Delegate Name: Maya Comer
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
MONUSCO – Peacekeeping Efforts in the DRC
Maya Comer, Greenhills School
The situation in the eastern provinces of the DRC is dire. Dozens of militant groups, both Congolese and Rwandan, control large swaths of territory. Neither the Congolese government nor the Security Council’s specialized MONUSCO mission have made significant gains in the decades-long conflict. A shocking 5.7 million civilians have been internally displaced, with an additional 1 million who have fled to neighboring countries. Additionally, MONUSCO has reported an average of 400 human-rights abuses per month, with indiscriminate killing of civilians, arbitrary arrests, and sexual abuse the most common violations. Despite MONUSCO training programs, roughly 15% of recorded human-rights abuses are committed by Congolese police forces. Many of these are the result of the arrest and detainment of peaceful protesters. Programs to provide humanitarian aid to affected civilians have floundered due to chronic underfunding. The United Nations reported that only 43% of the requested $1.88 billion fund was provided in 2022. Additionally, the government of the DRC was only able to provide $1.5 million for its Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery, & Stabilization Programme.
The nation of Ghana stands with the other members of the UNSC to call for an immediate end to the violence. During Ghana’s stint on the Security Council, the resolutions it has co-wrote have addressed issues ranging from ecological preservation to free and fair elections. However, similar past resolutions have failed to implement meaningful change. There are multiple reasons for this. Most glaringly, as stated above, the scale of the humanitarian crisis vastly outweighs the funding provided for aid. Additionally, anti-MONUSCO protests have broken out among civilians who mistrust the mission. Some protesters appear concerned with a lack of transparency regarding the mission’s goals, while others think the United Nations’ efforts to ensure free and fair national elections have, paradoxically, lessened their legitimacy. UN-backed peacekeeping forces and Congolese military action have not made significant territorial gains against rebel groups, leading to deadlocked bloody stagnation. While the MONUSCO mission has faced many shortcomings, it also has reported small-scale success. 44 armed groups have signed a declaration to ban child soldiers. The Tanganyika province is back in the hands of the Congolese government. UN programs to train business owners and agricultural workers have contributed to an improved economy. More and more women are directly participating in peace negotiations or serving as soldiers and police officers.
The first order of business for the UN is to raise more funding for MONUSCO. Many of the active crisis responses are limited by budget. Most countries’ monetary contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts are roughly proportional to their GDP. However, India, the world’s 5th-largest economy, does not even make the top 10 for contributions. Persuading India to increase its donation is essential to expand MONUSCO programs. Additionally, the military situation in rebel-occupied provinces may benefit from re-evaluation. The current hybrid strategy of holding land by force while attempting peace talks does not work. With the discretion of the Congolese government, Ghana proposes either an expanded military operation to re-take occupied land or a concerted de-escalation effort with peace talks and deradicalization programs. The current financial situation of the crisis has prevented MONUSCO from simultaneously tending to the harm (militant group conflict) and the symptoms (the resulting humanitarian crisis). An expanded budget will allow a multifaceted approach to easing the crisis. Ghana supports outreach campaigns to educate the public on MONUSCO efforts, which will ideally increase collaboration between citizens and peacekeeping personnel. Ghana firmly believes that the crisis in the DRC can be alleviated through collaboration with the Congolese government and the United Nations Security Council.
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