By Simon Farnsworth
Imagine for a second that you are a resident of Goma, a city in the far east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Imagine the fear surging through you as well armed rebel troops surrounded the city you call home.
Now picture how that fear intensified as the M23 rebels began firing missiles into Goma, destroying the soul of the city and threatening your very existence.
You’re scared that your nations poorly trained, ill-disciplined troops won’t be able to hold back the rebel advance but then you remember the UN mission that is sworn to protect you as a citizen is also in Goma.
Surely the one million residents of Goma had nothing to worry about with MONUSCO, the UN’s biggest and costliest peacekeeping mission, there to protect them? After all there are some 16,000 UN troops stationed in DR Congo. More than enough to beat back any rebel advance and save the citizens from new violent rulers.
With that level of protection supporting the people of Goma, surely they would be safe? Surely?
MONUSCO just stood by and let the 1,000 or so rebels march into Goma and lay claim to the economic jewel of eastern DR Congo.
This passivity is an absolute abomination of basic human rights and all because of an ineffective UN mandate.
MONUSCO’s mandate is to protect civilians if they are threatened with violence and with the DR Congo troops fleeing Goma the rebels marched triumphantly into the city, waltzing past the blue hats without firing a single shot.
Surely, although they weren’t firing their weapons, they still carried a severe threat of violence to the citizens of Goma? Did the mortar fire of the previous days suddenly count for nothing? Are we to believe these are peaceful machine gun wielding rebels? The sheer stupidity of the UN’s actions is astonishing.
The very mission they were there to do has been scuppered by red tape. They were there to protect the people of Goma yet when trouble arose they jumped in their white trucks and sped past the fleeing people they swore to protect.
It’s astonishing how this has been allowed to happen. It’s the UN, the very body sworn to protect acts of terrible violence from occurring. Such ridiculous action needs to be addressed as soon as possible yet it is too late for the people of Goma who are adjusting to life in hastily assembled refugee camps or to life under new rulers.
Featured imaged used under Creative Commons can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sicutat/2780753603/