Ituri conflict linked to illegal exploitation of natural resources

Violence and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ituri District will not end until the government takes control of the extraction of natural resources there, said a newly released special report from the UN Mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC.

"The competition for the control of natural resources by combatant forces, exacerbated by an almost constant political vacuum in the region, has been a major factor in prolonging the crisis in Ituri," said the special report on events in Ituri from January 2002-December 2003.

The report, whose final and official version was made public in August 2004, recommended that the government and the international community need to ensure that full state authority is restored to the DRC's north-eastern district which has been the scene of inter-militia fighting since 1998.

Thee report recommends eight measures necessary for the restoration of peace including continued "robust implementation" of MONUC's mandate under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter (which allows UN troops to use force where necessary).

Other recommendations include: land reform; disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants "beginning with the children"; rebuilding public infrastructure and repairing private housing; information campaigns to encourage the return of communities to their places of origin; and restoration of local conflict management initiatives with the aim of rebuilding trust and reconciliation.

[The full report: pdf Format ]

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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