A really bad idea

There seems to be a great deal of mutterings about the much-criticised United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Monuc – pulling out of the country altogether.

Whilst, as readers of this blog will appreciate, I am not much of a fan of the UN, fearing that, in many places, it does as much harm as good. And in those countries where it is really needed – such as Somalia – it dare not set foot.

But, still, it has some good points. Sometimes, of course, you just have to look really, really hard.

Of course, in the DRC, Monuc has recently been savaged – by journalists and human rights groups alike – for using the Congolese army as a way of maintaining peace in the east of the country. The very same army that counts Jean-Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the ICC for war crimes, among its number. The very same army which stands accused of raping and pillaging in the east of the country.

Such criticism is not entirely unfair and points to some of the problems in the way in which the UN operates around the world. The UN more-or-less muddles along in countries which are relatively stable, but finds it really quite hard to cope in certain other places.

Alain Le Roy, the UN under secretary, said that he wants most of the peacekeepers out of the country by June and all peacekeepers, to include those still in the troubled east of the country, out by the presidential elections next year.

His announcement came shortly after a meeting with Joseph Kabila, apparently, so one can deduce who is putting on the pressure.

The problem is that the DRC is far from stable and – unlike its neighbour, Uganda, which, after years of internal war, is finally at peace – the east of the country continues to suffer from sporadic outbursts of violence, some of them quite worrying.

Recently, we ran an article that suggested there was a very real danger of war returning to the east of country, which may yet prove to be correct. On top of that, you have some suggestions that the notorious Lord’s Resistence Army (LRA) have been stirring up all sorts of trouble in the DRC.

Now would certainly not be a good time for the UN to talk about withdrawing from the DRC, especially in light of the 2011 election coming up.

The UN is perhaps the most inefficient publicly-funded body in the world, but it does have its uses. It should make sure it doesn’t shirk its responsibility at every turn.

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One Response to “A really bad idea”

  1. thesocialcartographer Says:

    I agree that the UN doesn’t do all it fess it will but also that is important to have around. Not so much because it does great things but because it “can” do great things. It seems that everyone is aware of the problems that the UN has but no one is while to tackle it. A few years ago there was this big UN reform campaign that seems to have pretty much died. For the UN when things get tough, the UN leaves. Look at Rwanda in 1994, Somalia in 1992.

    And in the case of Somalia. The UN has the obligation to intervene even though Bi Ki Moon insist that they don’t. I actually think that there is something about Darfur and DRC that makes it attractive to go into while a country like Somalia that nobody understands (and people except that they don’t understand) holds no interest for intervention. It has no connection with having “peace to keep” and it has all to to with political will.

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