Security Council Issues Presidential Statement Stressing Need to Implement 31 December 2016 Peace Accord in Democratic Republic of Congo

SC/12928
26 July 2017
8012th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Issues Presidential Statement Stressing Need to Implement 31 December 2016 Peace Accord in Democratic Republic of Congo

Failure to Deliver on New Year’s Eve Promises Risks Greater Insecurity, Instability within Country, across Wider Region, Members Warn

The Security Council stressed today the urgent need for swift implementation of the 31 December 2016 political agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so that the Government could organize peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely elections by December 2017 — as agreed in that accord — leading to a peaceful transfer of power.

Issuing presidential statement S/PRST/2017/12, the Council reiterated its call for full implementation of the confidence-building measures agreed in chapter V of the 31 December 2016 agreement, some of which were yet to be implemented.  It expressed concern that unless political actors demonstrated renewed good faith and the political will needed to deliver on the promises they had made to their people on New Year’s Eve, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the wider region would face a greater risk of insecurity and instability.

The Council appealed to all Congolese actors to preserve the still-fragile gains realized on the path towards peace and stability, and strongly urged all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to ensure that all signatories to the 31 December 2016 agreement were included in its implementation.  The Council further called upon all political parties, their supporters and other political actors to remain calm and refrain from violence.

Turning to the situation in the Kasaï region, the Council reiterated its condemnation of violence, human rights violations and abuses there, including sexual violence, and of recent reports that more alleged mass graves had been found.  While underlining that such violations and abuses might constitute war crimes under international law, the Council took note of statements by representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo claiming that some alleged mass graves were, in fact, burial sites.

The Council went on to reiterate the need for the Government to investigate, swiftly and fully, the killing of two members of its Group of Experts assisting the Sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004), and to bring those responsible to justice.  It also called upon the Government to cooperate with United Nations enquiries and with law-enforcement investigations that may be conducted by Sweden or the United States, in accordance with national legislation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to the statement, the Council further reiterated its serious concerns about recent reports of a significant increase in violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by Congolese security forces in the Kasaï region, including disproportionate use of force and the killing of civilians.  It underlined that such violations and abuses might constitute war crimes under international law, and underscored the primary responsibility of the Government for ensuring security within its territory and for protecting its population.  Calling upon the Government to desist from any excessive use of force, it also called upon all other parties immediately to cease and reject any kind of violence, lay down their arms and engage in a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The Council noted with concern the continued activities of armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the recent increase in violence against local communities and the Congolese armed forces, which had escalated ethnic tensions and increased internal displacement.  It further expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis caused by the violence, which had displaced more than 1.4 million people, and underlined the urgent need for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:08 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/12 reads as follows:

“The Security Council expresses concern at the current political situation in light of the challenges facing the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, the deterioration of the security situation, in particular in the Kasaï region, as well as the increase in abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in the country.

“The Security Council takes note of the appointment of a new Prime Minister, the establishment of the transitional Government, and the signing of the ‘Arrangements particuliers’ for the implementation of the agreement by some, but not all, of the signatories of the agreement.  The Security Council expresses concern at the slow implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement.  It reiterates that effective, swift and timely implementation of the Agreement is critical to a credible electoral process and the peace and stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as in supporting the legitimacy of the transitional institutions, as it represents a viable road map towards the holding of peaceful and democratic elections.  The Security Council stresses the urgency of swift implementation of the agreement, in good faith and in all its components, in order to organize peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely elections, no later than December 2017, as agreed in the 31 December 2016 agreement, and leading to a peaceful transfer of power, in accordance with the Constitution and Security Council resolution 2348 (2017), including through the full and equal participation of women.  The Security Council reiterates its call for the full implementation of the confidence-building measures agreed in chapter V of the 31 December 2016 agreement, some of which are yet to be implemented.

“The Security Council appeals to all Congolese actors to work for the preservation of the still fragile gains in the path of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it underscores the responsibility that all Congolese political stakeholders bear, especially by overcoming their differences to reach consensus and upholding the interests and well-being of their people above all other considerations, and strongly urges all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to ensure the inclusivity of all signatories of the agreement in its implementation, including the process leading to the appointment of the Chair of Conseil National de Suivi de l’Accord.  The Security Council expresses concern that, unless political actors demonstrate renewed good faith and political will to deliver on the promises they made to their people on New Year's Eve 2016, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the wider region are set to face an increased risk of insecurity and instability.  The Security Council further calls upon all political parties, their supporters and other political actors to remain calm and refrain from violence of any kind.  The Security Council reiterates its commitment to act accordingly regarding all Congolese actors whose actions and statements impede the implementation of the agreement and the organization of the elections.

“The Security Council welcomes the progress made in the voter registration process, led by the National Electoral Commission with the active support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and calls for the continuation of these efforts in order to ensure that voters throughout the country, including in the Kasaï provinces, are duly registered.  The Security Council calls for the swift publication of the electoral timetable, as called for by the African Union at its twenty-ninth Summit, which would provide clarity on both the timing and steps ahead and allow partners, including the UN, whose technical and financial support remains important for the holding of the elections, to better determine the type of assistance they need to provide and to enable the effective preparation of elections.  The Security Council takes note of the repeated commitment by Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities to fund the upcoming electoral cycle, and underlines that, despite the budgetary difficulties facing the Government, it remains crucial that the promised funds are disbursed as scheduled to ensure that the electoral process proceeds in a timely manner.

“The Security Council reiterates its condemnation of the violence witnessed in the Kasaï region over recent months and expresses serious concerns at violations and abuses of human rights committed in the region, including cases of sexual violence in conflict, and at the recent reports of more alleged mass graves.  The Security Council takes note of statements by Democratic Republic of the Congo representatives claiming that some alleged mass graves were in fact burial sites.  The Security Council reiterates its grave concern at serious violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights committed by local militia in that region, including those involving recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, attacks on civilians and civilian sites, as well as attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo security forces and symbols of State authority.  The Security Council further expresses concern about attacks, in contravention of applicable international law, against schools and hospitals and calls for respect to the civilian character of schools, in accordance with international humanitarian law.  The Security Council further reiterates its serious concerns at the recent reports of significant increase in violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by members of the security forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Kasaï region, including the disproportionate use of force and the killing of civilians.  The Security Council underlines that these violations and abuses might constitute war crimes under international law.  The Security Council underscores the primary responsibility of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government for ensuring security in its territory and protecting its population, with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law, and calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to desist from any excessive use of force and on all other parties to immediately cease and reject any kind of violence, lay down their arms and engage in a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“The Security Council further expresses concern over the humanitarian crisis caused by the violence, which has displaced more than 1.4 million people internally and forced more than 30,000 people to flee the country. The Security Council underlines the urgent need for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors.

“The Security Council reiterates the importance and urgency of prompt and transparent investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights in the Kasaï region.  It welcomes the dispatch of a team of international experts to work in cooperation with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Security Council reiterates its intention to closely monitor progress of the investigations into these violations and abuses, including the joint investigations by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in order to bring to justice and hold accountable all those responsible, and it looks forward to their report.  The Security Council takes note of the recent prosecution and conviction of several Democratic Republic of the Congo armed forces soldiers and a National Congolese Police agent as a first step towards countering impunity.

“The Security Council reiterates the need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to swiftly and fully investigate the killing of the two members of the Group of Experts and bring those responsible to justice, it calls upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cooperate with the United Nations enquiries, as well as with law enforcement investigations that may be conducted by Sweden or the United States, in accordance with Democratic Republic of the Congo national legislation.  The Security Council looks forward to the results of the United Nations Board of Inquiry established by the Secretary-General to investigate the deaths of the two experts.  The Security Council recalls its decision in paragraph 3 of resolution 2360 (2017) that acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo include planning, directing, sponsoring or participating in attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers or United Nations and associated personnel, including members of the Group of Experts, and expresses its readiness to designate individuals and groups responsible for such attacks for sanctions.

“The Security Council notes with concern the continued activities of armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including a recent increase in violence against local communities and the Democratic Republic of the Congo armed forces, escalating ethnic tensions, and an increase in internal displacement.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The Security Council reiterates its support to the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, MONUSCO, the African Union and regional organizations in helping to ensure the full implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, in accordance with its resolution 2348 (2017).  The Security Council calls on partners of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to support genuine efforts by national stakeholders towards the full implementation of the agreement.  The Security Council reiterates its call to countries of the region — who four years ago signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region — to expedite efforts towards fully implementing their national and regional commitments under the Peace and Security Council Framework, which remains essential for the achievement of lasting peace and security in the Great Lakes region.  The Security Council calls upon the United Nations, the Guarantors of the Framework Agreement and the Member countries of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community to provide all the necessary support to this end.”

For information media. Not an official record.