Talking Point: UN Troops in the Congo
Currently, there are 19,500 UN troops in the DRC. The UN forces have been criticized and accused of numerous wrongs including collusion with business interests, assisting wanted war criminals, looting natural resources, raping local women, and failing to prevent murders in their midst.
In response to this situation, at least two competing positions present themselves:
1) UN troops who commit wrongs should be held accountable for their actions, but UN forces as a whole should remain. Due to their size, resources, international accountability, and mandate for neutrality, UN forces are the best viable option. Their numbers should be increased in order to bring about security. The African Union has argued that as many as 45,000 troops might be needed.
2) The esteemed Congolese scholar Ernest Wamba dia Wamba has argued that the Congolese themselves "expect too much from the international community." There should be a recognition of the UN's limitations. The answer for the DRC is greater self-reliance through the development of Congolese forces.
Questions for further deliberation:
1) What is the best way to hold UN troops accountable and to prevent their corruption?
2) If the DRC were to be entirely self-reliant, how would an adequate army be formed? Who would direct them? Who would arm and pay for them? What would prohibit the army from wrecking its own havoc as the dominant centralized power in the country?
3) In addition to the two positions mentioned, what other positions might there be?
4) What would have to be done in order to eventually demilitarize the DRC?