Thursday, July 10, 2014

D.R.C.: North Kivu’s Long, Rocky Road to Stability

Source: Refugees International
North Kivu’s Long, Rocky Road to Stability

The deployment of the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade and the expulsion of the M23 rebel group have led many to herald a new era of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province. Yet much of the province remains unsafe, many humanitarian needs are not being met, and stability over the long-term is far from guaranteed.

A multitude of armed groups are still active, and clashes between them and UN and Congolese forces have led to displacement and human rights violations. The UN’s much-touted “Islands of Stability” concept has also been poorly implemented, alienating many humanitarian actors. All of this is taking place in a difficult humanitarian context, with substantial funding shortfalls, growing pressure for the return of displaced people, and inadequate support for those who have gone home. A clear-eyed approach to North Kivu will be needed for the international community to tackle these challenges and preserve its hard-won gains.

  • Donors should increase funding for humanitarian programs in North Kivu while simultaneously funding transition and development programs.
  • The Humanitarian Country Team, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONSUCO), and the Great Lakes special envoys must maintain the position that all refugee and IDP returns must be voluntary and based on international law.
  • No further Islands of Stability should be established and the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy should be the framework that guides all stabilization activities.
  • MONUSCO should play a more proactive role in protecting civilians from abuses by the Congolese army (FARDC) during joint operations, and the Force Commander should encourage MONUSCO troops on the ground to pressure FARDC offenders to halt actions that violate international humanitarian and human rights law.
  • A civilian risk mitigation advisor should be placed in the Force Commander’s office to strengthen the contingency planning process.
Michelle Brown and Michael Boyce assessed humanitarian and protection efforts in North Kivu Province in May 2014.