DR Congo

DRC: Report criticises political, military and humanitarian response

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KINSHASA, 25 February (IRIN) - A new report from The Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue criticises the international response to the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), particularly what it perceives as a lack of coordination between the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) and other UN agencies in the country.
The paper, entitled "Politics and Humanitarianism: Coherence in crisis?" includes a case study of the DRC, covering the period from the Lusaka Agreement of 1999 to September 2002.

"Most striking in this case study is the enormous gulf between the scale of the tragedy and the response on every front from the international community," the report states. "The response, whether political, military or humanitarian, has been minimal."

It further states that the consequence of a weak MONUC and non-integrated mission structure was that there was neither a negative nor positive effect on humanitarian space of association with MONUC.

Responding, Nancee Oku Bright, Chief of the Humanitarian Affairs Section of MONUC, called the report "outdated".

"Unfortunately, the report is outdated as far as MONUC's recent interaction with the humanitarian community and support to humanitarian action is concerned," she said.

"Since my arrival in August 2002, we have substantially increased our support to humanitarian action, including monthly deliveries of humanitarian goods for UN and NGO counterparts; a commitment to allow humanitarian counterparts to utilise our logistical resources (planes/boats) as long as it does not interfere with the operations of the mission; increased participation in areas where few humanitarian actors are; back-stopping and supporting OCHA [the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] where [we] can; pressuring for access where we are asked by OCHA or others to do so; and increased participation in joint assessment missions and making MONUC resources available to support such missions," she added.

[For the complete report, which also includes case studies for Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, go to http://www.hdcentre.org/Resources/Documents/Politics%20and%20Humanitarianism.pdf]*

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