Countering Violence Against Civilians

UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: The Implications for Peace Enforcement 

In November 2012, troops from the M23 rebel group marched into the city of Goma, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. UN troops sat on the sidelines powerless to turn back the rebel force. It was a clear example of the shortcoming of UN peacekeeping, and it spurred significant changes in the mandates and capabilities necessary for peacekeeping missions. Months later, the UN gave peacekeepers the mandate to take more offensive action to protect civilians. Soon South African attack helicopters were flying combat missions against M23 positions. Within weeks the most powerful rebel group in the area had fallen apart and fled the country.

This new, more aggressive model of peacekeping has the potential to shrink the areas where rebel groups like M23 commit violence against civilians.

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