The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the first-ever intervention UN peacekeeping brigade to fight rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Reports say the 3,000-strong UN brigade was mandated to carry out offensive operations to neutralize or disarm the rebels in the insurgent-hit part of the African country.
According to the UN, surveillance drones will be reportedly used to monitor the country’s borders with neighbours accused of backing rebels particularly Uganda and Rwanda.
M23 rebels and rebel groups from neighboring countries have taken over some parts in eastern Congo last year.
In November 2012, M23 rebels have taken over the provincial capital of Goma.
Photo: UN PHOTO
The surge of rebel attack has reportedly displaced an estimated 500,000 people since the M23 rebels began bringing terror in April last year.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2098 resolution was sponsored by France, the US and Togo.
The resolution will give the brigade a mandate to operate “in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner” to protect civilians from the threats of the M23 rebels.
The new resolution deplores the continued presence of M23 rebels
Reports say the resolution strongly condemns the continued presence of the M23 in Goma and its attempts to establish a illegitimate govenrment in North Kivu.
In addition, the resolution also demands that the M23 and other armed groups to immediately stop all violence, to disband and lay down their arms permanently.
It also strongly condemns their continuing human rights abuses including summary executions, sexual violence and recruitment and use of children.
US welcomes the resolution
The United States of America today welcomed the passing of the resolution to address the incessant problem faced by Congo particulary the surge of insurgency in the country.
In his explanation at the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2098, Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs says the framework process, which included personal engagement from Secretary-General Ban, has breathed new life into efforts to find a durable peace in eastern DRC, where over 5 million have lost their lives since 1998.
He says in light of the renewed commitments from the DRC, its neighbors, and the international community laid out in the framework, the Security Council has acted today to ensure that MONUSCO’s mandate supports the framework agreement in its efforts to address the root causes of conflict.
Given the introduction of the Intervention Brigade, Mr. DeLaurenti says the United States has been particularly mindful of the need to “set MONUSCO up for success” by streamlining the other tasks that MONUSCO particularly its military component are tasked to.
“We underscore today that efforts to protect civilians and neutralize armed groups must remain at the forefront of tasks for MONUSCO, and are duties that all MONUSCO peacekeepers must do their utmost to perform.” – Mr. DeLaurenti
The US recognizes the need for continued coordination with the civilian side in these efforts, particularly to ensure the protection of children and women, and to prevent continuation of the horrible streak of sexual violence in the DRC.
US Supports MONUSCO’s role in DRC
According to Mr. DeLaurenti, with the adoption of the resolution, the US government fully supports MONUSCO’s continued role in human rights monitoring, which is a key part of protecting civilians.
He notes the Security Council has demonstrated its commitment to achieving peace in the DRC by authorizing the Intervention Brigade today.
The US calls on the DRC government to meet its commitment to the parameters in the framework, particularly in implementing credible Security Sector Reform.
“We also call on the DRC’s neighbors to meet their commitments in the Framework agreement.” – Mr. DeLaurenti
New Peace Deal for Congo and The Region Signed in Addis Ababa
Aiming to end ongoing insecurity in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), A Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region was signed last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Reports say eleven African countries signed a UN-drafted peace deal on Sunday to stabilise DRC where rebels allegedly supported by neighbouring countries.
The agreement was signed by African countries particularly DRC, Angola, Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Zambia.
What entails the peace accord?
With the new peace accord, Congo’s neighbours promised not to interfere in its internal affairs and also agreed to not tolerate or support rebel armed groups particularly the notorious M23 rebels in Congo.
US lauds DRC peace deal
US Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell says the United States welcomes today’s signing of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Region, a significant step toward promoting long-term peace in the Great Lakes.
The US applaud the leaderships of Presidents Kabila, Kagame, and Museveni in advancing the peace process; the personal engagement of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his chef de cabinet, Susana Malcorra; and the constructive role played by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the African Union (AU), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
US asserts Congo deserves the full commitment of regional governments and the international community to ending the violence once and for all.
US on a mission to bring sustainable peace to DRC
Recognizing that the security and humanitarian situation in the D.R.C. is the most volatile and violent in Africa, the United States of America has reiterated its commitment to helping the D.R.C. and its neighbors end the cycle of violence and instability.
An estimated five million people have lost their lives since 1998, and millions more have been uprooted and displaced due to cycle of violence in DRC.
North and South Kivu provinces in particular have faced repeated cycles of conflict, atrocities, and displacement, with the current crisis simply being the latest iteration.
The highest levels of the U.S. Government are committed to helping the D.R.C. and the region achieve a sustainable peace.
In the UN Security Council, US has taken action to ensure that five of the most senior and most abusive M23 commanders are now under targeted sanctions, and it has placed those same individuals under U.S. sanctions, he added.
Talks between the D.R.C. Government and the M23 began on December 9 in Kampala, and are being mediated by Uganda as the chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, known as the ICGLR.
The US government continues to urge the Ugandan Government to ensure that supplies to the M23 do not originate in or transit through Ugandan territory.
As required by the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, Secretary Clinton suspended Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, to Rwanda in FY 2012 because of its support to the M23.
The Department continues to closely monitor reports of external support, and will continue to respond appropriately, including by reviewing our assistance, to deter this support if it should develops.
The US renewed call upon everyone involved in the conflict to maintain the current cease-fire, to permit humanitarian access, and to pursue a sustainable political resolution through honest and meaningful dialogue.
US has underlined that to reach a sustainable peace, the D.R.C. Government must accelerate its efforts towards comprehensive security sector reform.
The US will continue to work with the D.R.C. Government to professionalize its military, including continuing our training to army officers and support to the armed forces’ military justice capacities.
The US urges the international community, the Great Lakes region, and the Congolese people to demonstrate the resolve to achieve the peace and prosperity that we know lays ahead for the D.R.C.
US responds to humanitarian catastrophe in DRC
The humanitarian situation in the eastern Congo remains deplorable, as it has been for years, with more than two million Congolese currently displaced internally or to neighboring countries.
The United States provided more than $110 million in humanitarian assistance for Congolese refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict-affected civilians in Fiscal Year 2012, including a $5 million supplemental contribution for the increased needs in the D.R.C., Uganda, and Rwanda as a result of displacements caused by the M23 rebellion.
At the UN, the US also has urged donors to respond to the UN’s consolidated appeal for the D.R.C.
There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.
A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.