Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Should MONUC be Advertising in the Monitor for Combat Equipment?

MONUC, the United Nations mission in Eastern D.R.C, is a regular target for those that believe the UN is incapable of providing robust peacekeeping forces in conflict areas. Perhaps the most damming criticism came last month from Médecins Sans Frontières:

Shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA, MSF teams do not comprehend the inaction of MONUC forces regarding the protection of civilians. During a November 1, 2008 attack on Dungu, the “Blue Helmets” remained holed up in their base. Furthermore, the MONUC contingent has never intervened to protect people in towns under attack, even as attacks multiplied. The number of UN troops has remained virtually unchanged since their deployment in July 2008, despite the dramatic deterioration of the situation.

Attacks on their professionalism also include allegations of corruption and supplying arms to local militias. In their defence the 17,000 troops are expected to cover a vast area of Eastern DRC with few roads and multiple armed rebel groups. However, it did strike me that a truly professional force would not be advertising for combat equipment in the Daily Monitor.

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