United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon launched the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or MONUSCO, July 1 following a resolution passed by the Security Council to authorize the pullout of some 2,000 U.N. military personnel from the African nation.
“The emphasis is on stabilization and consolidating peace,” Ban said July 1 during the introduction of the mission’s new phase in the capital, Kinshasa, yesterday.
Ban assured U.N.’s continued collaboration with DRC “to guide the progressive withdrawal of military peacekeepers in a way that does not jeopardize the gains the country has made.” He also underscored the need to protect civilians, particularly women.
MONUSCO, formerly known as U.N. Organization Mission in DRC, or MONUC, will stay in DRC until June 30, 2011.
MONUC provided military escorts to U.N. agencies such as UNICEF, the World Food Program and the U.N. Population Fund, as well as humanitarian workers “when requested to do so,” said Kevin Kennedy, head of MONUC’s communications team.
“We have a mandate to protect civilians under threat of imminent violence, U.N. personnel, and associate personnel, but within the limits of our capacity of where we are deployed,” Kennedy told Devex.