WORLDVIEWS

When Is an Attack on UN Peacekeepers a War Crime and When Is It Not?

The recent attack by a militia on the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which seven peacekeepers were killed, highlighted a question that the Security Council has hesitated to confront for years. What are the consequences when UN peacekeeping missions become parties to the conflict? The Security Council responded to the latest attacks on Monusco, as the … Read more

The UN’s Combat Troops in the Congo: ‘They Were Not Supposed to Die’

United Nations peacekeepers working for the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed by a militia in a jungle in North Kivu Province on Nov. 15, leaving seven soldiers dead: six Malawians and one Tanzanian. Ten were injured. Twelve members of the Congolese armed forces were also killed, as national forces and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Violence Against Women Worsens by the Day in the Congo

Justine Bihamba

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been placed on the United Nations Security Council agenda for several decades, in one form or another through various peacekeeping missions. The Council regularly meets on the status of the Congo, with the most recent session occurring on July 26, 2018, concentrating on progress toward scheduled presidential and legislative … Read more

As the UN Strives to Modernize Peacekeeping, the US Still Vows to Cut Funding

As peacekeepers sweat and toil and risk their lives in some of the world’s most lethal settings — South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo — it is incumbent on the United Nations and its 193 members to alleviate the suffering and deaths of troops as fatalities keep rising. In 2017, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … Read more

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GEOPOLITICS

Words Ring Hollow From the UN After Attacks on Peacekeepers

The horrific attack on United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December and the ensuing hours-long battle was a severe blow to one of the UN’s more prized forces, leaving 15 soldiers dead. But the UN was already so concerned with a rise in peacekeeper fatalities — almost … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

For the US, a Tale of Two Human-Rights Violations

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is positioning herself as a champion of human rights. But she appears to be highly selective about which countries or regimes she accuses of committing human-rights abuses. At the same time, she has been pushing hard for cuts to UN peacekeeping missions, which could hurt their … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

UN Is Examining Its Security Policies After Murders in Congo

A board of inquiry looking into major gaps or flaws in United Nations security policies that might have contributed to the murders of two UN experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was set up May 1, according to documents not released to the public yet. The board is to travel to the Congo … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

From the Congo to the UN: ‘Hear the Cries of Women and Girls’

Julienne Lusenge, a Congolese, founded women's groups in her country to help women and girls recover from years of conflict and to inform them about their rights.

In the developed world, women fought and struggled to gain their rights and eventually created a space in which these rights could be expressed. Violence does indeed occur in the developed world, but it cannot be compared to what is happening in countries that are plagued with persistent, systematic conflict. Women in the developed world … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Ironing Out the Kinks in the UN’s New Human-Rights Initiative

BERLIN — In December 2013, Jan Eliasson, the United Nations deputy secretary-general, went on a selling spree. In a series of briefings, he presented a new initiative to UN member states and to the rest of the world. In his address to the General Assembly, Eliasson said, not mincing words: “In improving the way we … Read more

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Russ Feingold on Congo: First, End the Conflict

Feingold boarding US Government plane

Last year marked major progress toward finding a peaceful resolution for the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s achingly long conflict, rooted in decades of civil war, regional incursions, ethnic tensions and resource pilfering. Throughout the many years, women have borne the brunt of the fighting, caught in the crossfire between rival militias and governments and … Read more

UN Peacekeeping Deaths Reach 102 in 2013

Bangladesh peacekeeper at UN headquarters in Mali

The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations tried to maintain calm in many regions in 2013, but none more so than in Africa. In December alone, it lost numerous peacekeepers in three missions on the continent. By year’s end, the department lost 102 peacekeepers, including those who died from accidents and illnesses, and 36 people … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

War Crimes Against Women and Girls Must Be Prosecuted

Three children walk to clean dishes in the Niger river in Gao, Mali.

  There is now overwhelming evidence that conflicts exacerbate pre-existing gender discrimination and put women and girls at heightened risk of sexual, physical and psychological violence. One appalling example of this evidence is the report recently to the Human Rights Council by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which highlights the threat and use … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Congolese Women Grow More Demanding of Local Governments

Collecting firewood at the Kanyaruchinya IDP camp, Congo

A global women’s organization with wide experience in peace-building recently brought together scores of prominent women from six African nations to take well-defined steps for dealing with the root causes of the persistent sexual violence occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Declaring that peace in eastern Congo could bring peace to the entire Great Lakes area of … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Mali Peacekeeping Mission’s New Envoy and Other Appointments

Bert Koenders in Bouake, Ivory Coast

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Albert Gerard Koenders as the first special envoy to Mali under a new peacekeeping mission created by the Security Council in late April. Additionally, the next executive director of the Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate is most likely to be announced soon, with the front-runner being Jean-Paul Laborde … Read more

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Congo Army Rapes Detailed in UN Report as Special Brigade Arrives

UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region visit in Goma

The cycle of sexual violence that has been churning throughout the eastern half of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has refused to stop, despite all the steps the United Nations has taken over decades to end the epidemic. Just last fall, systematic rapes, committed by the Congolese Army, occurred in an area around Minova, … Read more

A New UN Brigade Will Make Combat Moves in Congo

Nyanzale refugee camp children

  For the first time, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution allowing UN troops to go on the offensive in a mission against armed rebels. The combat intervention brigade will operate as part of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco). The … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Mary Robinson, New UN Special Envoy for Central Africa?

Mary Robinson of The Elders

Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, United Nations high commissioner for human rights and philanthropist, is said to be the main candidate for the new United Nations special envoy post for the Great Lakes region in central Africa. The area generally covers Burundi, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and some parts … Read more

Illegal Gold Mining Runs Rampant in Eastern Congo

Internally displaced people in Congo

Gold is now one of the most problematic conflict minerals in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and United Nations Security Council sanctions on the illegal mining of natural resources, including gold, have done little to prevent smugglers from profiting, says a new report from a German foundation. The foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is a … Read more

Congo Miners See Hope While Rebels Sow Unrest

Congo miner

Important progress in controlling the mining of tin, tantalum and tungsten in the troubled eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo has been achieved, says a report from the Enough Project, a Washington nonprofit group focused on Africa. Yet renewed fighting that began in the spring between regional militias and Congolese national troops, who are … Read more

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