30/03/2005
Press Release
SC/8347


Security Council

5155th Meeting* (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO


UNTIL 1 OCTOBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1592 (2005)


The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) until 1 October 2005.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1592 (2005) under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council also demanded that the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo put a stop to the use of their respective territories in support of violations of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1493 of 28 July 2003, or of activities of armed groups operating in the region.


Emphasizing that MONUC is authorized to use all necessary means, within its capabilities and in the areas where its armed units are deployed, to deter any attempt at the use of force to threaten the political process and to ensure the protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, the Council encouraged the Mission to continue to make full use of its mandate in the eastern part of the country.


By other terms of the text, the Council called on all the parties to the transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to make concrete progress towards the holding of elections, as provided for by the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement, in particular in furthering the early adoption of the Constitution and of the electoral law, as well as the registration of voters.


Further, the Council reaffirmed its concern regarding acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by United Nations personnel against the local population.  It requested the Secretary-General to ensure compliance with the zero-tolerance policy he has defined and with the measures put in place to prevent and investigate all forms of misconduct; discipline those found responsible and provide support to the victims; pursue active training and awareness-raising of all MONUC personnel; and keep the Council regularly informed of the measures implemented and their effectiveness.


Also in that regard, the Council urged troop-contributing countries to carefully review the Secretary-General’s letter of 24 March 2005 (A/59/710) and to take appropriate action to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel in MONUC, including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness-training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such misconduct involving their personnel.


The meeting began at 9:52 a.m. and ended at 9:56 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1592 (2005) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements by its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolution 1565 of 1 October 2004, and the statement of 2 March 2005 (S/PRST/2005/10),


Reaffirming its commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as of all States in the region, and its support for the process of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002, and calling on all the Congolese parties to honour their commitments in this regard, in particular so that free, fair and peaceful elections can take place,


Reiterating its serious concern regarding the continuation of hostilities by armed groups and militias in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the provinces of North and South Kivu and in the Ituri district, and by the grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law that accompany them, calling on the Government of National Unity and Transition to bring the perpetrators to justice without delay, and recognizing that the continuing presence of ex-Forces armées rwandaises and Interahamwé elements remains a threat for the local civilian population and an impediment to good-neighbourly relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda,


Welcoming in this regard the African Union’s support for efforts to further peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and calling on the African Union to work closely with MONUC in defining its role in the region,


Recalling its condemnation of the attack by one of these militias against members of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), on 25 February 2005, and welcoming the first steps taken to date to bring them to justice, in particular the arrests of militia leaders suspected of bearing responsibility for human rights abuses,


Reiterating its call on the Congolese parties, when selecting individuals for key posts in the Government of National Unity and Transition, including the Armed Forces and National Police, to take into account the record and commitment of those individuals with regard to respect for international humanitarian law and human rights,


Recalling that all the parties bear responsibility for ensuring security with respect to civilian populations, in particular women, children and other vulnerable persons, and expressing concern at the continuing levels of sexual violence,


Reaffirming its full support for MONUC and for its personnel, who operate in particularly hazardous conditions, and welcoming the robust action it is undertaking in pursuit of its mandate,


Recalling the link between the illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources in certain regions and the fuelling of armed conflicts, condemning categorically the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other sources of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and urging all States, especially those in the region including the Democratic Republic of the Congo itself, to take appropriate steps in order to end these illegal activities,


Bearing in mind the third special report of the Secretary-General on MONUC, dated 16 August 2004 (S/2004/650), and its recommendations, and aware of the importance of keeping under review the situation in the Katanga and Kasaï provinces,


Taking note of the seventeenth report of the Secretary-General on MONUC, dated 21 March 2005 (S/2005/167), and looking forward to the special report on the electoral process announced by the Secretary-General in paragraph 34 of his seventeenth report,


Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,


Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,


“1.   Decides to extend the mandate of MONUC, as contained in resolution 1565, until 1 October 2005, with the intention to renew it for further periods;


“2.   Reaffirms its demand that all parties cooperate fully with the operations of MONUC and that they ensure the safety of, as well as unhindered and immediate access for, United Nations and associated personnel in carrying out their mandate, throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in particular that all parties provide full access to MONUC military observers, including to all ports, airports, airfields, military bases and border crossings, and requests the Secretary-General to report without delay any failure to comply with these demands;


“3.   Urges the Government of National Unity and Transition to do its utmost to ensure the security of civilians, including humanitarian personnel, by effectively extending State authority, throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in particular in North and South Kivu and in Ituri;


“4.   Calls on the Government of National Unity and Transition to carry out reform of the security sector, through the expeditious integration of the Armed Forces and of the National Police of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in particular by ensuring adequate payment and logistical support for their personnel, and stresses the need in this regard to implement without delay the national disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion programme for Congolese combatants;


“5.   Further calls on the Government of National Unity and Transition to develop with MONUC a joint concept of operations for the disarmament of foreign combatants by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the assistance of MONUC, within its mandate and capabilities;


“6.   Calls on the donor community, as a matter of urgency, to continue to engage firmly in the provision of assistance needed for the integration, training and equipping of the Armed Forces and of the National Police of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and urges the Government of National Unity and Transition to promote all possible means to facilitate and expedite cooperation to this end;


“7.   Emphasizing that MONUC is authorized to use all necessary means, within its capabilities and in the areas where its armed units are deployed, to deter any attempt at the use of force to threaten the political process and to ensure the protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, from any armed group, foreign or Congolese, in particular the ex-FAR and Interahamwé, encourages MONUC in this regard to continue to make full use of its mandate under resolution 1565 in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and stresses that, in accordance with its mandate, MONUC may use cordon and search tactics to prevent attacks on civilians and disrupt the military capability of illegal armed groups that continue to use violence in those areas;


“8.   Calls on all the parties to the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to make concrete progress towards the holding of elections, as provided for by the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement, in particular in furthering the early adoption of the constitution and of the electoral law, as well as the registration of voters;


“9.   Demands that the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo put a stop to the use of their respective territories in support of violations of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1493 of 28 July 2003 or of activities of armed groups operating in the region;


“10.  Further urges all States neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to impede any kind of support to the illegal exploitation of Congolese natural resources, particularly by preventing the flow of such resources through their respective territories;


“11.  Reaffirms its concern regarding acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by United Nations personnel against the local population, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure compliance with the zero tolerance policy he has defined and with the measures put in place to prevent and investigate all forms of misconduct, discipline those found responsible and provide support to the victims, and to pursue active training and awareness-raising of all MONUC personnel, and further requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed of the measures implemented and their effectiveness;


“12.  Urges troop-contributing countries carefully to review the Secretary-General’s letter of 24 March 2005 (A/59/710) and to take appropriate action to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel in MONUC, including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness-training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such misconduct involving their personnel;


“13.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Background


When the Council met today, it had before it the seventeenth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2005/167).  The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the premeditated killing of nine United Nations peacekeepers on 25 February in Ituri and by the general deterioration of security and unabated abuse of human rights in that area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Transitional Government must immediately arrest the leaders of groups that are suspected of responsibility for these unconscionable acts.  Unless the Transitional Government holds accountable those responsible, violence against innocent people will continue in Ituri and elsewhere in the country.


According to the report, MONUC will continue to make every effort to help stabilize Ituri.  But, first and foremost, security in Ituri will depend on the Transitional Government extending State authority and establishing a transparent customs regime in the area.  It will also depend on stepped-up action by the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that their territories are not used to support the flow of arms into the region and for the transport of illegal mineral wealth out of the region.


In regard to overall progress in the implementation of the peace process, the Transitional Government must take resolute action on several fronts, particularly in regard to elections, security-sector reform and the establishment of the rule of law.  The people of the country are frustrated by delays in the electoral schedule.  Reform of the security sector also remains extremely slow.  Of greatest concern for security is the continuous lack of payment for soldiers and policemen.  This creates a potentially volatile situation, with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo taking their frustrations to the streets and the Government’s security apparatus remaining weak.


The Secretary-General calls on the Transitional Government to make concrete and visible progress towards the holding of elections, most importantly through the adoption of the draft Constitution and electoral law and the commencement of the registration of voters. These are concrete signs that will provide much-needed confidence in the transitional process and its leaders.  In regard to security-sector reform, the Government and relevant stakeholders must immediately work out the problems that have delayed the commencement of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, which is essential for progress on the integration of the military.  The Government must also provide a greater degree of cooperation with donors that are supporting efforts to reform the police sector.  While efforts to reform the justice sector are under way, they remain nascent, and further commitment by the Government is required for recognizable progress to be made.


As much more is required with regard to security-sector reform, the Secretary-General calls on the international community to step up its efforts and financial and logistic support, particularly to assist in the training and equipping of Forces armées de la République democratique du Congo (FARDC) troops, which is necessary for them to play an effective role in such trouble spots as Ituri and the Kivus.  The establishment of an integrated and professional army and police force is a key element of the exit strategy for MONUC.  The Secretary-General urges interested members of the international community to organize themselves around a lead country to support these efforts in a substantial, dedicated and sustained manner.


It is well recognized, states the report, that the presence of the ex-FAR/Interahamwé continues to be a serious security threat for the local population.  While the MONUC voluntary disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement programme will continue, the Mission will not hesitate to take the action necessary against those foreign armed groups in order to ensure the security of civilians and United Nations personnel in the Kivus and to put an end to the egregious violations of human rights that they continue to commit.


The African Union and some MemberStates are examining, in consultation with the United Nations, the possibility of deploying troops into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to forcibly disarm the ex-FAR/Interahamwé.  In the meantime, MONUC has been instructed to develop a joint concept of operations with FARDC in regard to the forcible disarmament of these elements, with FARDC taking the lead and MONUC acting in a supportive role.  The implementation of this concept will require donor support for logistics and training of FARDC units.  The Secretary-General calls on the international community to provide such assistance in a timely manner, so that the presence of ex-FAR/Interahamwé in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has damaged good-neighbourly relations in the region for too long, can be brought to an end once and for all.


With the arrival of the new Deputy Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who has also been appointed Humanitarian Coordinator, efforts have commenced for the integration of the activities of all United Nations actors in the country.  Stronger emphasis has been put on bringing United Nations agencies and MONUC together in the development of common security arrangements and expanding humanitarian space, as well as for strategic planning and advocacy.  In this regard, MONUC, under its mandate to protect civilians, will also strengthen its actions to reduce acts of aggression against the civilian population, including widespread sexual violence, which remains a striking feature of the continuing conflict and insecurity.


The holding of elections and ensuring stable governance thereafter are now the key issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The MONUC is playing a central role in supporting the Transitional Government through this process, in terms of both political and military requirements, and the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend its mandate for a period of one year, until 31 March 2006.  He intends to present a special report on elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Council in the coming weeks, including an update of the electoral process and any outstanding political, operational and security requirements to see the process through to success.


The report adds that the reputation of MONUC has been severely damaged by acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by some peacekeepers against the local population.  A number of concrete measures have now been put in place to prevent and investigate such abuses, to discipline those found responsible and to provide support to the victims.  These measures are also being replicated in the other United Nations peacekeeping operations.  However, there is a need for continued vigilance in this regard.  The Secretary-General assures the Congolese people and international community that the Organization is determined to carry out his zero-tolerance policy both in MONUC and in peacekeeping operations elsewhere.


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*     The 5154th meeting briefly convened to postpone action on a draft resolution.