The Suffering of the Democratic Republic of Congo
People all around the world are suffering. Their suffering is something we should be working on, but the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to take up much of of the UN’s time and physical resources. The typical family structure for the Congolese is the nuclear family. The dynamic of the nuclear family structure is the extended family living in the same household. The extended family includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, and sometimes extended family can even include those that are not biologically related.
In 1960, when Congo became independent from the harsh rule of Belgian King—Leopold II—their recently appointed president, Joseph Kasavubu, and Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, were not ready to rule a nation that had been left neglected, uneducated, and unfit to govern for such a long time (BBC News). There was much rebellion and the UN Security Council attempted to help by sending troops, but their lack of freedom to intervene in the internal affairs of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) left them unable to help to their full potential. Eventually, Prime Minister Lumumba was murdered in hopes to bring the DRC’s government closer together without rivaling governors (The Guardian).
Joseph Kasavubu and the new Prime Minister left in rule were eventually overthrown by the dictator, Joseph Mobuto, in 1965. He was a poor leader and made wrong decisions for his personal gain that in exchange damaged the Congolese economy. Rwanda, who had been experiencing its own internal turmoil of Tutsi versus the Hutu natives, had experienced the victory of the Tutsi leading to their domination of Rwanda government. Meanwhile, the losing force, the Hutu, fled to Eastern DRC for refugee. Eventually, Laurent Desire Kabila was put in charge when Mobuto fled to escape punishment for his crimes (BBC).
Laurent Kabila began to view Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda as a threat after Rwanda had tried to take control of their capital, Kinshasa in fear of being invaded by the Hutus who lived in the DRC. The DRC, along with the support of Angola and Namibia fought a long time against the three countries until the Lusaka peace treaty was signed. The political problem became one of resources for DRC’s rich resources such as gold and diamonds. The Rwandan sides fought to take some of DRC’s resources, but the DRC’s army fought back. This was a time of complete violence and disorder, which ended in Laurent Kabila’s assassination.
A Ceasefire Agreement, as mentioned in Resolution 1258,was established and later signed afterwards in an attempt to create ephemeral peace. The resolution additionally established a UN peacekeeping force that would monitor the DRC’s progress of peace. The resolution clearly worked, so in the next resolution—1273—the peacekeeping force time was extended. In the resolution after that, Resolution 1279, the force was given the name, MONUC, and re-extended due to the continuing success in 1999. It was later renamed MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and re-extended in 2010 (UN MONUSCO).
Although there has been significant progress in DRC, now the problems remain in stabilizing its government and economy, dealing with rebels, managing the mineral resources, educating. A part of the problem is only being made worse by the rebel group—some of which have become peaceful and are going through a reintegration process. The rebel groups were supported by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese government. “The combination of persistent violent armed conflicts, massive populations displacements, poor or inexistent infrastructures, and widespread deterioration of productive assets have significantly affected food security in the DRC over the past two decades. Hunger in the DRC is increasing at an alarming rate. Severe food insecurity afflicts 7.7 million, which is an increase of 30 percent in the past year as a result of these conflicts. Food insecurity is when any aspect of accessibility to nutrient rich food is compromised. What we call the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) level in the country is on average 10.7%. According to the World Health Organization, when GAM rates exceed 10%, the situation is deemed as “alarming”. About 43% of all children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished and show signs of growth retardation. About 3 million children suffer from emaciation and are alarmingly thin. About 2.5 million women of childbearing age are emaciated. One in ten person living in the rural areas in the DRC are in a situation of food security and livelihood crisis” (Food Security).
Although they are separated through bodies of water, The United States of America located in North America strongly wants to help the DRC in Africa become a better nation. The U.S.A Bureau of African Affairs states, “U.S. foreign policy in the D.R.C. is focused on helping the country become a nation that is stable and democratic, at peace with its neighbors, extends state authority across its territory, and provides for the basic needs of its citizens”. The Bureau also states that the U.S.A is the largest donor to the UN stabilization mission (a.k.a. MONUSCO)
Currently, the U.S.A. is aiding DRC by exporting food, machinery, and medicine whilst importing their oil. The U.S.A. firmly believes in a representative democracy with classical liberation which in essence to give personal freedom. As the U.S.A. is a very powerful nation with one of the world’s best economies and a GDP 17.42 trillion, the U.S.A. believes they have great advice to offer to DRC and will help however they can to establish DRC into a better nation. The U.S.A. has great alliances with it’s neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, but also many more countries around the world. On that aspect, the U.S.A. hopes to help DRC solve its conflicts or at least achieve peace with one of its neighboring country, Rwanda.From their years and years of experience, the U.S.A. hopes to offer its knowledge and sagaciousness in order to complete a resolution that will help the DRC achieve peace, have more authority, provide better for the basic needs.
Resolutions such as 1258 have worked, and the U.S.A. believes the solutions such as implementing peacekeeping forces to help DRC deal with rebels and having a ceasefire agreement are essential and should continue to happen. Peace with other countries is essential in order for the DRC to move its thoughts away from war to dealing with its more internal conflicts. One huge internal conflict that must be dealt with first is the rebel groups (such as M23). Some rebel groups were supported by Rwanda because Rwanda—influenced by influential Tutsis—wanted to get revenge and suppress the Hutus to make sure they are not a threat to the Tutsis. Although Rwanda support for rebel groups has decreased due to negative effects such as getting less financial aid the U.S.A. believes that Rwandan support for rebel groups must cease to exist. If not, the U.S.A. suggests for donors to cut financial aid as before.
To deal with the rebels, the U.S.A. believes that force should only be used in stipulating or extenuating circumstances such as were a citizen’s life is at risk. Rebels that give themselves over to Congolese authorities should be tried, as they have been before, and only if they are not guilty of war crimes, they may be granted amnesty and citizenry and reintegration (BBC). The rebels, however, would be monitored closely by the peacekeeping forces of MONUSCO, and at the sign of old habits such as rebellion or crime, the rebel would immediately suffer consequences to a certain degree. If the rebels disagree to such circumstances, the U.S.A. believes that the rebels must leave the DRC in order to rid of more possible crime-committers into the Congolese society.
Once the rebel problem is solved, the U.S.A. hopes to help the DRC establish better education, protection, and nourishment for all of their citizens through exports, establishment of more programs similar to those of Action Kivu and CAMME, donations, and its advice (Action Kivu). The U.S.A. is strongly invested in the DRC’s future and hopes to see it become a great, organized, balanced nation that takes into account the lowest of people who need help to the highest of people who can help.
Millions of people have died overall. In just DRC, 2.8 million people were displaced and many more millions are food insecure (Security-General Report). The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a huge toll on the world and the MDGs. It is time to act now. The United States of America hopes that through its and other countries’ knowledge—gathered from past UN Resolutions, treaties, and country experiences—the member countries of the Security Council shall be able to work together in order to establish a resolution that takes into account every aspect of the situation in DRC, from history in the roots of the problems, to where the problem is now.
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