Co-Chairs of the Security Council’s recent mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo today outlined the activities undertaken and information gathered during the visit, especially in areas related to the country’s upcoming elections, its still-turbulent security situation and the process aimed at reforming and improving the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
François Delattre (France) – one of three co-chairs alongside Verónica Cordova Soria (Bolivia) and Susana Radegunda Edjang Mangue (Equatorial Guinea) – briefed other Council members on political elements of the 5-7 October visit, recalling that the mission met with President Joseph Kabila, the Prime Minister, representatives of the majority party and the opposition as well as women’s groups, members of the Independent National Electoral Commission and civil society leaders.
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a pivotal moment,” he said. The peaceful handover of power is possible, he added. “This is a real reason for hope.” However, success requires that all parties and stakeholders work together and for the international community to continue to support their efforts to carry out free, fair and peaceful elections as scheduled on 23 December 2018, he said.
The Council also urged the Government to lift its ban on demonstrations and encouraged all parties to bolster women’s engagement in the elections and at all levels of decision-making.
Ms. Cordova (Bolivia), briefing on humanitarian elements of the mission, said Council members remain concerned about violence in the country, including North and South Kivu and the Kasaï region. The Council condemned all acts of violence, including sexual violence, and called upon the Government to investigate all human rights violations and hold the perpetrators accountable, in particular, crimes that might amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, she recalled. Noting that violence and the activities of armed group are primarily responsible for the deteriorating humanitarian situation, she said the budget needed to tackle the “deplorable humanitarian crisis” has now doubled.
Ms. Edjang (Equatorial Guinea), addressing the Congo’s security situation and ongoing effort to reform MONUSCO, said the Council members were able to speak with Mission personnel and assess its ability to implement its mandate. Despite a climate of insecurity and violence, MONUSCO personnel continue to risk their lives daily in order to relieve suffering, she said.
Encouraging MONUSCO and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to work together in countering the threat posed by armed groups, she declared: “We saw that the Mission has made significant efforts to improve its efficiency and performance, adapt to new challenges and become more robust and flexible.” Those elements formed the basis for the mission’s discussions with the MONUSCO leadership, she said.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:20 a.m.