Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Striking Gold: How M23 and Its Allies Are Infiltrating Congo’s Gold Trade

    By Ruben de Koning and the Enough Team, The Enough Project | October 2013 — Gold-smuggling revenues are vital for rebel campaigns in the DRC, allowing militias like M23 to capture and hold vast densely populated areas. A wide range of local partners and international resellers are crucial facilitators of such gold smuggling. Despite the fact that the names of many of these local and international smugglers are known, no sanctions have been brought against them by the United Nations, the United States, or the European Union. Refiners in the United Arab Emirates, where much of the gold is sold, must also play their part in stifling this illegal trade. Meanwhile, the DRC and neighboring countries should expand mineral certification processes to improve oversight of the trade and reduce the proceeds reaching illegal armed groups.

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  • From CNDP to M23: The Evolution of an Armed Movement in Eastern Congo

    By Jason Stearns, Rift Valley Institute | 2012 The M23 militia, which was founded in April 2012 and dismantled in late 2013, was the latest in a series of armed groups to emerge from the Kivu region in the eastern Congo. These rebellions have often enjoyed vital support from the Rwandan government, which has focused attention on condemning and sanctioning such assistance. However, other long-term grievances and ethnic divisions that span the region’s borders have also fostered these movements. Historically, local Tutsi elites and their constituencies have backed armed movements like M23 out of self-interest, ethnic solidarity, and distrust of the Kinshasa government. The Congolese government could better address these interests through security sector and judicial reforms as well as economic integration, thereby minimizing local incentives to support armed rebellions.

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  • Rumors of Peace, Whispers of War: Assessment of the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants into Civilian Life in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri

    By Guy Lamb and Nelson Alusala. Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program, February 2012. Roughly 100,000 combatants have been demobilized over the last decade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many have transitioned into civilian employment in economic sectors for which no assistance or training was provided, demonstrating a strong demand for nonviolent livelihood opportunities. Formal associations developed by ex-combatants that provide a safety net, a source of reassurance, and a networking opportunity have proven critical linchpins to successful transitions to civilian life. Still, recidivism has been high, particularly for militants who integrated into the armed forces where unaddressed marginalization, skewed benefits, and weak promotion potential are incentivizing desertion and militancy. Download the Article: [PDF]
  • Increasing Security in DR Congo: Gender-Responsive Strategies for Combating Sexual Violence

    By Rosan Smits and Serena Cruz. Clingendael Conflict Research Unit, June 2011. Despite significant efforts to combat sexual violence in the DRC, prevalence rates remain among the highest in the world. This is due not only to capacity constraints but also because programs primarily target conflict zones and fail to address violence-prone social constructions common around the country. Treatment must move beyond the “weapon of war” narrative to incentivize male and female empowerment strategies nationwide and strengthen the link between judicial action and gender-related social services. While rape is not strictly a security concern, SSR programs must also address that sexual violence is commonly committed by those in uniform, discrediting security forces and undermining stability. Download the Brief: [PDF]

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