While African and UN leaders today discuss the recent spike in violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, civilians continue to suffer on the ground. The unraveling of the fragile ceasefire over the last hours further increased the urgency for the international community to step up its effort to help.
The UN peacekeeping force MONUC remains the last hope of hundreds of thousands of affected civilians, mainly women and children. However, the force is thinly stretched and cannot enforce its mandate of stopping attacks against civilians, protect humanitarian operations and enforce the UN arms embargo. The absolute priority for world leaders now must be to strengthen the peacekeepers’ capacity. And the absolute priority for us is to urge them to act.