Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
July 27, 2007: The situation
in North Kivu province is considered a
humanitarian disaster, with 600,000
people in dire need of assistance. What makes the situation so desperate in
North Kivu is that all these internally
displaced people (IDPs) are on the move at once. Thus North Kivu is the main focus of UN humanitarian concerns in the
July 26, 2007: While the army
"demobilization and reintegration"
process in Ituri province has had some successes, the program in North Kivu has faced several
setbacks. The chaos in
North Kivu has increased the
already numerous problems UN peacekeepers
confront when trying to integrate former rebels into Congolese Army
units. Five new Congolese Army brigades are being formed from former militia units in North Kivu.
The UN now demands a "zero tolerance policy" for crimes committed by international
troops serving in UN peacekeeping operations. In the past, this mainly had to
do with sexual abuse and sexual
exploitation. However, now the UN has to deal with allegations (supported by
evidence) that Pakistani peacekeepers
sold weapons to rebels in exchange for
gold. The UN expects the governments
contributing peacekeeping troops to discipline the criminals. Though
there are good reasons to suspect some governments
will be lax in prosecuting miscreants, a
number of nations will enforce the rules. UN duty is looked upon as a "quality assignment" by many
militaries. One reason is the pay is good. The international recognition also
brings prestige to senior officers.
July 23, 2007: The UN is being
accused of "white-washing" an investigation into claims that UN peacekeepers
sold guns to Congolese rebels in exchange for gold and cash.
July 17, 2007: The Democratic
Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) denied claims that it has been
involved in smuggling deals with UN peacekeepers from India.