Democracy and civil society groups are demanding urgent action to address the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the DRC army, the FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo), are largely responsible for egregious human-rights violations in North and South Kivu, including widespread rape and sexual violence.
Human rights groups, including grantees of the National Endowment for Democracy, have welcomed the recent extension of the United Nations mandate in DRC, but demanded that the UN Organization Mission (MONUC) give greater priority to protecting civilians and human rights defenders.
NED grantees have stressed that the UN Security Council resolution extending the mandate highlights the urgent need for the DRC government and MONUC to end violations of human rights and bring perpetrators to justice.
The government should also ensure that human rights defenders are protected and given the necessary “democratic space” to operate, says the African Association of Human Rights (ASADHO), one of Africa’s leading – and internationally-recognized – human rights monitoring organizations, and fellow NED grantees Groupe Lotus and the League of Electors (Ligue des Électeurs).
The groups intend to monitor the DRC’s compliance the UN resolution’s urging that Kinshasa develop “sustainable security sector institutions which fully respect the rule of law, and to ensure respect for human rights and the fight against impunity by strengthening the capacity of the judicial and correctional systems.”
The United Nations and its member states have proven to be “weak” and “ineffective” in enforcing sanctions or implementing resolutions against states and non-state actors involved in the DRC war and other resource-driven conflicts, a new report contends.
“The lack of a coherent and committed international approach to tackling the role of natural resources in conflict is costing lives…. and heightening the risk of further unrest in other fragile states such as Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea,” according to Lessons UNlearned, a report from Global Witness.
At least 40 percent of civil wars during the last 60 years have been fought either over natural resources or sustained by revenues from valuable minerals and commodities, according to UN estimates. The report draws on case studies of Angola, Cambodia, DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, to identify the “vested interests” of developed states, including Security Council members, as a major factor in resource-based conflicts.