8216th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Preview Language:   Six Official
27-Mar-2018 00:33:40
Unanimously adopting Resolution 2409 (2018), Security Council extends mission in Democratic Republic of Congo until 31 March 2019 at 8126th meeting.

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The Security Council renewed the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) today, extending it until 31 March 2019 with a more focused mandate to help protect civilians and support implementation of the New Year’s Eve political agreement, including preparations for elections later in 2018.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2409 (2018) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15‑member organ decided to maintain the Mission’s authorized uniformed personnel ceiling at 16,215 troops, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units.

Through the 18‑page text, the Council called on all stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — including President Joseph Kabila Kabange, the presidential majority and the opposition — to swiftly implement the Comprehensive and Inclusive Political Agreement signed in Kinshasa on 31 December 2016 in order to proceed without further delay to the preparation of elections on 23 December.

It called on the Government and its national partners, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, to ensure a safe, transparent and credible electoral process, and requested the Secretary‑General to provide political support to the implementation of the agreement, including through his good offices.

The Council also called on the Government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially that of peaceful assembly, lift a blanket ban on demonstrations and exercise maximum restraint in responding to protests. It reiterated the urgency of prompt and transparent investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights in the Kasaï region, the scene of violence over the past year. It also demanded that all armed groups immediately cease all forms of violence, lay down arms and release children from their ranks.

Turning to the MONUSCO mandate, the Council said its tasks would include preventing, deterring and stopping all armed groups and local militias from inflicting violence on civilians as well as supporting and undertaking local mediation efforts to prevent escalation of violence. Interactions with civilians would be enhanced to raise awareness and understanding of the MONUSCO mandate and activities, while its Intervention Brigade, under the direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander, would be authorized to neutralize armed groups, in support of the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities.

Regarding the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement and the electoral process, MONUSCO would, by the terms of the resolution, provide technical and political support, including through good offices and engagement with interlocutors across the political spectrum. It would also provide technical assistance and logistical support for the electoral process, in coordination with the Congolese authorities, including dialogue with the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Following adoption of the text, several Council members emphasized that the Democratic Republic of the Congo was entering a critical phase in its history, and that credible elections would be key not only for the peace and stability of the country, but also that of the wider region. They underscored the more focused character of the MONUSCO mandate, with some delegates emphasizing also the need to respect the country’s sovereignty and independence.

The representative of France, the penholder on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said the unanimous adoption of resolution 2409 (2018) had demonstrated once again the Council’s unified approach towards the country. Through the resolution, it was calling on the nation’s leadership to ensure the transparency and credibility of the elections, including through the presence of international observers. Everyone bore a responsibility, especially the Congolese themselves as well as regional actors, to work in a coordinated way to implement the 31 December 2016 political agreement.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Council President for March, said the 15‑nation organ today had sent a strong signal that it stood united in support of MONUSCO, which could and must contribute to restoring trust between all parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He welcomed clear benchmarks for the electoral process as well as the resolution’s emphasis on community engagement, key enablers and early warning and response.

The representative of the United States said that previously, the Mission’s mandate lacked focus. Going forward, MONUSCO must ensure protection of civilians and support the electoral process, she said, adding that without free, open and credible elections, everything the Mission did would be complicated by political unrest and the spectre of violence. Ultimately, the country’s leaders must take responsibility for their nation’s future, she said, adding that the Congolese people must know that the United Nations had their back.

The Russian Federation’s delegate expressed hope that the timely conduct of elections would help ease tensions in Congolese society. Emphasizing that respect for national sovereignty was a core principle of today’s resolution, he said solutions must not be imposed on Kinshasa and that MONUSCO must strictly adhere to its mandate. In protecting civilians, he added, the Mission must refrain from intervening in Kinshasa’s domestic affairs.

Representatives of China, United Kingdom and Sweden also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:27 a.m. and ended at 11:01 a.m.
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