28/10/2005
Security Council
SC/8541

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5296th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO


UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER 2006 , UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1635 (2005)


Increases Troop Strength for Additional Security during Elections,

Calls for Scrupulous Respect for Timetable Developed by Electoral Commission


Concerned about continuing hostilities by militias and foreign armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the threat they posed to the holding of elections in the country, the Security Council this morning extended the UN Mission there until 30 September 2006, and authorized an increase of 300 personnel in its military strength.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1635 (2005) and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council -- having noted the Secretary-General’s recommendation in his most recent report for an additional brigade of 2,580 personnel -- authorized the increase to allow for the deployment of an infantry battalion in Katanga, with its own air mobility and appropriate medical support, to provide additional security within its area of operations during the election period.


Underlining the temporary character of the increase, the Council requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps with a view to downsizing or repatriating the additional strength from 1 July 2006 at the latest, and to report to the Council before 1 June 2006 on the assessment to be made for that purpose.


By other terms of the text, the Council called on the transitional institutions and on all Congolese parties to ensure that free, fair and peaceful elections take place, and to scrupulously respect the timetable for polls developed by the Independent Electoral Commission, underlining in that regard the responsibility of the Congolese authorities to adopt necessary legislation without further delay.


The Council also called 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 the National Police of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular by ensuring adequate payment and logistical support for their personnel.  It called on the donor community, as a matter of urgency, to engage firmly in the provision of assistance needed for the integration, training and equipping of the Armed Forces and of the National Police, and urged the Transition Government to promote all possible means to facilitate and expedite cooperation to that end.


It also requested the UN Mission, within its capacity and mandate, to continue to provide advice, assistance and necessary support to the effective follow up to the meeting on 21 September 2005 between the Espace présidentiel and the International Committee in Support of the Transition, to strengthen support for good governance and transparent economic management.


The meeting started at 10:21 a.m. and adjourned at 10:23 a.m.


Council Resolution


The full text of resolution 1635 (2005) reads, as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its resolutions and the statements by its President on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1565 of 1 October 2004, 1592 of 30 March 2005, 1596 of 18 April 2005 and 1621 of 6 September 2005 and 1628 of 30 September 2005, and the statement of 4 October 2005 (S/PRST/2005/46),


Reaffirming its commitment to respect for 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,


Underlining the importance of elections as the foundation for the longer term restoration of peace and stability, national reconciliation and establishment of the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Paying tribute to the donor community for the assistance they provide to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in particular to the electoral process, and encouraging them to maintain it,


Welcoming the interest and commitment shown by the Congolese authorities to promote good governance and transparent economic management, and urging all the components of the Government of National Unity and Transition to strengthen their efforts in continuing to build consensus in this regard,


Reiterating its serious concern regarding the continuation of hostilities by militias and foreign armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and at the threat they pose to the holding of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Deploring the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law carried out by these militias and groups and stressing the urgent need for those responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice,


Recognizing the link between the illegal exploitation of natural resources, the illicit trade in such resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as one of the factors fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Taking note of the nineteenth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), dated 26 September 2005 (S/2005/603), and of its recommendations,


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 until 30 September 2006;


“2.   Having taken note of the recommendations described in paragraphs 27 to 29 of the report of the Secretary-General, authorizes an increase of 300 personnel in the military strength of MONUC to allow for the deployment of an infantry battalion in Katanga, with enabling assets including its own air mobility and appropriate medical support, to provide additional security within its area of operations during the electoral period;


“3.   Underlines the temporary character of the increase referred to in the previous paragraph, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps with a view to downsizing or repatriating this additional strength from 1 July 2006 at the latest, and to report to the Council before 1 June 2006 on the assessment to be made for that purpose;


“4.   Calls on the Transitional institutions and on all Congolese parties to ensure that free, fair and peaceful elections take place, and that the timetable for polls developed by the Independent Electoral Commission is scrupulously respected, and underlines in this regard that it is the responsibility of the Congolese authorities to adopt the necessary legislation without further delay;


“5.   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;


“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.   Requests MONUC, within its capacity and mandate, and in consultation with international financial institutions and donors, to continue to provide advice and assistance, as well as the necessary support, to the effective follow-up to the meeting on 21 September 2005 between the Espace présidentiel and the International Committee in Support of the Transition, to strengthen support for good governance and transparent economic management;


“8.   Welcomes the action taken by MONUC in investigating and dealing with instances of sexual exploitation and abuse and its efforts to put in place preventive measures, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to achieve actual compliance in MONUC with the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including pre-deployment awareness training, and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;


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


Background


The latest report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2005/603) covers developments in that country since August.  The Secretary-General recommends a one-year extension of MONUC’s mandate, until 1 October 2006, which would include the period up until the holding of elections and the immediate post-transitional period following the installation of the new Government.  The constitutional referendum is scheduled to take place before the first extension of the transition expires on 31 December.  Parliament is likely to have voted, by that time, for the second and final six-month extension of the transition, to allow the Independent Electoral Commission to organize the elections.


[The Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed on 17 December 2002, outlined a transitional process culminating in national elections to be held two years after the June 2003 inauguration of the Transitional Government, with the stipulation that the transition could be extended for two six-month periods if technical preparations for elections were delayed.]


Despite delays caused by logistical problems, encouraging progress has been made in the voter registration process, the report states.  As of 17 September, more than 11 million voters had registered, including 2.9 million in Kinshasa, out of an estimated electorate of 20 million to 25 million.  Voter registration, which started on 20 June in Kinshasa, has been extended to the provinces and is scheduled to end nationwide on 25 September.  Registration time lines, however, have been extended in several areas, including in Katanga and the Kasais, due to logistical difficulties encountered by the Independent Electoral Commission and the slow rate of voter registration.


It is vital, the report states, that the Transitional Government and Parliament adopt the necessary legislation, including the electoral law, so that the elections can be organized no later than June 2006.  In that regard, the Secretary-General urges donors to accelerate the disbursement of their pledges for financing the organization of the elections.  The MONUC, meanwhile, is expanding its role in providing logistical support to the Electoral Commission. Considerable progress has been made in training the Congolese National Police, and additional formed police units will be deployed in the coming weeks, increasing the Mission’s capacity to assist in providing security during the election period.


Despite calls by the Union pour le progrès et la démocratie sociale (UDPS) for a boycott of voter registration, the process has continued in Katanga Province in a generally peaceful fashion, the report notes.  It is doubtful, however, that the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) contingents in Katanga would be able to establish control over the whole of the province.  The lack of State authority and tensions between ethnic groups pose a serious potential threat to the security of the electoral process.  As the FARDC continues to be poorly equipped, MONUC believes that an enhanced military presence would be needed to help secure the elections in several key areas of Katanga.  In that regard, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider authorizing the deployment of an additional brigade of 2,580 personnel comprising a headquarters, three battalions and enabling assets, including one Level II hospital, one engineer company, one observation helicopter and one utility helicopter unit.


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