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Security Council Press Statement on DRC/Great Lakes
On 7 August 2014, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, the outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, and the Minister of Defence of Angola, Mr. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, in his capacity as representative of the Chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The members of the Security Council welcomed the nomination of Said Djinnit as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress against armed groups, including the military defeat of the M23 movement, the signing of the Nairobi Declarations by the DRC government and the M23, and the significant weakening of the ADF-NALU but regretted that no significant progress was made towards the neutralization of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). They noted the initial efforts made by the DRC government and the governments of the region toward fulfilling the commitments made under the PSC Framework, including the development of national and regional benchmarks. The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of regional organizations, in particular the role of the ICGLR, including that of President José Eduardo dos Santos as chair, as subsequently demonstrated by the holding of two Heads of State and Government Mini-Summits in Luanda (Angola) on 25 March and on 14 August 2014.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the swift neutralization of the FDLR, as a top priority in bringing stability to the DRC and the Great Lakes region. They recalled that leaders and members of the FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the DRC, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC. They expressed deep concern regarding the sustained domestic and regional threat posed by the FDLR, including recent reports of continued human rights abuses by members of the FDLR and continued recruiting and training of combatants, including children, and stressed the importance of disarming and ending the threat caused by this illegal armed group.
The members of the Security Council took note of ongoing ICGLR and SADC diplomatic efforts to harmonise views and approaches on the neutralisation and unconditional disarmament of the FDLR. They further took note of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of the FDLR from 2 July 2014 and the review of progress after three months, as set out by the joint ICGLR-SADC meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July 2014. They expressed concern about reports by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC that the FDLR has interpreted this six-month timeframe as a call to stall previously scheduled demobilizations. They noted that the disarmament process should be concluded swiftly, have a clearly defined end-state and be supported by credible military action. Meanwhile, they encouraged the DRC government, in coordination with MONUSCO, to actively pursue military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They underlined MONUSCO’s mandate to neutralise all armed groups, in line with resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014), and further underlined their support for an effective DD/RRR program, paying a particular attention to women and children, as part of the demobilisation process.
The members of the Security Council took note of the technical missions carried out by the DRC government-led delegations to Uganda and Rwanda in April and July, respectively, to assess and process amnesty requests for former M23 combatants, in preparation for the repatriation of those eligible for reintegration, and underlined the need to fast-track and conclude their return to the DRC in accordance with an agreed timetable. In this regard, they encouraged the parties to speed up the implementation of the Kampala Dialogue/Nairobi Declarations in order to ensure the permanent demobilization of the M23.
The members of the Security Council called for the full and swift implementation of the DRC’s national commitments under the PSC Framework, including the restoration of state authority and the wider governance, economic, and security sector reforms needed in the DRC to consolidate the progress made so far. They noted in this context the particular importance of security sector reform, including the establishment of a Rapid Reaction Force. They stressed that the Government of the DRC bears primary responsibility for security, protection of civilians, national reconciliation, peacebuilding and development in the country.
The members of the Security Council commended the work of SRSG Kobler and outgoing SESG Robinson, and underlined the continuing crucial role of MONUSCO in protecting civilians and promoting peace and stability in the DRC. They stressed the importance of the troop contributing countries’ role in the implementation of the mission’s full mandate, including the neutralization of all armed groups through its Intervention Brigade, in support of the authorities of the DRC, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, and in cooperation with the whole of MONUSCO. They further emphasized the importance for MONUSCO to support and work with the Government of the DRC to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also stressed the need to continue to increase the effectiveness of the Mission, and looked forward to the outcome of the forthcoming Strategic Review of MONUSCO and the wider UN presence in the DRC.
The members of the Security Council encouraged the United Nations, the African Union, the ICGLR, SADC and other relevant international and regional organizations to continue to work together to support the government of the DRC and the governments of the region towards the full implementation of the national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework.