Via Change.org, Amnesty International is circulating a petition for the Security Council to approve reinforcements for the embattled peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of course, what pressuring the Security Council really comes down to is pressuring key member states. For those of us in the United States, the petition gives the option of sending the following email/letter to Secretary of State Rice, US-UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer, and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Brian Cook.
I am deeply concerned that the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. While a long-term solution is necessary, the priority should be reinforcing the capacity of the UN’s peacekeeping force, Mission des Nations Unies en Republique Démocratique du Congo (MONUC), to protect civilians and to ensure people have access to humanitarian assistance. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council the United States should utilize its leadership to support MONUC.
MONUC remains the only force capable of providing meaningful protection to civilians. The UN Security Council should send immediate assistance to MONUC in the form of additional troops, intelligence-gathering capabilities, air support and other equipment. Only then will the UN peacekeepers be able to forestall armed group attacks against civilian populations, safeguard humanitarian operations and enforce the UN arms embargo on the DRC, in line with its mandate.