In recent years the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has faced tremendous pressure to improve civilian protection in the volatile and violent eastern provinces of the country. The mission has seen its share of high-profile protection failures – including the mass rape of over 200 women, men and children in August of 2010. But MONUSCO is at the forefront of innovative tactics to protect civilians. In order to sustain and maximize these new efforts, however, the mission requires additional civilian and logistical capacity. MONUSCO also requires new information management and analysis systems in order to facilitate moving from a reactive to genuinely preventive protection posture.
CIVILIAN PROTECTION NEEDS
Violence, intimidation and latent insecurity continue to be a constant feature of life in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rape, looting, and the destruction of property – sometimes whole villages – are prevalent throughout the east. Currently there are upwards of 1.2 million displaced people residing in North and South Kivu alone and new displacement continues. With the upcoming MONUSCO mandate renewal, there is discussion of changing the mandate, particularly with regards to the upcoming Congolese election. UN Security Council members must recognize that any new responsibilities will reduce resources for critical civilian protection tasks and must be kept to a minimum. Insecurity has been exacerbated by the decision of the Government of DRC to reorganize the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in North and South Kivu. The reorganization will break up existing army units (and problematic command structures) and improve the integration of former negative forces - including the former rebel group CNDP - into the FARDC structure. In the short-term the movement of FARDC units into central reorganization points has left security vacuums that are quickly being filled by other armed actors and destabilizing previously stable areas such as Rutshuru and Beni.
The movement of FARDC forces has also resulted in increased instances of forced labor, as soldiers coerce civilians
into transporting their equipment and supplies long distances to the reorganization points.