policy on UN-support to non-UN forces (HRDDP), to prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them in order to contribute to the objective of reducing the threat posed by armed groups on state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities;

And should there be any doubt as to who qualifies for the attention of the the Intervention brigade the Security Council removes it.

Strongly condemns the M23, the FDLR, the ADF, the APCLS, the LRA, the National Force of Liberation (FNL), the various Mayi Mayi groups and all other armed groups and their continuing violence and abuses of human rights, including summary executions, sexual and gender based violence and large scale recruitment and use of children, demands that all armed groups cease immediately all forms of violence and destabilizing activities and that their members immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms, and reiterates that those responsible for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law will be held accountable and should not be eligible for integration into the FARDC or other elements of state security forces;

The brigade is putting in place measures gradually, Mrs. Robinson told Radio Okapi, in collaboration with national authorities to help address the situation on the ground.

“It naturally takes time,” the Special Envoy stressed.

This has become an issue over the last week and needlessly so. Although Charly Kasereka reports ( In French ) that rationality is starting breakout  ( translated by Google and me here ) 

Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, has clashed repeatedly with the national DRC forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC. The rebels briefly occupied Goma in November 2012. The fighting resumed in recent weeks, this time dragging in a group of Ugandan-based rebels, and displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.

It is my opinion that the Intervention Brigade ( Africa Brigade ) offers the best chance of bringing about a lasting peace as it has the ability to go on the offensive and kill the bastards
" dead men tell no tales " as the film industry reminds us nor can they continue the forced recruitment of children or the rape and murder of civilians. Mrs Robinson might prefer a political solution but she had better be prepared to use the Intervention Brigade stick it will be needed. 

As part of an effort to address the underlying causes of violence in the region, the Government of DRC along with 10 other countries and four regional and international institutions adopted what Mrs. Robinson has dubbed a “framework for hope” in February.

Known formally as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region, the accord serves as a blueprint for peace and development in the region.

It is an interesting read. Whilst not naming Rwanda it is fairly clear that Rwanda is the signatory state that needs to start acting in good faith. Something it clearly does not want to do but I think that using its proxy M23 to go up against the Intervention Brigade would be incredibly stupid Rwanda is a small state . Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi make up the Brigade and Rwanda has already pissed the Tanzanians off. Should M23 kill Brigade members and it is shown that Rwanda has been providing support for M23 I wouldn't give the Kagame regime a rats arses
chance of survival.

“Stressing the importance of the full and urgent implementation of the PSC Framework to reducing threats against civilians in the long term, noting the need for MONUSCO to strengthen support to the Government of the DRC to enable it to address security challenges and extend State authority of the Government of DRC as expressed in paragraph 5 of the PSC Framework, and recognizing the need for a comprehensive peace process to put an end to the sources of conflict in the region,

“Determining that the situation in the DRC continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Welcomes the signing on 24 February 2013 of the PSC Framework for the DRC and the region and stresses the importance of this agreement for the long term stability of eastern DRC and the region;

“2. Demands that the signatory States of the PSC Framework fully implement their commitments in good faith;

“I come from a country – Ireland – that has experienced a violent conflict for a long time. It is with this personal experience that I work with all my energy and in partnership with the Government of the DRC, civil society and other signatories to the Framework Agreement,” Mrs. Robinson said.

It is a fair comparison and there is another similarity  between the DR Congo and Ireland that should not be overlooked and that is the diaspora Ireland used and leveraged its diaspora in the US particularly but also in other parts of the British Empire and this is a strategy that the DR Congo can emulate. It is inevitable that the influence of the Congolese diaspora will continue to grow and that influence could well translate into meaningful nation building for the DR Congo and security for the unstable eastern DR Congo.   

“I am personally ready to explore all possible and acceptable ways that can lead to a lasting solution to the crisis.”

Remember your stick.

No comments:

Post a Comment