The militarization of refugees and violence in the great lakes region. a case study of North Kivu (1997-2007)
Muketha, Eunice K
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This study examines the phenomenon of militarization and refugees generated violence in the North Kivu province of DRC, despite the presence of state, regional and international structures. The study set out to examine two objectives: factors underlying militarization of refugees in the Kivus despite the presence of state, regional and international structures; factors underlying the continuity of refugee generated violence in the Kivus despite the state and global structures. The study attributes this to the value derived by varied actors and the consequent weakening of the state in its bid to demonstrate stateness. The essence of existence of state is domination of instruments of violence. Such domination implies presence of state at organizational level, and its ability to legitimize itself. State institutions demand a balance between human resource level and infrastructural resource level. How these are aligned is critical to demonstration of stateness. The converse of the foregoing can only create spaces that are occupied by non-state actors, and in case of Zaire and later DRe, armed refugees. The very presence of these armed refugees is a pointer to apparent weakness of stateness. That armed groups especially refugees can enter sovereign state in presence of state instruments of violence and external actors derive values which constrains their ability to act and their disinterest in doing what is necessary to stem militarization. To the extent that the cost of disarming armed groups is higher than value derived in keeping them around implies the continuity of violence. The study recommends that structural, political and technical reforms should be implemented on Congolese police and army (F ARDC) to enable them to effectively carry out disarmament of FDLR. Secondly, it recommends that the international community must pressure DRC, to end collaborative activities with the FDLR. Thirdly, the study recommends that international donors must further ramp up efforts to encourage FDLR combatants and their dependents to return home-Rwanda. Fourthly, the study recommends that MONUC, should enhance its ability to launch and support offensive operations against the FDLR, in coordination with specially trained Congolese forces. Fifthly, the U.N. Security Council must expand the list of Rwandan exiles for targeted sanctions. Lastly, the international community must support the creation of a mixed chamber within the Congolese Justice system to try crimes against humanity in the Kivus.