Monday, 29 April 2013

New report warns UN on Congo

New report warns UN on CongoIncreased investment in non-military approaches is essential for a solution to the long-running conflict in eastern DR Congo, a new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says.
The report, “Non-military strategies for civilian protection in the DRC,” written by Liam Mahony at Fieldview Solutions on commission from the NRC, warns against excessive faith in the new intervention brigade endorsed by the UN Security Council last month. It was launched last week.
“For nearly two decades, the international community has failed to protect civilians and to help bring peace to DR Congo. It is necessary to reflect on what we, as independent organisations and as a community, can do differently to better support the Congolese people to work towards peace and prosperity,” NRC’s Secretary-General Toril Brekke said in the report.
A new mandate for the UN’s peacekeeping operation in DR Congo, including authorising a special intervention brigade to target armed groups, is an unprecedented development in UN peacekeeping.
Brekke warns that any military approach will fail.
“Excessive faith in military approaches must be overcome. Military operations alone can’t bring much-needed durable solutions to the long-standing problems which have troubled the region and its people for decades,” says Brekke.
The international community, the report says, must focus on the deeper, uncomfortable issues that have defeated efforts to bring peace to eastern DR Congo.
“The Framework Agreement for a peace process signed in February was a step in the right direction, but it will require substantial political and financial capital to ensure results on the ground,” Brekke said.
Mahony argues that the international community needs to invest more in non-military solutions to protect the people of DR Congo.
“The international community continues to believe that military protection of civilians in DR Congo may succeed, if there are only enough soldiers, but there is no evidence for this. Faith in military solutions is exaggerated by the mistaken belief that violence can only be met with more violence,” said Mahony.
The report emphasises the need for increased investment in conflict mediation, among other ideals.
“Sustained mediation efforts is needed at regional, national and local levels. Also, more resources should be put into building a stronger civil society.”
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