DR Congo: Ban condemns attacks on civilians, calls on parties to pursue political process

UN peacekeepers escort surrendered M23 fighters in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: MONUSCO

30 August 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned the latest bout of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and called on all parties to engage in the political process that aims to address the causes of the conflict.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was “deeply concerned about the escalating violence in the eastern DRC” and in particular by the indiscriminate shelling by the armed group M23 which caused deaths, injuries and damage among the civilian population in the eastern provinces as well as the immediate border area in Rwanda. A UN peacekeeper also died in one of the attacks on Wednesday.

“The Secretary-General encourages all parties concerned to pursue a comprehensive political process aimed at addressing the root causes of the conflict,” the statement said.

Mr. Ban called on all regional actors concerned to “exercise utmost restraint and refrain from any acts or statements that could lead to a further deterioration of the situation.” He also called on all countries with influence in the region to assist in easing tensions.

The Secretary-General's Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, and his Special Representative for the DRC, Martin Kobler, are currently fully engaged in diplomatic efforts to help overcome the current situation, the statement said.

Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, has clashed repeatedly with the national DRC forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC. As part of an effort to address the underlying causes of violence in the region, the Government of DRC along with 10 other countries and four regional and international institutions adopted a framework to consolidate peace in the country.

Known formally as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes region, the accord serves as a blueprint for peace and development in the region.

Mr. Ban stressed that the UN remains committed to taking all necessary actions to protect civilians in the eastern DRC and emphasized that spoilers and those who violate international law must be held accountable.


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