8153rd Security Council Meeting: Situation in Democratic Republic of Congo

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SIX OFFICIAL 09-Jan-2018 01:18:45
Speakers concerned about violent protests over delayed presidential election as Security Council discusses situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo at 8153rd meeting.
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Discussing the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today, Security Council members expressed their concern about the recent protests in the country over the delays in holding presidential elections, as well as violence last December that left 15 United Nations peacekeepers dead and many others wounded.

Presenting the report of the Secretary‑General on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document S/2018/16), Jean‑Pierre Lacroix, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that the Comprehensive and Inclusive Political Agreement signed last December had given the Council great hope, but one year later its implementation was still incomplete. In addition, violent demonstrations showed that the situation in the country remained fragile.

On a more positive note, preparations for the upcoming elections were advancing despite continued political tensions, he said. The electoral calendar had been published, the amended electoral law had been promulgated by the President, and the voter registration process was near completion. To support those efforts, MONUSCO had enhanced its support to the political and electoral processes and continued to provide logistical and technical support to the Electoral Commission for voter registration and other electoral activities.

The Secretary‑General had appointed former Assistant Secretary‑General Dmitry Titov to lead a special investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident in North Kivu that resulted in the deaths of 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and the wounding of 44 others, said Mr. Lacroix, noting that it was the latest in a string of deadly attacks perpetrated by suspected Allied Democratic Forces.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo emphasized that the focus of all political actors had been on the electoral process and the efforts to revise the electoral register. The country’s President had underscored in a public address that the authorities were determined to hold elections. He cautioned, however, that fringe groups of the opposition were not ready to take part in them.

Referring to the holding of public demonstrations, he said that they were regulated by legislation that required the submission of a request to authorities to ensure order and protect demonstrators. The organizers of the 31 December demonstrations did not comply with those requirements, he said. The Congolese national police had not recorded any deaths in places of worship that were associated with those demonstrations, and the only recorded violent deaths on that date had nothing to do with the protests.

Sweden’s representative noted that the Democratic Republic of the Congo faced surging humanitarian needs, and that the lack of resilience among the population had made it vulnerable to conflict. There were more people forced to flee their homes in that country in 2017 than in any other country in the world, he said.

The representative of Bolivia said that the threat of armed groups had led to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had resulted in the internal displacement of 4 million people. On the upcoming elections, he welcomed the publication of the electoral calendar and underscored the importance of holding timely, credible voting that resulted in the peaceful transfer of power.

Also highlighting the need for credible elections in the country, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire said that it was up to all stakeholders to do their utmost to ensure that the 23 December 2018 election date was respected. The parties involved should also work towards the establishment of conditions that were conducive to the holding of democratic and peaceful voting, he said.

Delegates also denounced the incident in North Kivu, with the representative of Kuwait condemning the repeated attacks against MONUSCO, including the armed attack of 7 December 2017. He called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

The representative of the Netherlands noted that her delegation approved of the establishment of an inquiry to investigate the attack in order to determine how MONUSCO should be reformed to ensure its ability to protect civilians. The suffering of the Congolese people had reached unimaginable levels, she said, pointing out that the country’s famine was man‑made, and that 7.7 million people faced severe food shortages.

Also speaking today were representatives of France, Equatorial Guinea, Poland and Peru.

The meeting began at 9:39 a.m. and ended at 10:57 a.m.
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