A Window of Opportunity for Reforms in the Congo’s Security Sector?

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Nina Wilén
Centre for Security Governance

The Democratic Republic of Congo has recently witnessed a number of historical events, opening space for a new perspective on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR). The Congolese army, renowned for its extensive human rights violations and inefficiency, underwent a cosmetic facelift directed by President Kabila during the fall of 2013, which contributed to its win against the Rwandan-supported rebel group M23. The United Nation’s new offensive approach, which included the deployment of a Force Intervention Brigade made up of 3,000 regional soldiers, also assisted this change, as did the international community’s increasing pressure on Rwanda to end its support of M23. Together, these events have produced a narrow window of opportunity for reforms in the Congolese security sector while international attention remains in place. As this brief shows, to seize the opportunity, there is a need for renewed and reinforced collaboration between Congolese and international partners. In particular, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has an opportunity to grasp its long awaited role as a coordinator for SSR efforts, a role that ideally also should incorporate the DDR process.

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