Central Africa’s Perilous Polls

By Michael Boyce

The political struggle underway in Burundi has thrust that tiny Central African nation into the global spotlight. Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is seeking a third term despite being limited to two by Burundi’s constitution, and by the terms of a peace deal signed in 2000. Nkurunziza’s supporters maintain that his first term did not count because he was appointed by parliament rather than elected. His political opponents disagree. 

Act Now to Solidify a Rare Victory in the DRC

By Caelin Briggs

After 20 months of shelling, occupation, and displacement, the M23 rebel group announced today that it is ending its insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The announcement comes after months of negotiations in Kampala between M23 and the Congolese government, where little progress was made towards agreeing on terms to end the conflict. Last week, after the talks broke down completely, the government recaptured the M23 stronghold town of Bunagana, and in the following days it steadily pushed M23 from each of its remaining centers of power.

With Civilians Under Threat, MONUSCO Brigade Is Put to the Test

By Caelin Briggs

On Friday morning, the sound of mortar shells could be heard from Mugunga III displaced camp in eastern Congo. For the 160,000 displaced persons living in the Mugunga camps, it carried with it a new threat that comes all too soon after last year’s siege of the nearby town of Goma.

UN’s New Solution for Congo Not Without Risk

By Caelin Briggs

A few minutes ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the creation of an “intervention brigade” within the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

The resolution passed despite a good deal of skepticism on the part of many Council members, and it’s unclear whether the Council is prepared for the potential humanitarian fallout.

Let's Roll Up Our Sleeves and Work for Women's Rights

By Marcy Hersh

If you live in a Western country, you might find it a bit strange – even anachronistic – to devote an entire day to honoring women. Many of my friends here in Washington, DC, feel that all the major battles facing women have already been won.

Congo’s Elderly Act As Caregivers – But Who Will Care for Them?

By Caelin Briggs

Life in a displaced persons camp is not easy. Even for the strongest of the strong, surviving in an insecure and inhospitable camp is both physically and emotionally grueling. But for the elderly, disabled, or ill, the demands of camp life can seem insurmountable.

These individuals – especially those without family members to support them – are often the most vulnerable, and their needs are often overlooked.  

In Congo, Women Face Impossible Choice: Risk Rape, or Go Hungry

By Marcy Hersh
This post originally appeared at UN Dispatch.

What is something that you do no less than ten times every day? Check email? Send a text message? No less than ten times a day, Colette* listens to the story of a woman who has just been raped.

DRC: Picking Up the Pieces After M23's Withdrawal

By Caelin Briggs

This week, an RI team will depart for North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 500,000 people have been displaced by fighting since April. The mission comes shortly after the fall of the provincial capital of Goma, and with 130,000 people now displaced in Goma and its environs, there could not be a more important time to visit the region.

Peacekeeping in the DRC – Time for a Reality Check

By Caelin Briggs

The recent surge of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, culminating in the fall of the provincial capital of Goma to members of the M23 rebel group, is first and foremost a human tragedy. Though M23 has now withdrawn from the city and agreed to peace talks, 130,000 people remain displaced, with many forced to flee from camp to camp in search of safety.

Fall of Goma Shows MONUSCO's Failings

By Caelin Briggs

At 4:00am on Saturday, the rebel group known as M23 attacked the town of Kibumba in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Equipped with new night vision goggles and 120mm mortars, the rebels quickly overwhelmed the Congolese army (FARDC) and United Nations peacekeeping forces defending the town, which sits just outside the provincial capital of Goma.

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