MONUSCO—Protection of Civilians: Three recommended improvements

 

Although civilian protection is stated to be the highest priority of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, the mission continually struggles to fulfill this mandate. Overall, the failure of the U.N. to deal with the FDLR, as a major factor in regional instability, allows for the eastern Congo crisis to fester. The optimal longer term alteration in MONUSCO’s mandate would be to empower and support it, in coordination with other actors in the region, to end the FDLR threat along the lines of the Ituri “Artemis” model. Given MONUSCO’s current mandate on civilian protection, however, this policy brief is focused only on making the existing operation a more successful one.

Although civilian protection is stated to be the highest priority of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, the mission continually struggles to fulfill this mandate. Overall, the failure of the U.N. to deal with the FDLR, as a major factor in regional instability, allows for the eastern Congo crisis to fester. The optimal longer term alteration in MONUSCO’s mandate would be to empower and support it, in coordination with other actors in the region, to end the FDLR threat along the lines of the Ituri “Artemis” model. Given MONUSCO’s current mandate on civilian protection, however, this policy brief is focused only on making the existing operation a more successful one.

Problem: Despite changes in the mandate on civilian protection, MONUSCO remains too fixed in its bases to give adequate protection. Several incidents have shown that MONUSCO finds out about an attack too late or, worse, does not react quickly enough when it receives the information to stop the atrocities. These gaps have resulted in several massacres. Two recent examples illustrate the trend: