Democratic Republic of the Congo
Expected Council Action
In March, the Security Council will be briefed on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler. The Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, will also brief on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region (PSC Framework).
The Council is also expected to renew MONUSCO’s mandate, which expires on 31 March, for another year.
Key Recent Developments
The Council has demonstrated renewed engagement with the DRC in recent months as dramatic developments occurred on the ground.
In a 13 January briefing (S/PV.7094), Kobler reported to the Council on the situation in the DRC and the latest MONUSCO report (S/2013/757). Robinson also briefed on her activities and the latest report on the implementation of the PSC Framework (S/2013/773).
The chair of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), briefed the Council on 23 January on the Group of Experts (GoE) final report (S/2014/42). The Committee met with the GoE to discuss the report and their recommendations on 17 January.
The Council unanimously renewed the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the GoE on 30 January (S/RES/2136). However, after the adoption, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda) stated in relation to the GoE “that the use of a United Nations sanctioned and funded mechanism to launch deliberate attacks against States…by making grave, unsubstantiated and damaging accusations without any credible evidence is totally unacceptable”. Ambassador Ignace Lufuta (DRC) accused both Rwanda and Uganda of violating their commitments by assisting the 23 March (M23) rebel group. Gasana replied that the DRC should “stop whining every time it comes before the Council and…stop bashing Rwanda”.
After the military success of the Forces armées de la république démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and the MONUSCO intervention brigade against the M23, an agreement between the M23 and the DRC was signed in Nairobi on 12 December 2013. The DRC agreed to grant amnesty to those M23 members who are only accused of taking up arms, and the M23 is to disarm and become a political party. At press time, close to 1,300 M23 members were still awaiting their fate in a camp in Uganda. On 12 February, DRC President Joseph Kabila declared amnesty for acts of insurgency and political offences committed up to 20 December 2013.
While there have been some encouraging developments with respect to stabilising specific areas in North Kivu and the surrender of 8,000 rebels who are awaiting reintegration, other rebel groups (estimated at about 40 in total) continue to operate and wreak havoc on civilians.
In a recent attack in Masisi territory, North Kivu, in late January and early February, Mai-Mai rebels are believed to have used machetes to execute 70 civilians in three villages that were subsequently burnt to the ground.
On 18 February, MONUSCO announced it would reinforce its presence in Katanga. More than 400,000 people have been displaced, and Mai-Mai rebels have burnt down more than 60 villages in the region since September 2013.
The FARDC has been engaged in fighting the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)—a Ugandan Islamist rebel group—in North Kivu since January. According to the DRC, 22 FARDC soldiers and 230 ADF rebels have been killed in the fighting thus far. Kobler has identified the ADF as a priority for MONUSCO, along with the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel group.
Human Rights-Related Developments
During its 25th session in March, the Human Rights Council will hold a high-level dialogue on the lessons learned from and the continuing challenges in combating sexual violence in the DRC to allow countries in conflict and post-conflict situations share their experiences.
The key issue for the Council is to renew MONUSCO’s mandate, including the intervention brigade with modified tasks to focus more specifically on the ADF, FDLR and Mai-Mai groups.
A continuing issue is maintaining engagement with the DRC to closely oversee MONUSCO, in particular the transition of its operations from western to eastern DRC and the operations of the intervention brigade.
Another key issue is to ensure the implementation of the PSC Framework at the national and regional levels.
Options for the Council include:
- renewing MONUSCO’s mandate, including the mandate of the intervention brigade;
- specifying the tasks of the intervention brigade to address threats posed by specific armed groups, such as the ADF and the FDLR; and
- calling on MONUSCO to further expand the transition of its activities to the east.
Council members are hopeful that the recent military achievements against the M23 will be followed by a political process. Several Council members are of the view that at this point much focus should be given to national reforms, the reintegration of former rebels and the establishment of state authority.
Council members are in general agreement that the intervention brigade, though it only engaged directly with the M23 on a few occasions, played a significant role in the FARDC’s military success against the M23. This success, along with the lack of progress on establishing a DRC rapid-reaction force to eventually replace the intervention brigade, will likely result in the renewal of the brigade’s mandate for another year. Rwanda, with the support of some Council members, will likely push for the mandate to include strong language on the FDLR, in particular with respect to the priorities of the intervention brigade.
France is the penholder on the DRC.
UN Documents on the DRC
|Security Council Resolutions|
|30 January 2014 S/RES/2136||This resolution renewed the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.|
|28 March 2013 S/RES/2098||This resolution renewed MONUSCO’s mandate—including an intervention brigade to neutralise rebel groups in eastern DRC—until 31 March 2014.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|14 November 2013 S/PRST/2013/17||This presidential statement called for the swift conclusion and implementation of a final and comprehensive agreement that provides for the disarmament and demobilisation of the March 23 (M23) rebel group and accountability for human rights abusers.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|13 January 2014 S/PV.7094||This was a briefing of the Security Council on the situation in the DRC by Special Representative Martin Kobler and Special Envoy Mary Robinson.|
|23 December 2013 S/2013/773||This was a report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region.|
|17 December 2013 S/2013/757||This was a report of the Secretary-General on MONUSCO.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|22 January 2014 S/2014/42||This was the final report of the Group of Experts of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.|
|19 July 2013 S/2013/433||This was the interim report of the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee.|
Other Relevant Facts
Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
Martin Kobler (Germany)
MONUSCO Force Commander
Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (Brazil)
MONUSCO Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
Strength as of 31 December 2013: 21,198 troops (including 526 military observers and 1,299 police), 998 international civilian personnel, 2,970 local civilian staff and 573 UN volunteers.
Approved budget (1 July 2013-30 June 2014): $1.46 billion
Mission Duration: July 2010 to present