In a new column for Foreign Policy's The Argument, Enough policy experts Colin Thomas-Jensen and Rebecca Feeley challenge a growing trend of thought suggesting that nothing can be done to end violence in the Congo.
From the column:
"This winter, the militaries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda -- much to our surprise, given their historical antipathy -- joined forces in an offensive against a rebel group based in eastern Congo: the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or the FDLR. Led by the architects of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the FDLR has terrorized Congolese civilians for nearly 15 years. The group's presence has also served as a pretext for Rwandan intervention that has frequently worsened an already grim humanitarian situation in eastern Congo."
A new offensive by the Congolese army, backed by United Nations peacekeepers, against Rwandan rebels ensconced in the lush forests of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to aggravate what is already one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
While the rebels are undoubtedly a scourge to the local population and a major driver of ongoing conflict in Central Africa, the military action planned will lead to more atrocities against Congolese civilians, create greater numbers of displaced and desperate people and, because of the UN’s involvement, do lasting damage to its peacekeeping.
The beleaguered people of North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are justifiably angry. Despite the international community’s $500 million investment in 2006 elections and the world’s largest United Nations peacekeeping mission (costing more than $1 billion per year), the current round of fighting is the most destructive since 2005 and the latest chapter in more than 12 years of near continuous warfare.
By Rebecca Feeley and Colin Thomas-Jensen | Dec 11, 2008
U.S.-led efforts in recent weeks to end the crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo—the epicenter of the deadliest war since World War II with 5.4 million dead and counting—have yielded a ceasefire, but the conflict is not over. The international community must follow through on recent progress with a comprehensive peace strategy for eastern Congo.
By Rebecca Feeley and Colin Thomas-Jensen | Mar 19, 2008
The world has had 14 years to take action against the perpetrators of the genocide and those who now terrorize eastern Congo in their name, but the international response remains sorely inadequate. Absent an international action plan to finally remove this scourge, eastern Congo will continue to suffer.
By Rebecca Feeley and Colin Thomas-Jensen | Jun 3, 2008