United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the late afternoon of Tuesday, 29 June, and attended a gala dinner hosted by President Joseph Kabila Kabange that night, the eve of the country’s fiftieth anniversary of independence.
The next morning, the Secretary-General watched the military and civilian parade which marked this anniversary, at the Place du Cinquantenaire. Before attending a lunch at the Palais du Peuple, the Secretary-General met with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whom he thanked for accepting to co-chair the High-Level Advocacy Group on the Millennium Development Goals, saying he looked forward to the first meeting of the Group, to be held in Madrid in mid-July.
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary-General noted that the country was entering a new phase of its partnership with the United Nations and that, as a neighbouring country, Rwanda’s continued collaboration towards stabilization in the region would be vital. He also welcomed the improved relations between the two countries, but noted that tensions remained in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Secretary-General then met with President Kabila and congratulated him on the fiftieth anniversary of independence. He noted the new cooperation between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations, as the country had entered a new phase of stabilization, and that the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) would be renamed the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), as of the following day. The Secretary-General added that the Organization would work closely with the Government to advance stabilization, to protect civilians, to promote human rights and the rule of law, and to fight impunity and sexual violence against women and girls.
The Secretary-General then held a meeting with Albert II, King of the Belgians. They discussed the human rights situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the new mandate of the United Nations Mission in the country following the adoption of Security Council resolution 1925 (2010), and the new partnership between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Later, the Secretary-General unveiled a plaque at the Mission’s headquarters in Kinshasa, marking the change in its name from MONUC to MONUSCO. He said the Security Council had decided to change the name to reflect the new stage in the life of the country and its partnership with the United Nations. “The emphasis is on stabilization and consolidating peace,” he added, stressing that the protection of civilians would continue to be the priority. (See Press Release SG/SM/12981)
He also met with representatives of civil society and human rights organizations, and told them that a vibrant civil society was critical to stability, reconciliation, a healthy democracy and human rights. He said he hoped that the recent death of Congolese human rights activist Floribert Chebeya would be thoroughly, transparently and independently investigated. “It is important that the State provides the conditions under which human rights defenders and journalists can carry out their work unhindered and in safety,” he added. (See Press Release SG/SM/12982)
Later that night, the Secretary-General left Kinshasa for Libreville, Gabon.