On 22 May 2017, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo met with the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Operations and the Rule of Law and United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in pursuance of resolution 2293 (2016).
During the meeting, the Deputy Special Representative briefed the Committee on the situation in the Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He stressed that the conflict in the region continued to intensify, posing serious political, security and humanitarian concerns that had resulted in over 1.27 million internally displaced persons and over 25,000 refugees. He called the Committee’s attention to the dire situation of children recruited and used as combatants “in the front line” by the Kamuina Nsapu militia operating in the area. He highlighted that these children were being given drugs and alcohol before being sent to combat. He also stressed the significant increase in attacks against schools and their military use. Among the violations and abuses committed against children was also sexual violence, primarily directed towards girls. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had increased both its civilian and military presence in the area and remained focused on the protection of civilians, human rights monitoring, supporting voter registration, and supporting greater humanitarian access. However, the Deputy Special Representative further highlighted that humanitarian access remained limited, especially as it related to the security situation, and that there are significant humanitarian funding gaps.
Following the briefing from the Deputy Special Representative, UNMAS gave a presentation on weapons and ammunition management activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The UNMAS representatives noted that UNMAS assisted with the safe storage and management of arms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had helped to put in place very clear management processes, including assisting with infrastructure. Along those lines, the representatives mentioned the need for Member States to provide funding. They also stressed the need for the Committee and the Security Council to step up support to UNMAS activities in the country, with a view to bringing weapons storage and management processes in par with international standards.
Committee members welcomed the briefings. They expressed concern over the continued violence, the humanitarian situation and use of children in the Kasaïs. Members also stated their intention to continue working with and supporting UNMAS activities.