8638th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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09-Oct-2019 01:01:31
Democratic Republic of Congo needs international support to bolster state authority, empower judiciary, special representative tells Security Council at 8638th.

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Welcoming Improved Political Climate Following Peaceful Transition, Speakers Still Concerned about Ongoing Presence of Ebola, Fighting in East

Spotlighting a range of positive developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the senior United Nations official in that country today urged the Security Council and other partners to support Kinshasa’s efforts to push forward tangible improvements in the lives of the Congolese people.

“We need to collectively seize this wind of hope,” said Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), who briefed the 15-member Council via video-teleconference. Outlining developments between 29 June and 25 September, covered in a new report of the Secretary-General (document S/2019/776), she pointed out that the upward trajectory comes on the heels of a peaceful transition of power in March, in which President Felix Tshisekedi was elected and formed a coalition Government. Against that backdrop, she urged Member States to support national efforts to strengthen State authority, empower the judiciary and address root causes of conflict.

Also welcoming a decrease in the number of Ebola cases in recent months — linked to a broad, coordinated response and a focus on building community acceptance of medical support — she urged Kinshasa and its partners not to waver in that crucial work. Seizing the opportunity presented by the new Government will not be without risks and challenges, she said, spotlighting the need to ensure the functioning of State institutions. Meanwhile, she called for accountability for deeply troubling attacks against civilians by armed groups in some parts of the country — including the brutal recent decapitation of 14 people, including children.

Taking the floor, many Council members expressed concern about unabated instances of violence, human rights violations and the lingering Ebola epidemic. However, they also echoed the Special Representative’s optimism about the window of opportunity presented by the new Government, commending President Tshisekedi’s commitment to addressing the complex situation in the east of the country and implementing the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region. Many also underlined the important role being played by MONUSCO, whose strategic review and potential reform is slated to be considered by the Council in the coming months.

The representative of South Africa joined other speakers in welcoming the Democratic Republic of Congo’s improved political climate and the formation of a coalition Government. He nevertheless drew attention to persistent military and humanitarian challenges in the east — characterized by intercommunal clashes, remaining cases of Ebola and ongoing activities of armed groups — and underlined the need for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, security sector reform and progress in establishing Government authority in areas liberated from armed groups.

The representative of the United States stressed: “Only concrete action can prove to the Congolese people that this Government represents the change that they voted for.” While an end to violence is a necessary precondition for peace, it is no guarantee, she said, urging national authorities to work closely with MONUSCO in developing a long-term plan for peace and reconciliation which addresses longstanding grievances. Efforts are also needed to improve standards in the police and armed forces, uphold human rights and ensure the reintegration of willing armed groups into civilian life, she said.

Meanwhile, Côte d’Ivoire’s delegate urged international financial institutions, bilateral partners and development agencies to ramp up support for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the aim of consolidating recent stability gains. Highlighting regional support, he welcomed the recent quadripartite summit between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Uganda and Rwanda and expressed appreciation for those working at the frontlines of the Ebola epidemic. Against that backdrop, all donors should honour their pledges for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he stressed.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo agreed that the situation in the east of the country remains a major source of concern and a priority for President Tshisekedi, who has committed to combating negative forces “until their complete eradication”. Welcoming the continued support being provided to national forces by MONUSCO, he welcomed discussions on the Mission’s strategic review and highlighted the urgent need to readapt it to the evolving situation on the ground. “The Democratic Republic of the Congo still needs MONUSCO,” he stressed, but one that is stronger, more focused and better equipped.

Also speaking were representatives of Peru, Equatorial Guinea, China and Indonesia.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. and ended at 11:02 a.m.

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