I don’t know of, nor do I have any hope for, another way to be protected.” – A 40-year old man shared his opinion of MONUSCO with CIVIC in Pinga, Democratic Republic of Congo

Insecurity and violence against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is on the rise as the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, delays national elections and his commitment to step down from power. Despite the fragile situation on the ground, in 2017, the UN Security Council reduced the budget and troop levels of the UN peacekeeping operation in the DRC, known by the acronym MONUSCO. In part because of the cuts, MONUSCO expedited plans to decrease its permanent presence in some areas and aims to protect civilians through more mobile deployments, a model referred to as “protection through projection.”

Following the cuts, CIVIC’s peacekeeping program researched the impact that the operation’s shrinking presence and reduced resources could have on MONUSCO’s ability to protect civilians. The research culminated in CIVIC’s report “Protection with Less Presence: How the Peacekeeping Operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Attempting to Deliver Protection with Fewer Resources.” Following its 2017 report, “From Mandate to Mission: Mitigating Civilian Harm in UN Peacekeeping Operations in the DRC,” CIVIC has also continued to monitor how MONUSCO is taking steps to reduce harm that could result from its military operations, including joint operations with state security actors.

In 2019, CIVIC will continue efforts to strengthen MONUSCO’s ability to protect civilians, focusing on three issues:

  • How MONUSCO’s planning and decision-making is linked to threat-based analysis;
  • How the UN Secretariat, Member States, and MONUSCO are improving the peacekeeping operation’s performance and accountability; and
  • How MONUSCO is implementing efforts to mitigate harm to civilians that could result from its own operations and joint operations with state security forces.
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Image courtesy of MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti