UN Admits Failure in DR Congo

November 26, 2009

The UN is admitting failure in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  A new report even claims that UN forces have aggravated the conflict in North and South Kivu provinces with the UN trained Congolese Army and the rebel group the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Richard Dowden of The Guardian writes, “There have been signs that elements of the UN force are going local and also taking to trading minerals and abusing local people.”

But not everyone agrees with the findings.  Reuters South Africa reported Information Minister Lambert Mende as saying such accusations are “really what we can call an exaggeration. If the situation is now worse, what is that based on? How many people were dying before this operation? How many are dying today? he asked, arguing there could have been many more victims of fighting if the offensive had not taken place.”

The FDLR, an ethnic Hutu militia that relocated to the Congo after the 1994 genocide from the neighboring country of Rwanda, continue to wreak havoc in the region.  They have been accused of such crimes as murder, rape, pillaging, and taking advantage of the natural resources of the Congo including smuggling gold.  According to Sky News “Congolese records show only a few kilos of gold are exported legally every year, but the country’s own senate estimates that in reality 40 tonnes a year – worth £743m – gets out.”

It is a troubling problem that continues to fund and fuel the trouble in Central Africa from an international network of buyers from dozens of countries, including the United States and Europe, according to the UN.

The New York Times predicts the new UN report will force the US government to do more, including  “urging Congress to pass legislation that would bar American companies from buying Congo’s “conflict minerals,” which include gold, tin and coltan, a metallic ore used in many cellphones and laptop computers.”

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