November 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 2 November 2009
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In November the Council will be briefed by the chairman of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Council is expected to renew the DRC sanctions and the mandate of the Group of Experts. Both expire on 30 November. The mandate of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) expires on 31 December.

Also in November the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Great Lakes region, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, may brief the Council on threats to security by armed groups in eastern DRC.

Key Recent Developments
On 16 October Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC and head of MONUC, presented the latest Secretary-General’s report on DRC to the Council. He reported progress on implementation of the 23 March peace agreement between the government and Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP). In addition, Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) has been largely pushed out of populated areas.

The Congolese government’s recent military operation in eastern Congo, Kimia II, supported by MONUC was aimed to reduce the threats from FDLR in North and South Kivu. However, reprisal attacks by FDLR against civilians have led to serious human rights violations and widespread displacement. Following a mission to the DRC in October the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, reported that FDLR massacres occurred in Southern Walikali and Masisi after lack of FARDC-MONUC coordination in the Kimia II joint operation left these areas without protection. Rudia II, a joint operation by FARDC and MONUC against the Uganda rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the northeast, also prompted reprisal attacks against civilians, including killings and abductions. Continued LRA attacks in the north-eastern provinces of Haut-Uélé and Bàs-Uélé, have led to the displacement of an estimated 270,000 civilians.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila on 5 July announced a zero-tolerance policy in the military for human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence. In Doss’s October briefing he noted that the government had taken action against five military officers accused of rape by removing them from command to face prosecution. During their visit to the country in May, Council members had handed over the officers’ names to top DRC officials. 

The Group of Experts has reported repeated sanctions violations by armed groups in the eastern DRC. The Group has collected information related to FDLR operations. It has also analysed the integration of the CNDP and Mai-Mai militias into the national army, as requested in December 2008 by resolution 1857 In addition, the Group investigated possible arms shipments to the DRC by exporting countries which had not notified the Sanctions Committee.

In May the Group of Experts reported continued operations by armed groups in South Kivu, ongoing militia activities in Ituri, and LRA attacks in north-eastern DRC. The FDLR had expanded its control over mining sites in South Kivu, and continues to exploit cassiterite, gold and other minerals. The Group also reported that cross border recruitment of children by FARDC and Mai Mai as they confirmed children integrated into military units eastern DRC.

The final report of the Group of Experts in November seems likely to include information related to:

  • arms shipments to the DRC by exporting countries which have not notified the Committee;
  • travel and financial measures imposed against individuals and entities on Committee’s list;
  • violations of international humanitarian law;
  • impediments in the disarmament process;
  • recruitment of child solders;
  • obstruction of humanitarian access in eastern DRC; and
  • linkage between the exploitation of natural resources and the financing of illegal armed groups.

Resolution 1857, which in December 2008 renewed the sanctions and extended the Group of Experts’ mandate also recognised the relationship between illegal exploitation of natural resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as a major factor fuelling conflicts in eastern DRC. The Secretary-General’s report in September noted that MONUC had uncovered several arms supplies suspected to have been hidden by FDLR in collaboration with local Mai-Mai militia. In addition, Congolese customs authorities discovered an illicit cassiterite shipment at the border near Bukavu.

In July, Global Witness reported that western mineral firms have helped to fuel violence in the DRC by failing to check where their raw materials come from. In eastern DRC, various rebel groups and government forces draw profits from the trade in minerals, including coltan, cassiterite and gold. Global Witness reported that companies sourcing minerals used in electronics are buying them from traders, thereby helping to finance rebel and government forces responsible for violence in the DRC.

Human Rights-Related Developments

The Human Rights Council will conduct its Universal Periodic Review of the DRC on 3 December. Areas likely to come under scrutiny include those discussed in the HRC earlier this year following reports on eastern DRC by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and seven Special Rapporteurs and Secretary-General’s Representatives. Pillay cited serious violations of human rights in eastern DRC, including arbitrary executions and sexual violence. In their report, the seven Special Rapporteurs identified eight priority objectives and technical assistance needs. These include fighting impunity, strengthening justice, reinforcing the law enforcement and security sectors, preventing the recruitment of children by armed groups, protecting women’s rights, promoting gender equality and building up state and civil society structures to protect human rights.

Key Issues

The key issue for the Council continues to be the fragile situation in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. A related issue is ongoing difficulties in the integration of demobilised armed groups into the national army, a process which has lacked appropriate vetting of those responsible for the most serious crimes.

Another issue is the ongoing lack of civilian protection as serious human rights violations and widespread internal displacement continues, often linked to military operations.

A related issue is how to develop more effective actions that can be taken against the FDLR, the LRA and other rebels that continue to target civilians in the eastern part of the country. As the latest Group of Experts report noted, it has been difficult to hold perpetrators accountable through the use of targeted sanctions given that their identities are rarely reported.

An underlying issue is the need for the Congolese government to reform its security sector and in this process to prioritise protection of civilians, and implement a long-term plan for the return of IDPs, who continue to be displaced by conflict.

Options

Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the mandates of Sanctions Committee and Group of Experts for additional year;
  • initiating early consultations on the humanitarian situation and protection of civilians in DRC in preparation for the expected renewal of MONUC’s mandate in December including convening an Arria formula meeting to get NGO input; and
  • adding individuals and entities to the sanctions list to send a strong signal of following up recent Council action on sexual violence.

Council Dynamics
It appears that most Council members are concerned about continuing violations of the arms embargo, exploitation of natural resources, the recruitment and use of children by armed groups and sexual violence.

In light of the resolution 1888 on sexual violence, adopted 30 September, and the upcoming 10th anniversary of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, some Council members seem likely to push for more focus on sexual violence in the work of the Sanctions Committee and Group of Experts.

Some Council members seem to be thinking again about when to begin drawing down the UN presence in the DRC. There is pressure from some major contributors to cut peacekeeping costs. But members are also aware of the fragility of the situation. Some feel that the first priority should be a focused strategy to deal with insecurity in eastern DRC and threats posed to civilians by the FDLR and the LRA.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1857 (22 December 2008) renewed sanctions regime and extended the Group of Experts’ mandate to 30 November.
  • S/RES/1856 (22 December 2008) renewed MONUC’s mandate.
  • S/RES/1843 (20 November 2008) authorised the temporary deployment of an additional 3,085 troops to reinforce MONUC’s capacity.
  • S/RES/1807 (31 March 2008) lifted the arms embargo for government forces, strengthened measures related to aviation and customs.

Latest Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/48 (22 December 2008) welcomed regional efforts to address the security threat posed by the LRA.
  • S/PRST/2008/40 (29 October 2008) condemned the offensive by the CNDP in eastern DRC and noted the request for reinforcement of MONUC.
  • S/PRST/2008/38 (21 October 2008) expressed concern about the resurgence of violence in eastern DRC and requested a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

Secretary-General’s Report

Other

  • S/PV.6203 (16 October 2009) was the verbatim record briefing by the Secretary-General’s Representative, Alan Doss.
  • SC/9703 (10 July 2009) was the latest Council press release on the DRC.
  • S/PV.6159 (10 July 2009) was the verbatim record of the briefing by the Secretary-General’s Representative, Alan Doss.
  • S/2009/253 (4 May 2009) was the latest report of the Group of Experts on the DRC.
  • SC/9608 (3 March 2009) was the press release on the addition of four individuals to the assets freeze and travel ban list by the DRC Sanctions Committee.
  • S/2009/105 (19 February 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General on the revised concept of operations and rules of engagement for MONUC.
  • S/2009/52 (27 January 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General about difficulties being encountered in attempts to secure additional troops and capacities for MONUC.
  • SC/9576 (16 January 2009) expressed concern about LRA activities.
  • S/2008/791 (15 December 2008) was the response from Rwanda to the accusations of the DRC Group of Experts
  • S-8/1 (1 December 2008) was a resolution on DRC adopted by the Special Session of the Human Rights Council.

Other Relevant Facts

Chairman of the DRC Sanctions Committee

Ambassador Ertu─črul Apakan (Turkey)

Group of Experts

  • Christian B. Dietrich, USA (aviation)
  • Claudio Gramizzi, Italy (arms)
  • Dinesh Mahtani, UK (finance expert and coordinator)
  • Mouctar Kokouma Diallo, Guinea (customs expert)
  • Raymond Debelle, Belgium (regional expert)

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Alan Doss (UK)

MONUC Interim Force Commander

Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye (Senegal)

Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

  • Strength: 18,638 troops, 705 military observers, 1,089 police, 1,006 international civilian personnel (from 31 August 2009) and 2,539 local civilian staff, 615 UN volunteers (from 30 June 2009)
  • Approved budget (1 July 2009-30 June 2010): $1,350.00 million

Duration

30 November 1999 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2009

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