November 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 October 2011
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In November, the Council expects a briefing on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), due by the end of October, by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Roger Meece. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, is also expected to brief the Council. The briefing will be followed by consultations.  Though the Council does not currently plan to meet in the days surrounding the upcoming elections, additional meetings may be scheduled if the situation on the ground deteriorates.

The Council is also due to receive a briefing from the Chair of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil), on the work of the Committee and the annual report of its Group of Experts.

The Committee will meet in November to discuss the report as well.

The Council is likely to renew the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts, which expire on 30 November 2011. MONUSCO’s mandate expires on 30 June 2012.

Key Recent Developments
On 28 June, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1991, extending the mandate of MONUSCO for another 12 months. The resolution maintains the current strength and priorities of MONUSCO and authorises the force to continue to provide technical and logistical assistance for the upcoming national and local elections.

In a letter circulated to Council members on 20 September, the Secretary-General stated that MONUSCO’s lack of military helicopters had become acute. He asked states to think “outside the box” about new and innovative solutions. Following the letter, the Council was updated by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on progress made with some UN member states on pledges of helicopters to the mission.

On 17 October, the Council was briefed on MONUSCO via videoconference. The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Leila Zerrougui, updated the Council on delays in the arrival and distribution of ballot boxes and papers for the upcoming elections. Meece told the Council that MONUSCO was operating under the assumption that the elections will still take place on time. He also reiterated that the shortage of military helicopters was affecting its ability to implement its mandate. Presidential elections and elections for the 500-seat National Assembly are scheduled for 28 November.

Following the consultations, the Council released a press statement calling on MONUSCO to continue to support the organisation and conduct of the forthcoming elections and to keep it updated. The Council welcomed the commitment of some countries to provide the helicopters required for MONUSCO and encouraged these countries and the Secretariat to finalise arrangements so that helicopters deploy on the ground before the elections.

Though not released publicly at press time, the Council received an advance copy of the Group of Experts’ final report. The detailed report focuses on armed groups operating in the DRC (including those that have undergone reintegration into the Congolese army) and the flow of weapons in the country. It also evaluates the implementation of its due-diligence guidelines and makes suggestions to improve the efficiency of the sanctions regime.

On 12 October, the DRC Sanctions Committee added Jamil Mukulu, a Ugandan national, to the sanctions list. The Committee reasoned that Mukulu is the military leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a foreign armed group operating in the DRC. The listing request, first received by the Committee at the end of 2010, was made possible after several P5 members retracted holds placed on the listing.

At a UN Information Service press briefing in Geneva on 7 October, a spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that five humanitarian staff working for an educational NGO in Malinde, South Kivu province, had been killed along with five other people. OCHA firmly condemned the killings. The incident was one of the gravest in the DRC since April 2011, when six ICRC staff had been killed. The working conditions for humanitarian workers have become increasingly difficult in North and South Kivu—this year alone there have been 140 security incidents affecting humanitarian workers.

On 7 September, more than 960 prisoners—including Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, a former head of the Maï-Maï militia awaiting a death sentence issued by a Congolese military court for war crimes and crimes against humanity—escaped from a prison in Katanga province. The mass prison break was assisted by an organised armed attack on the jail. So far about 230 prisoners have been recaptured.

On 14 October, US President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 100 armed military advisers—who will not engage in direct combat—to address the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) problem. Though the majority of forces will deploy in Uganda, some may deploy in the DRC (for more see our UNOCA/LRA brief in this issue).

Key Issues
A key issue is keeping a close handle on developments regarding the upcoming elections.

On sanctions, an important issue is improving the efficiency of the regime and its capacity to address problems facing the DRC, including overall insecurity in large parts of the country, sexual violence and illegal exploitation of natural resources.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts for another year while considering the recommendations of their annual report;
  • including provisions for the Group of Experts to provide input for regional cooperation, including through the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and with the LRA initiative under consideration by the AU;
  • issue a press statement following Meece’s briefing or issue a press statement on the election process as the situation develops; or
    monitor the election process but take no action unless extraordinary events occur on the ground. 

Council Dynamics
No major disagreement arose between Council members during the last renewal of sanctions and the Group of Experts’ mandate (though later on there were some delays in appointing one member of the group). Several Council members are hoping that the current annual report—which in their opinion is thorough and rich in evidence—will contribute to a consensus in the Council regarding the renewal of the experts’ mandate. One issue that might cause controversy is the implementation of the due-diligence guidelines, insomuch as they bear on the interests of Council members with private sector investments in the DRC.

The uncertainties of the election period and its aftermath lead several Council members to believe that significant changes in the sanctions regime are unwarranted at this juncture. 

Several Council members would like to maintain a “hands on” approach regarding the November elections. They feel that the Council has an opportunity to show more commitment to its involvement in the DRC compared to previous years.

France is the lead country on the DRC.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1991 (28 June 2011) extended the mandate of MONUSCO until 30 June 2012.  
  • S/RES/1952 (29 Nov 2010) extended the DRC sanctions and the mandate of the Group of Experts to 30 November 2011. 

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/11 (18 May 2011) focused on stabilisation efforts in the DRC.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Security Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6539 (18 May 2011) was the debate on stabilisation in the DRC.

Security Council Press Statements

  • SC/10414 (17 October 2011) was on elections in the DRC.
  • SC/10410 (13 October 2011) was on the listing of Mukulu by the DRC sanctions committee.

Letter

  • S/2011/589 (20 September 2011) was from the Secretary-General on the shortage of helicopters in MONUSCO.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Roger Meece (US)

MONUSCO Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Chander Prakash (India)

MONUSCO Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

Strength as of 30 September 2011: 16,819 troops, 741 military observers, 1,354 police, 978 international civilian personnel, 2,822 local civilian staff and 591 UN volunteers

Approved budget (1 July 2011-30 June 2012): $ 1.420 billion

Mission Duration

30 November 1999 to present: mandate expires on 30 June 2012

Full forecast