Democratic Republic of the Congo: Security Council Press Statement
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President María Cristina Perceval (Argentina):
On 22 August 2013, the members of the Security Council heard a briefing by Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The members of the Security Council condemned the resumption of fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. They condemned in the strongest terms the repeated and targeted attacks by the M23 against civilians and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), which have led to civilian casualties and loss of life, the death of a peacekeeper and the injury of several others, and damage to a MONUSCO ambulance.
The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the family of the peacekeeper killed in the attack, as well as to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and to MONUSCO. They called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
They recalled that intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict, constitutes a crime under international law.
They reiterated their demand to M23 and other armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), to cease immediately all forms of violence and that their members immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms. In this regard, they reiterated their readiness to adopt additional targeted sanctions against those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo.
The members of the Security Council also expressed concern at reports of repeated mortar shells and bombs from Democratic Republic of the Congo territory landing in Rwandan territory, and called for a thorough investigation into the sources of these shells and bombs by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM).
The members of the Security Council commended the active steps taken by MONUSCO to implement its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, and encouraged the continuation of these efforts. They welcomed Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kobler’s order to the force to take all necessary actions to protect civilians. They emphasized that any effort to undermine MONUSCO’s ability to implement its mandate will not be tolerated.