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Holidays Bring Nothing to Celebrate in Eastern Congo

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the annual arrival of the holiday season brings with it the sinking realization that no matter the developments of the preceding 12 months, the end of the year will be accompanied by more violence, more sexual assault and more displacement of the civilian populations living in the shadow of the darkly beautiful volcanoes in the Kivu provinces.

This year's tragedy is tinged peacekeeper blue. The world's largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission, MONUC, has now conducted nine months of joint operations with the Congolese army, the FARDC. But that dismal and undisciplined force is excoriated by a cross-section of rights advocates and humanitarian actors as actually corroding rather than improving the situation in the east. ...

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