Statement to the press during visit to Kibati Camp for internally displaced persons
Kibati Camp (near Goma), Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1 March 2009I am here, after meeting with a group of people living in the Kibati IDP [internally displaced person] camp. As you known, yesterday, I visited Heal Africa. I was very sad and very moved by all these tragedies and difficulties and the suffering of the sexually abused.
In this IDP camp, I am very much moved by all the difficulties and suffering because of the fighting. [The people here] have the right to live in a dignified way and the United Nations will continue to help them. I stand ready to help them. I am also very grateful to the many humanitarian agencies, UN agencies, NGOs and other individuals and humanitarian workers.
I am told that at the peak of the crisis, there were more than 80,000 IDPs here. I am told that now, [the camps] shelter some 20,000. This is good news. It shows that people are returning to their homes.
My conversation with the IDPs here focused on several of their concerns. Their first concern is security. Even though they want to return, they fear that when they do, they may be attacked by the FDLR [Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda]. This must stop, and the United Nations, led by MONUC [the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] and the FARDC [Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo], will provide the necessary security and safety to those returning to their homes.
Establishing State authority and rule of law will be priorities for the UN and the Government of DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo]. We will ensure that fighting will not occur in previously FDLR-controlled areas.
The second priority concern is humanitarian assistance. This is very serious and very grave. You have seen all these difficulties yourselves. [The people here] need water, sanitation facilities and shelter facilities where they can sleep. They need educational facilities.
We will try to mobilize all possible resources and humanitarian assistance for the people. We need the support of all UN humanitarian-related agencies. We need support from all major international donors, Government, civil society and the NGO community.
MONUC and the UN Country Team have developed a stabilization strategy. I welcome Prime Minister Muzito's plan to solidify this strategy and to put it into action, to bring all possible humanitarian and social economic assistance to the people.
My visit to Goma, where I was able to meet with many sexually abused people and where I was able to converse with a number of displaced persons, here, strengthened my resolve to work even harder for all those many people who need our support.
My commitment to stop abuse and violence [against women] is strong. My commitment to help IDPs, the people who need our support, is equally strong.
I am here, even with limited capacities, to demonstrate my solidarity with those people and to give them a sense of hope for the future.
I think we see some signs of hope. The improved security situation and prospects for better security and stability through joint operations against the FDLR give us better space for humanitarian activities here.
Again, I send my deepest sympathy, love and support to all these people living in Kibati IDP camp and, to the many suffering from sexual violence, as well as to all those who need our support. Thank you.
Off-the-Cuff on 1 March 2009