The Congo is not ready for the UN's departure. Eastern Congo is still the wild, wild East. One election does not make a democracy.
It's just scandalous to think of withdrawal of the UN forces.
Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, is visiting Congo, where thousands of women are raped every year, as the U.N. tries to persuade the government not to demand a hasty withdrawal of the U.N. force.
Democratic Republic of Congo has advanced legislation in place to outlaw sexual violence but Wallstrom said the country's capacity to implement it was "near zero."
"How will it help if (the U.N. peacekeeping mission) withdraws? Will it help the situation here? I think not ... I have a lot of fears," she added in Kinshasa Monday.
Aid agencies and rights groups accustomed to the violence and suffering during and since Congo's 1998-2003 war, which left millions dead, have been shocked by reports of the scale and brutality of the rapes by rebel and government forces alike.
The U.N. warning echoes a call last week by UK rights group Amnesty International, which called the situation scandalous.
With celebrations of the 50th anniversary of independence this year and elections next, Congo is keen for the peacekeeping mission, known as MONUC, to start withdrawing within months and wants the last blue helmet out in 2011.