The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Karel Jan Gustaaf van Oosterom (Netherlands):
The members of the Security Council met on 19 March 2018 to discuss the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, as well as by Jeanine Bandu Bahati, Coordinator of “Encadrement des femmes indigènes et des ménages vulnérables”, and Abbé Donatien Nshole, Secretary-General and spokesperson of the Congolese National Episcopal Conference.
The members of the Security Council expressed great concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which has reached catastrophic levels in some parts of the country, leaving at least 13.1 million Congolese in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 7.7 million severely food insecure people, and prompting the United Nations to activate the highest level of emergency preparedness. They further expressed deep concern regarding the very high number of internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has more than doubled in the last year to more than 4.49 million, and the 540,000 refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the more than 714,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in neighbouring countries as a result of ongoing hostilities.
In this regard, the members of the Security Council emphasized the need to address the presence of armed groups in the country and reiterated their call for transparent, credible and inclusive elections, which are crucial for lasting peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The members of the Security Council commended United Nations humanitarian agencies, partners and donors for their efforts to provide urgent and coordinated support to the population. They called on Member States and other partners to urgently scale up funding to respond to the humanitarian needs in the country. They looked forward to the high-level humanitarian conference to be held in Geneva on 13 April 2018 in order to mobilize funding.
The members of the Security Council expressed concern at increased impediments to humanitarian access in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo resulting from insecurity and violence, as well as continued attacks against humanitarian personnel and facilities. They called upon all parties to respect the impartiality, independence and neutrality of humanitarian personnel, and underlined the need for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel.