Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo/Zaire (DRC) has been seen by many as the definition of a collapsed state, torn by conflicts on regional, national and local levels. DRC won its independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960 but has since suffered a high level of violence and continuing human rights violations. Rebel factions have been fighting the government, fighting each other, attacking civilians and been subjected to infighting. The vast country is rich in natural resources, a fact that have prolonged the conflicts. Following the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the DR Congo was further destabalized and after a 1997 coup, led by the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo), and supported by Rwanda and Uganda, DRC was involved in what is known as Africa's first World War. After years of negotiations the parties concluded a final peace agreement in 2003. In 2006 the first democratic elections in more than 40 years were held, but violence continued.

Last year, the conflict between the government and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) reached war level, with major strikes being executed. The DRC (with the Ugandan government) were supported by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which was established in 2010. Up to 1,000 soldiers, militants, and civilians were killed over the year in the ADF conflict.

The government’s limited wars with Kata Katanga (stemming from 2011), Ituri militia group FRPI (from 1999), and the Mayi-Mayi militias (from 2003), continued last year as well. Inter-militia violence was also high in intensity, remaining at limited war level as over 40 active militias repeatedly clashed with each other.

Also in the DRC in 2015, the conflict in the eastern Katanga province, between Balubakat and Bantu members on one side and ethnic Batwa on the other, continued on the level of a limited war.

Peace attempts

Despite many conflicts intensifying in the last year, the DR Congo has seen several conflicts de-escalate, with one major conflict effectively ending. With the government supported by MONUSCO, the war involving the former rebel group M23, which began in 2004, dramatically de-escalated to a non-violent crisis, following a peace agreement in 2013 and the Nairobi Agreement in 2014. The relative success of the MONUSCO mission saw the Security Council pass a resolution in March, 2015, renewing the mandate for another 12 months and endorsing recommendations made in the Secretary-General's report, but reducing troops by 2,000.

The DR Congo’s territorial conflict with Uganda, which began in 2007, also decreased in intensity last year, dropping to a non-violent conflict and conflict between the DR Congo government and MRAN similarly decreased to a non-violent conflict.

In September 2014 demonstrations on “Peace Day” took place throughout the region, with various humanitarian campaigns (polio vaccinations, distribution of fuel stoves and community events) and a free peace education resource from the DRC Ministry of Education and UNICEF is now distributed across 51,380 primary schools in the DRC.

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