Tag: <span>M23</span>

Democratic Republic of Congo Appeals

Democratic Republic of Congo: Sky Getting Darker.

Photo by  jorono,  Pixabay.

The armed conflict in the eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) on the frontier with Rwanda seems to be growing worse and is impacting in a negative way the lives of people. The current fighting adds to the insecurity of the area and has virtually stopped cross-frontier activities largely done by women small traders. As a result, the price of existing food supplies has increased greatly, and shortages are to be feared.

The current armed conflict is among a Tutsi-led militia, the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23), the forces of the RDC government and different ethnic militias. The President of the RDC, Felix Tshisekedi, sponsored the creation of local militias to help government soldiers, but the government does not control these militias. The United Nations (UN) Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) which has been in the RDC since 1999 is the largest UN peacekeeping force with some 15,000 members.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on the margins of the NATO Ministerial at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., in Washington, D.C., on April 3, 2019. [State Department photo by Michael Gross/ Public Domain]. By U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Helmet Icon of United Nations Peacekeeping Logo. By United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

A theoretical UN sponsored arms embargo.

However, it has been unable to halt the fighting or to protect civilians. In fact, the area of conflict has grown and engendered a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, causing the displacement of more than one million civilians in North Kivu Province. The M23 has recently launched attempts to win allies in South Kivu Province, in particular the armed group Twirwaneko, with the objective of opening a front in South Kivu.

The government of Rwanda has become increasingly involved in the Kivu conflict with direct intervention by the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) and, despite a theoretical UN sponsored arms embargo, with weapons and other military equipment. The M23 is also fighting against the Forces démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) a Hutu-led group hostile to the government of Rwanda.

Non-State actors and armed militias such as those in the RDC.

Recent attacks by M23 on populations associated with, or presumed to support the FDLR, have grown. Incidents of rape, including gang rape, by M23 combatants are prevalent but are not limited to the M23. The armed conflict is colored by a tense political situation with general elections, most significantly a presidential election, scheduled for December 2023.

The increased violence indicates the need for local non-governmental peacebuilding efforts which can be also facilitated by international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). There is also a greater need to build respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL). When the framework of current IHL as drafted in the 1948 Geneva Conventions in light of the experiences of World War II, the focus was upon the actions of national armies. Today, much violence and strife is due to non-State actors and armed militias such as those in the RDC.

There are two major weaknesses in the effectiveness of IHL.

  1. The first is that many people do not know that it exists and that they are bound by its norms. Thus, there is an important role for greater educational activities, the dissemination of information to the wider public, specific training of the military, outreach to armed militias, and cooperation with a wide range of NGOs.
  2. The second weakness is that those violating IHL are rarely punished. Few soldiers are tried or court-martialed. This weakness is even more true for non-state militias and armed groups. There is yet much to do for the realization of the rule of law.

Note.

  1. For useful guides to International Humanitarian Law see: D. Schindler and J. Toman, The Laws of Armed Conflict (Martinus Nihjoff Publishers, 1988).
  2. H. McCoubrey and N.D. White, International Law and Armed Conflict (Dartmouth Publishing Co. 1992).

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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Congo Apelaciones

Nubes Oscuras Sobre El Este Del Congo.

Imagen destacada: Foto por Flow Clark, en Unsplash.

Por si no hubiera ya suficientes tensiones en la República Democrática del Congo (RDC), hay un recrudecimiento de los combates desde mediados de octubre en la provincia de Kivu del Norte, siendo Goma la ciudad central. El conflicto armado actual es entre una milicia liderada por tutsis, el M23, y las fuerzas del gobierno de RDC.

El gobierno estima que unas 200.000 personas han sido desplazadas. El presidente de la RDC, Felix Tshisekedi, ha pedido la creación de milicias locales para ayudar a los soldados del gobierno. La Misión de Estabilización de las Naciones Unidas en el Congo (MONUSCO), que ha estado en la República Democrática del Congo desde 1999 y es la mayor fuerza de mantenimiento de la paz de la ONU con unos 15.000 miembros, no ha podido detener los combates y es cada vez más criticada por la población local.

The President of the RDC, Felix Tshisekedi

El Presidente de la República Democrática del Congo, S.E. Sr. Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. Por Quirinale.it, Atribución, vía Wikimedia Commons.

El gobierno de RDC acusa a Ruanda de apoyar al M23, acusaciones que Ruanda niega. En respuesta, el gobierno de Ruanda acusa a la República Democrática del Congo de apoyar a una milicia armada contra Ruanda, las Fuerzas Democráticas para la Liberación de Ruanda (FDLR), una milicia dirigida por hutu. Tanto los tutsi como los hutu están en la República Democrática del Congo desde la lucha contra el genocidio de 1993 en Ruanda. Los combates actuales se suman a la inseguridad de la zona. La lucha también ha detenido en gran medida las actividades comerciales transfronterizas, en gran parte realizadas por pequeñas comerciantes. Como resultado, el precio de los suministros de alimentos existentes ha aumentado considerablemente y es de temer la escasez.

MONUSCO

Rutshuru, Kivu del Norte, RD Congo. Fuerzas Especiales de MONUSCO y unidades de la Brigada de Intervención acercándose a las posiciones de las Fuerzas Democráticas para la Liberación de Ruanda (FDLR) durante una operación conjunta MONUSCO-FARDC. Este tipo de intervenciones que permitieron la destrucción total de las bases de las FDLR y con el objetivo de desbaratar los planes y actividades nocivas del grupo armado continuarán mientras sea necesario. Foto MONUSCO/Fuerza. Por MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, vía Wikimedia Commons.

Los combates han incrementado las tensiones entre Ruanda y la RDC, tensiones que también impactan en las relaciones con Uganda, que ha recibido un buen número de refugiados de la RDC y con Burundi, un país inestable. Hay un inicio de negociaciones Ruanda-RDC en Angola bajo el liderazgo del gobierno angoleño. Sin embargo, la falta de confianza entre Ruanda y la RDC es grande, y sería útil realizar esfuerzos internacionales más amplios. También existe la necesidad de esfuerzos de consolidación de la paz no gubernamentales locales que también pueden ser facilitados por ONG internacionales. La situación requiere mucha atención y, si es posible, una acción rápida.

 

Rene Wadlow, Presidente, Asociación de Ciudadanos del Mundo.

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Congo Appeals

Dark Clouds Over Eastern Congo.

Featured Image: Photo by Flow ClarkUnsplash.

As if there were not already enough tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), there is a renewal of fighting since mid-October in the province of North Kivu, Goma being the central city.  The current armed conflict is between a Tutsi-led militia, M23, and the forces of the RDC government. 

The government estimates that some 200,000 people have been displaced.  The President of the RDC, Felix Tshisekedi, has called for the creation of local militias to help the government soldiers.  The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) which has been in the RDC since 1999 and is the largest U.N. peacekeeping force of some 15,000 members, has been unable to halt the fighting and is increasingly criticized by the local population.

The President of the RDC, Felix Tshisekedi

 The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Mr. Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. By Quirinale.it, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

The RDC government accuses Rwanda of being the backers of the M23, accusations which Rwanda denies.  In response, the Rwanda government accuses the DRC of supporting an anti-Rwanda armed militia, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu-led militia.  Both the Tutsi and the Hutu are in the RDC since the 1993 genocide fighting in Rwanda.  The current fighting adds to the insecurity of the area.  The fighting has also largely stopped cross-frontier commercial activities, largely done by women small traders.  As a result, the price of existing food supplies has increased greatly, and shortages are to be feared.

MONUSCO

Rutshuru, North Kivu, DR Congo. MONUSCO Special Forces and units from the Intervention Brigade approaching Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) positions during a MONUSCO-FARDC joint operation. This type of intervention which allowed the complete destruction of FDLR bases and with the aim of disrupting the armed group’s plans and harmful activities will continue for as long as necessary. Photo MONUSCO/Force. By MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The fighting has increased tensions between Rwanda and the RDC, tensions which also impact relations with Uganda, which has received a good number of refugees from the RDC and with Burundi, an unstable country.  There is a start of Rwanda-RDC negotiations in Angola under the leadership of the Angolan government.  However, the lack of trust between Rwanda and the RDC is great, and broader international efforts would be useful.  There is also a need for local non-governmental peacebuilding efforts which can also be facilitated by international NGOs.  The situation requires close attention and if possible, speedy action.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

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Democratic Republic of Congo - tensions Appeals

Democratic Republic of Congo: Increasing Tensions and Danger of…

Featured Image: Movement militiamen M23 and Type 85 heavy machine gun. By Al Jazeera English, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Despite the presence of some 14,000 United Nations peacekeepers (Monusco) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), instability continues to grow, especially in the North Kivu area at the frontiers with Rwanda and Uganda.

Le Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23).

Recently, there have been violent demonstrations against the U.N. forces accused by some of an unwillingness to fight actively against anti-government armed militias especially Le Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) in North Kivu.  The governmental authorities of the RDC have accused the government of Rwanda of giving support to the M23.  Rwandan army personnel are said to be active in raids along with M23 troops.  There have been reports by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch making the same accusations based on interviews with witnesses and victims.  Tensions between the governments of RDC and Rwanda are growing, and there is a danger of a spillover impact with people using violence on their own.  The RDC government has been  creating its own armed militias in North Kivu but with little control over their activities.

The situation in RDC.

The United Nations Security Council is to take up a report of U.N. experts on the situation in RDC, but it is difficult to see what more can be done.  The Security Council has no operational control over the Monusco peacekeepers. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in both RDC and Rwanda from 10 to 12 August 2022 and no doubt urged calm and cooperation.  It is unclear what else the U.S.A. may have proposed or be willing to do.

Antony Blinken

This is the official State Department photo for Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, taken at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ronny Przysucha/ Public Domain]. By U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Now is the time for concerted action among non-governmental organizations and the U.N. system.

The already unstable and complex situation is likely to become more unstable unless there are strong measures by civil society organizations in RDC, Rwanda, and Uganda.  Such civil society action has been weak or lacking in the past.  Now is the time for concerted action among non-governmental organizations and the U.N. system.  Churches and other religious-based groups are probably the only civil society organizations structured to act relatively quickly  before the wave of disorder grows.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12