The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President María Cristina Perceval (Argentina):
The members of the Security Council noted that 2 October marks the half-way point of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) as set out by the joint International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July. They noted with deep concern that since that date no further voluntary surrenders of members of the FDLR have happened and the FDLR have failed to deliver on their public promise to voluntarily demobilize.
The members of the Security Council recalled that the swift neutralization of the FDLR is a top priority in bringing stability to and protecting the civilians of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region, in line with the wider commitments made in the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region. They recalled that leaders and members of the FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the regional commitments made by the ICGLR and SADC to end the threat of armed groups and undertake a three-month review of the FDLR disarmament process. They emphasised the importance of concluding this process swiftly, having a clearly defined end-state and supporting the process through credible military action by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). They stressed that only substantial progress towards the full demobilization called for by the region and committed to by the FDLR could justify any further reprieve from military action against the FDLR. They noted that the Security Council would assess the demobilization process on the basis of progress on the ground, including the number of surrenders, in particular from the leadership, the number of working weapons handed over, the agreement of those surrendering to be transferred to holding areas determined by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government in coordination with MONUSCO, and the transfer of control over territory to the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities. They reiterated their call on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in coordination with MONUSCO, to undertake military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They rejected any call for political dialogue with the FDLR and reaffirmed the need to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The members of the Security Council stressed that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must guarantee humane conditions in all disarmament, demobilization and reintegration camps, paying a particular attention to women and children.
The members of the Security Council recalled their full support for MONUSCO and called on all parties to cooperate fully with the mission.