Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

22 May 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim [Full Transcript]

[Opening remarks are as prepared for delivery]

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and I are on an unprecedented joint visit to support the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

I wholeheartedly welcome the extra 1 billion dollars Dr. Kim announced today to support social safety nets, cross-border trade, energy and essential infrastructure.

This is essential for helping to address the underlying causes of conflict.

Today we met with President Kabila, Prime Minister Matata Ponyo and other Ministers, members of the Senate and National Assembly, and representatives of civil society.

In each meeting I emphasiszed my concern about the renewed outbreak of hostilities near Goma.

I also emphasized that this will not affect our plans to visit this war-weary city.

The people of eastern DRC have suffered too long.

The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework gives the DRC and the Great Lakes region its best hope for peace in many years.

We call it the framework for hope.

Security is an important focus.

The Intervention Brigade being deployed within MONUSCO is designed to bring added stability and protect civilians.

But it is not a substitute for the security forces of the DRC.

They have the primary responsibility to ensure security and protect the rights of all Congolese.

I welcome the establishment of the national monitoring mechanism that will oversee the country’s own commitments to the framework.

And I look forward to President Kabila’s presence in Addis Ababa for the first meeting of the regional oversight mechanism on Sunday.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Framework is not simply about security.

It establishes a much larger political process to create the conditions for peace and economic development in the DRC and the region.

To break out of the cycles of violence, we need new approaches. 

That means good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

These are central to accelerating development.

Women and girls must be freed from the threat of sexual violence.

Communities must be given access to health services, electricity, education, jobs, opportunity.

The framework for hope must be an agenda for action.

A peace deal must deliver a peace dividend.

We must invest in the people who have suffered so much.

That is why I welcome the commitment of Dr. Kim and the pledges of the World Bank.

We are committed to doing much more for crisis-affected countries around the world – starting here and now. 

Both organizations have a long history of supporting development here in the DRC and throughout the region. 

The United Nations is assisting the Government to build institutions for justice and good governance; reduce poverty, hunger and the burden of disease; educate young people and empower women.

The World Bank’s new investments will be a major boost to our efforts to support sustainable economic growth.

Together, the World Bank and the United Nations are determined to support peace and development that will benefit all the people of the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

Thank you.

[Questions and Answers as delivered]

Question: [In French on security situation in the region]

SG: Since the beginning of this conflict, I have been urging all the parties concerned, first of all, wherever there may be grievances and complaints, those different views should be resolved peacefully through dialogue. There were meetings and negotiations in Kampala. November last year, there was a serious conflict where many people were killed, particularly women and girls. Their human rights were totally abused and violated. Those situations are not acceptable – absolutely not acceptable. I am deeply concerned about the recurrence of this violence [that] started a few days ago. I have been urging to resolve this issue, and I have urged President Joseph Kabila to immediately resume negotiations in Kampala. I am going to visit Uganda, together with President Kim of the World Bank, where we will have an opportunity to meet with President [Yoweri] Museveni to discuss this matter. At this time, again, I urge all the parties concerned stop this fighting. I have asked President Kabila, while they have this ability of operations, all the operations should be guided by international humanitarian law and protect civilian populations and protect the human rights and human dignity [inaudible]. Thank you.

Question: [In French on violence against women] 

SG: I have discussed this matter in depth and in a very serious manner with President Kabila this afternoon. It is unacceptable that human rights and human dignity of many women and girls have been abused. Many women have been raped. This tragedy must be stopped. The United Nations has the highest priority to protect all women and girls and other groups of vulnerable people. I have appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General to fight against the violence against women. She visited the DRC, and she has been traveling and meeting leaders around the world, wherever and whenever there is a possibility or cases of sexual violence against women. I launched the UNiTE to End Violent against Women campaign five years ago. I also launched a male leaders’ network. Yesterday while in Mozambique, I visited a secondary school in Mozambique. There, I was so much touched by strong commitments and [inaudible] by young boys in the school who came up, saying that girl students are their friends and they all have equal human rights and their rights should be protected. And I urge again, all the leaders, whether political or civil society [leaders], particularly male leaders, they have to protect and honor and respect human dignity and human rights of all women and girls. That is justice. That is what we have to do. Thank you.

Question: [In French on the rights of women and girls]

SG: [To] straighten the record, this is my third visit. I was here the first year, 2007, when I first became Secretary-General, and that time I visited Kisangani and Goma and I visited the Heal Africa hospital here. There, I have seen for myself [what] tragic [situations] all these villages were undergoing. At the same time, I was very much touched by their strong will to overcome this and I really wanted to appeal to the international community to let this kind of tragedy, which happened to girls, not be repeated, should not be done to other women and other girls. I was very angry – very angry – at that time and I spoke out. Let us make this society better for all, where all the women and men, their human rights should be protected. There may be some political differences, depending on what the circumstances are, but that does not justify that women and girls should be abused [as well as] their human rights as the tools of war, as the tools of military tactics. This is totally unacceptable. Tomorrow, Dr. Kim and I are going to visit Heal Africa again, and we will see again for ourselves and we will listen [to] the views, their concerns, and their aspirations, and we will spare no effort to help them and to put an end to this situation.

Q: [in French on the MONUSCO Intervention Brigade]

SG: We are in a process of, first of all, recruiting the soldiers and really expediting the earliest possible deployment of the Intervention Brigade. The Intervention Brigade has a specific mandate to impose peace and security whenever the situation worsens and deteriorates to the point that human rights and civilian populations [are] in danger. Each military operation will be guided by the Headquarters of the United Nations and also the Security Council. The duration of this mission will be decided by the Security Council, depending upon the development of the situation. We will have to assess the situation and, whenever it is necessary, then I will report to the Security Council for further guidance. Thank you very much.