The UN Security Council has authorised the deployment of an intervention brigade within its current peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to address imminent threats to peace and security.
The intervention brigade will carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups posing a threat to peace in the eastern part of DRC – a region prone to cycles of violence and consequent humanitarian suffering.
The objectives of the new force – which will be based in North Kivu province in eastern DRC and total 3 069 peacekeepers – are to neutralise armed groups, reduce the threat they pose to State authority and civilian security and make space for stabilisation activities. At least some South African troops currently deployed at Goma in Eastern DRC are expected to be assigned to the intervention brigade.
The brigade is established within the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) for an initial period of a year, as set out in the resolution adopted unanimously by the Council. The mission’s timeframe ends on March 31 next year.
Resolution 2098 also provides a new mandate for MONUSCO, by which it will support Congolese authorities to protect civilians, neutralise armed groups, and implement key reforms to consolidate peace in the country, particularly in the area of security sector reform and rule of law.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution “which sets out a new, comprehensive approach aimed at addressing the root causes of instability in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region,” his spokesperson said.
“He remains personally committed to helping bring peace and stability to the people of the DRC and the Great Lakes region and will keep working to ensure this remains a top priority for the international community,” the statement added.
Also hailing the resolution was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, who told reporters the text reflected the shared desire of the international community to comprehensively address the root causes of the cycle of violence witnessed in the DRC over nearly two decades.
“I do very much think today could be a significant turning point in the handling of the crisis the DRC has experienced for many years. And at the end of the day, it is about putting an end to the suffering of millions of people.”
The newly-authorised brigade is designed to further support the political objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region – a peace deal signed last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Council demanded that the signatories of the Framework fully implement their commitments in good faith, and called on the newly designated Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, to lead, co-ordinate and assess the implementation of these commitments.