MONUSCO is the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The acronym comes from its official French title: Mission de l'Organisation des Nations unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo. It is one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions.
In 2020, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2556 to extend the mandate of MONUSCO until December 20, 2021. This mission mandate is defined as protection of the civilian population, support for the stabilisation and strengthening of public institutions, and support for major reforms in governance and security.
MONUSCO is accused of a number of human rights violations – especially sexualised violence. There are regular protests by the population against the UN peacekeeping mission, who do not feel protected by the UN soldiers.
The mission was originally established as MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Mission des Nations Unies en République Démocratique du Congo) in 1999, during the Second Congo War. This followed the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and five other states in the region and the passing of Resolution 1279. The initial purpose of the mission was to observe the ceasefire, plan the disengagement of forces, and liaise with all parties to the ceasefire agreement. Later, this was expanded to include supervising the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and trying to resolve ongoing conflicts in several provinces of DR Congo.
In 2010, MONUC was renamed MONUSCO by the Security Council after it passed Resolution 1925, reflecting the changes in its mandate. This also now authorised the use of all necessary means to carry out its mandate, including the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence, and support for the DR Congo government efforts to stabilise and consolidate peace.