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Trivia and Discussion: MONUC withdrawal from Congo?

Trivia: Give two repercussions of the UN’s impending withdrawal from Eastern DRC.


Why is the UN considering pulling out of DRC?

What are the likely immediate effects of their withdrawal on the civilian population?

Will the UN’s withdrawal necessarily point DRC in a direction to peace?

Discussion guide

Earlier this year, President Joseph Kabila called on the 20,000 UN troops in Eastern Congo to withdraw and let the country ‘fly with its own wings’. The UN mission, code named MONUC, has operated in Eastern Congo since 1999 with the aim of protecting civilians and enforcing the cease fires between the government army and rebel groups.

Kabila’s desire is that MONUC leaves by June 30th 2011, but negotiations with the MONUC chief Alain Le Roy yielded an extension to August 2011. The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon doesn’t endorse this move, arguing that MONUC needs to remain in the fragile regions like Kivu until enough national army units have been trained well enough to take over from where MONUC will leave off.

MONUC recap
  • Started in 1999 to enforce a cease fire between the government forces and rebel groups, during the 1998 – 2002 round of conflict
  • Supported DRC’s reunification and its 2006 democratic elections which Kabila won
  • Has since worked on training some units of the national army, FARDC, and integrating disarmed rebels in the same
  • In January 2009 joined forces with FARDC to make a final assault (Operation Kimia II) on the FDLR
  • MONUC soldiers can be given credit for protection of a good number of civilians whose lives might have been in more danger in the absence of MOUC
  • But MONUC has also been blamed for supporting a faulty national army which preys on civilians through rape and robbery like the rebels, and for provoking (through Kimia II) a harsh wave of violence from the FDLR which sent 800,000 people into flight by August 2009
  • Read more about MONUC here.
What needs to be considered
  • DRC’s sovereignty vs civilian safety, if it is deemed that MONUC has indeed achieved a considerable level of security in Eastern Congo
  • Could the UN’s withdrawal mean the beginning of another dreaded wave of violence, death and flight, or is DRC ready to take on the task?

-Sharon Muhwezi, National Congo Education Coordinator

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