On 23 March 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) on the arms embargo monitoring mandate of MONUSCO. Also present during the meeting were the representatives of MONUSCO’s Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
During the meeting, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and her team provided updates concerning the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since her predecessor’s briefing to the Committee in May 2017. Armed groups continued to be a major source of concern, and in the space of the last six months, over 27 new armed groups had emerged. This brought the total number of armed groups up to 121 as of February 2018. Armed groups were also using political rhetoric as a justification for their existence, frequently citing the political impasse in the country as the main reason they were fighting. Finally, armed groups continued to attack the Democratic Republic of the Congo security forces and in some instances obtained weapons and uniforms from them. MONUSCO continued to monitor the evolution of these groups, and of some potential spoilers which may endeavour to stoke pre-existing conflicts to raise the electoral stakes. Furthermore, new cycles of violence had erupted in Ituri, with thousands of Congolese refugees fleeing into Uganda. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General called upon the members to continue to pay attention to the dire humanitarian situation in the country.
Following the briefing from MONUSCO, UNMAS gave an updated presentation on weapons and ammunition management activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, conveying updated information concerning UNMAS’ role in assisting with the safe storage and management of arms. The representative noted that UNMAS had also been engaging in implementing recommendations from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo concerning weapons and ammunition management in the country. However, she pointed out that there continued to be a lack of financing for UNMAS’ activities, which were more and more necessary in the country.
Committee members welcomed the briefings. They expressed concern over the continued violence in the country, the reports of armed groups attacking security forces, as well as the dire humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Delegations also stated their intention to continue working with and supporting UNMAS’ activities.