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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Security Council: MONUSCO

Source: UN Standing Committee on Nutrition Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
SC/13741 Briefings LEILA ZERROUGUI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), presented a 30-day update on the political and technical build-up to the country’s recent presidential election covering the period 1 to 31 January (document S/2019/159), as well as the latest report of the Secretary-General on the Mission’s work (document S/2019/218). She emphasized that the context today is far more tranquil than it was in December 2018 and January 2019, with the post-election transition of power unfolding peacefully. While some disputed the outcome, most Congolese citizens were pleased with the handover, she said, noting that gubernatorial elections are continuing while voting remains delayed in four areas affected by the Ebola outbreak. She went on to state that the new President’s stated commitment to peace, the rule of law, democracy and human rights has been followed up with tangible acts, including the release of political prisoners and meetings with opposition figures. Meanwhile, discussions on the formation of a new Government are under way, with agreement reached last week on the future Prime Ministers. Emphasizing the tremendous expectations of the Congolese people, she said they must not be made to wait too long nor have their hopes dashed, she said, stressing that there is a real opportunity to build peace and security in several provinces following the voluntary surrender of members of armed groups. Turning to the situation in the Grand Nord region of North Kivu Province, where the second-largest Ebola outbreak is ongoing, she said elements of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces and Mai-Mai groups continue to attack civilians and Government forces, as well as humanitarian workers and MONUSCO personnel. The Mission’s military and police components are sparing no effort to protect civilians and support Government forces, while civilian teams pursue good offices, advocacy and dialogue initiatives at the local level, she said. With preparations for national and provincial elections at the end of March, MONUSCO will do its utmost to prevent and mitigate any risk of violence, she added. As for clashes between militia in Minembwe, South Kivu Province, she said the Mission is supporting the reinforcement of Government forces and providing intercommunal mediation. In order to sustainably address the drivers of insecurity in North and South Kivu, she said, there must be concentrated engagement going forward to address conflict dynamics related to identity, access to land and resources, and regional issues. “Even areas not historically affected by armed conflict can prove fragile,” she noted, stressing that the Government must be encouraged to address potential causes of violent conflict nationwide. In light of the opportunities and challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council must maintain its support for the consolidation of what has been achieved in recent months and in addressing remaining threats to peace and security, she said. “We must support the Government in its efforts to honour the expectations of the Congolese population, to advance political dialogue and collaboration, and to seize the opportunities which we are now seeing for a sustainable reduction of armed groups in some areas.” ANNY TENGA MODI, Executive Director and Co-founder of AFIA MAMA, said she spoke on behalf of women and girls in her country, and expressed appreciation to Member States for their ongoing acknowledgment of African women’s leadership. While welcoming the peaceful handover of power following the December 2018 presidential election, she noted that the poll faced challenges, including street protests, restrictions on public freedom and detention of protestors. The introduction of electronic voting machines further contributed to controversy, she said, adding that physically getting materials to polling stations was also problematic. She warned against the risk of local elections triggering ethnic conflicts if they are not properly supported and backstopped. However, the country is at a historic juncture, she said, noting that the Government has set a quota for women in the security sector as part of its ongoing reform. It has also established a special unit to tackle gender-based violence and stamp out such abuse by police. Making recommendations to the Government, she stressed the importance of raising awareness of gender issues among male parliamentarians while calling for the inclusion of more women in the defence and security sectors, including crisis-prevention work. She called upon the Government to accept external support for the holding of local elections, place more women on electoral lists and roll out training programmes for managerial capacity. The Council can support civil education involving youth, she said, stressing the need to strengthen national and subregional institutions. Statements NAME TO COME (United States) noted that since taking office, President Félix Tshisekedi, has been fighting corruption, addressing security issues and promoting development while committing himself to dialogue with other actors. Within two months of taking office, the people have already begun to see positive developments, including the release of prisoners and the closure of some detention centres. Noting that thousands of combatants have laid down arms, he said the United States is committed to creating a more peaceful country by working closely with the new Government. He went on to welcome MONUSCO’s proactive decision to redirect its focus to the country’s east, while also warning of rising border tensions among countries of the Great Lakes region. Noting that it has been two years since nationals of Sweden and the United States were murdered in the line of duty while engaged in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex‑combatants, he underlined the need for accountability for those crimes. For information media. Not an official record.

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