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UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Reflections on MONUSCO and Its Contradictory Mandate

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Both because the United Nations (UN) spectacularly failed in Rwanda and because of the close links between the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the continuing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) – formerly the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) – constitutes an important test-case for UN peacekeeping. However, since MONUSCO is ongoing, it is too early to assess whether or not it has passed this test. This article, however, focuses on a particular issue that may ultimately cause the mission to fail, namely contradictions within its ever-expanding mandate. It argues that MONUSCO itself is helping to fuel these tensions through its flawed approach to one of the key components of its mandate, namely DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration) and DDRRR (disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration). It thus suggests how MONUSCO might revise its approach to these processes, particularly through a more ‘bottom-up’ focus that engages directly with local communities and with former combatants as individuals.


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