UK must support UN peace deal for Congo

Published 18 February 2013

Christian Aid is looking to the UK Government to support a peace and security deal for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes.

Eastern DRC has been crippled by a decades-long civil war involving M23 rebels and the DRC armed forces, with some 800,000 people displaced.

Although M23 rebels withdrew from Goma last December, Christian Aid says the conflict is continuing with indiscriminate attacks on civilians and attempts by armed groups to expand control over mineral-rich territory.

It also says there have been "no tangible results" from ongoing peace negotiations between the DRC government and M23 rebels.

The development agency is disappointed that the deal stalled at an African Union Summit last month but is hoping for a better outcome when leaders meet once again next week.

The UN-mediated deal aims to strengthen governance in the DRC and reform the army, police, judicial sector and electoral system.

Christian Aid's senior policy officer for the Great Lakes Region, Chantal Daniels said the deal needed the strong support of the UK and international community, including financial support to carry through the reforms.

She also called for a broad and inclusive dialogue involving civil society to establish a "coherent and shared vision for peace and security".

Leaders are also considering the deployment of an enforcement unit within the existing UN peacekeeping mission to neutralise armed groups operating in eastern DRC.

Daniels said the development of demobilisation and reintegration packages for rebel soldiers was "necessary" and "urgent".

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