Fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo continues to escalate this week, as civilians face rape, torture, and murder from rebel militias and government forces alike. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes in recent weeks, with a quarter million Congolese newly displaced since August. The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as MONUC, has been unable to protect civilians from the violence.
Last week, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of an additional 3,000 peacekeepers to bolster MONUC. But the deployment will take months – much too long for civilians in eastern DRC to wait without effective protection.
UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, echoing the calls of Congolese community organizations, international experts, and human rights groups, has thrown his support behind a French proposal to send a European “bridging” force to reinforce MONUC until additional UN troops arrive.
European leaders will be meeting this week to discuss the proposal. While France, Belgium, and the UK have backed the plan, other states are reluctant to send troops.
So what can we do?
Avaaz.org is raising money to place advertisements in major European newspapers, urging European governments to support the deployment of an EU bridging force. According to Avaaz, the placement of such an advertisement in the Times of
Click here to donate and help push more European governments to answer the Secretary General’s call for action.
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