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UNMAS Programme in the DRC - 2016 Overview

Posted on December, 27 2016

 

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Survey and clearance, weapons and ammunition management and risk education

UNMAS continues to support the MONUSCO and international community efforts in the protection of civilians, stabilization and assistance to the democratic governance and institutional reforms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Following Security Council Resolution 2277, new activities in support of enhancing the control of national security actors have been conducted since 1 January 2016, which collectively adds to the continuous work on explosive hazards management and the progress made to comply with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Treaty). 

Summary of achievements 

Since January 2016, UNMAS programme in DRC and its implementing partners have released a total of 173,945 square meters of land – the equivalent of 17 football pitches - and conducted 515 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) tasks, resulting in the destruction of 26,166 explosive remnants of war (ERW), 215,036 items of small arms ammunition (SAA) and 516 weapons. UNMAS has also built eight armouries and trained 110 national police officers to enhance the control of small arms and light weapons in eastern DRC. About 8,000 people living in post-conflict areas have also been sensitized to the risks posed by mines and ERW and 10 million risk education SMS have been disseminated in North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, Lomami, Kasaï Oriental, Kasaï Central and Tanganyika.

Survey and clearance

UNMAS supports the capacity enhancement of the National Mine Action Authority (CCLAM) and the Government of the DRC compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty through the clearance of all remaining suspected hazardous areas (SHAs), as identified in the National Landmine Contamination Survey (NLCS). To this day, following the demining activities coordinated by CCLAM and UNMAS, 65 percent of the identified SHAs have been cleared and/or released. If the current pace of clearance is maintained, the DRC may become free from the known effect of mines and thereby Ottawa Treaty compliant before the target date of 1 January 2021.

In support of the MONUSCO, UNMAS has conducted 335 EOD tasks and destroyed 23 anti-personnel mines, 22,609 ERW and 203,339 items of SAA in eastern DRC. It has also destroyed 514 weapons in support of the National Commission for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (CNC-ALPC). These figures include UNMAS support to the FARDC upon request by the Mission that led to the destruction of 6,511 ERW and 177,846 SAA from obsolete/unsecured stockpiles and contributed to reduce the risk of unplanned explosions in populated areas. This year, the largest destruction of surrendered and/or seized ammunition from abandoned weapon caches was the 4,577 ERW and 1,835 SAA discovered in Virunga National Park, which contributed to reduce weapons and ammunition proliferation towards armed groups.

Survey and clearance activities funded by the Government of Japan have also led to the destruction of 3,557 ERW, 11,697 SAA and 2 weapons through 180 EOD tasks. 

Physical security and stockpile management (PSSM)

Thanks to the support of the Mission and the international community such as the Government of Japan, UNMAS has conducted trainings and implemented secured storage solutions in support of the Congolese National Police (PNC). In 2016, UNMAS has constructed and equipped a total of eight armouries in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri and trained about 110 members of the Congolese National Police (PNC) in weapons and ammunition management in Bunia, Bukavu, Goma and Kinshasa.

In support of CNC-ALPC and in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and MONUSCO Security Sector Reform unit, UNMAS also facilitated the national baseline assessment of weapons and ammunition management in the DRC. 

Risk education

To promote community safety, safer behaviour around weapons and ammunition, and to raise awareness on the dangers of ERW, UNMAS has used new communication tools in 2016 to increase the extent of their messages and reach the most vulnerable communities.

In collaboration with the MONUSCO Information Operation Cell, approx. 5,000 risk education leaflets were airdropped by helicopter to affected communities in remote areas where the UN peacekeeping troops were operating against armed groups. Beni, Kasabinyole, Kasinga, Paida, Nyaleke, Mabangwa, Mukulia, Pasisi, Bendera, Eringeti and their surroundings have been covered by this initiative, which will be continued soon in other conflict areas across eastern DRC.

In collaboration with the local NGO Pole Institute and thanks to UNA Sweden funding, UNMAS also delivered risk education in Kitshanga, an area identified by MONUSCO as a priority for stabilization. Since October, risk education messages and short radio dramas on mines, ERW and fire arms risks have been broadcast 15 times a day in local languages.

Finally, this year, two risk education songs have been produced by the artist David Dube. The first song, released in January and regularly broadcast on radio Okapi, aims at raising awareness on the risks posed by mines and ERW (http://bit.ly/2iipsy6). The second song, on fire arms dangers and armed violence reduction, will be released soon.  

These activities are complementary to the risk education sessions, community events, SMS campaigns, radio spots diffusion and leaflets distribution regularly conducted across the country. 

Updated 1 December 2016