A UK charity operating in Democratic Republic of Congo has warned that the peace deal signed by leaders from the region is bound to fail unless it’s followed by real actions.
The agreement signed on Sunday by leaders and representatives of 11 countries in the Great Lakes region is expected to lead to the establishment f a special UN intervention brigade in eastern DR Congo.
But Philippa Crosland-Taylor, Deputy Regional Director for Oxfam, has said that the millions of people in the east of the DRC would continue to suffer from effects of the conflict unless the leaders in the region stick to the peace deal and confront issues such as ethnicity, land, and development.
The agency said the agreement signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, is a positive step at a critical moment, but falls short of what is needed to halt decades of conflict. It explained that the real work about the peace deal would begin after the signing in villages across eastern DR Congo, where leaders must prove it is more than a ceremonial piece of paper.
Oxfam also called on the national civil society to play a key role in shaping the details as the process moves ahead, and hold their governments accountable to what they have signed. There has been concern that so far the framework has not involved the civil society. Oxfam also called for regular dates to be set where United Nations and African Union envoys report back on the progress made.
On Sunday, leaders and representatives from eleven African countries comprising Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, South Africa and South Sudan signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region.
Edward Ssekandi, Uganda’s Vice President represented President Yoweri Museveni at the ceremony. Museveni could not attend as he was burying his father, Mzee Amos Kaguta, who died on Friday aged 97.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General urged the signatories to meet at least twice a year, on the sidelines of the AU Summits and in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly to review progress on the implementation of the Framework and agree on the way forward.
He said he would also brief the UN Security Council about the peace pact adding that he expects the Council to make a decision over the situation soon.
The signing of the framework agreement was initially due on January 28 but failed after the leaders disagreed on the operation of the proposed military brigade of the UN backed force to engage the rebels.
Some countries had argued that the UN peace-keeping force currently in DRC has failed to do its work and they proposed an African Union force instead.