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Riz Khan
Riz Khan - DR Congo
Is there an end to Africa's deadliest war? and what is the future for the UN peacekeeping force?
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2009 23:15 GMT



Watch part two

When the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo launched an offensive earlier this year to fight the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), the United Nations supported the operation.

The FDLR has 5,000 to 7,000 fighters and is involved in mass rape, murder, forced recruitments, child soldiers, and using slaves to illegally exploit minerals.

But recently human rights groups have criticised the joint UN - Congolese operation, citing the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the skyrocketing cases of rape along the 500-mile-long battlefield.

The activists say that the DRC's ill-disciplined army is one of the country's worst human rights abusers, and a new report by Human Rights Watch says that both the army and the rebels may be guilty of war crimes.

The UN peacekeepers find themselves stuck with a contradictory mandate: they are required to protect civilians while supporting the same army that may be killing them.

This week the United Nations and Kinshasa struck a deal to end the operation in the next two weeks, but questions remain about hopes for ending "Africa's World War" – and about the future of UN peacekeeping itself.

JOIN THE DEBATE

On Thursday Riz speaks with Marie-Claire Faray-Kele, a Congolese scientist and activist based in London.

She works with women's groups in the DRC and the UK to help bring an end to the sexual violence, arms trafficking and illegal exploitation of natural resources that have devastated her country.

This episode of the Riz Khan show can be seen live on Thursday, December 17, 2009, at 2030GMT with repeats on Friday at 0030GMT, 0530GMT and 1130GMT.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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