As you know, we have just concluded a visit to the Heal Africa hospital.
I was deeply moved by the stories and suffering that we heard. The visit brought out strong feelings.
First, I am angry that women and girls have to endure such barbarity, here or anywhere. This must stop.
Second, I am humbled at their courage to overcome their wounds. I thank the dedicated doctors and nurses who are helping here and elsewhere.
Third, I am determined to do more to bring security and opportunity to these women and their communities.
That is why I am here with World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim.
We are here to support the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
We call it the framework for hope.
It aims to address the roots of the violence.
The Intervention Brigade being deployed within the UN peacekeeping operation is designed to bring added stability and protect civilians.
But that is only one element of a much larger political process.
A peace deal must deliver a peace dividend -- health, education, jobs, opportunity.
The framework for hope must be an agenda for action.
We must invest in the people who have suffered so much.
We must invest in women and girls.
Today is the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.
Many women and girls at this hospital suffer from fistula after enduring brutal rapes.
In pain, and often unable to control bladder and bowels, they are disabled and often shunned by society.
I commend the work done here and by Dr. Mukwege at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu to heal these wounded women.
But the condition is not caused by abuse alone.
Early pregnancy and the lack of healthcare contribute to 40,000 cases in this country alone.
It is further emphasis of the need for holistic development.
Education for girls can help them avoid early pregnancy.
Better medical services can prevent complicated pregnancies leading to fistula.
Education and health care are part of the broader infrastructure of development that can bring economic progress and hope to this battered region.
That is why I welcome the commitment of Dr. Kim and the pledges of the World Bank.
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.
We have the best chance in many years to bring peace and calm to the region.
I urge all of the region’s leaders to work together to realize the potential of the agreement which is aimed at realizing the full potential of the people.
Q: [Two questions asked on the Intervention Brigade]
SG: I will answer two questions together because they are the same, related questions. First of all, what size of force would be necessary? That is very difficult to determine. It’s not the number of soldiers. The Security Council has decided there should be around 3,000 or so. The Intervention Brigade is coming with specific mandate to enforce the peace. As you may know, the Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations has a very specific mandate to keep the peace. When there is no peace to keep, we will not be able to keep peace. But this time, we are going beyond the traditional way of peacekeeping operations mission. It has been mandated with a clear and robust mandate to enforce the peace. When it is necessary then they will take a proactive peace enforcing measures. That is different from normal MONUSCO or any normal peacekeeping missions.
That is why, if we have a [set of] robust equipment and training for the 3,000 peacekeepers, I think we will be able to effectively address the current situation.
At the same time, I should make it clear again, as I did to President [Joseph] Kabila yesterday, this is not a substitute for FARDC. The primary responsibility to maintain peace and stability and preserve territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo rests with the Congolese armed forces and the Congolese President. The UN Peacekeeping Operation, MONUSCO will be here to assist such a role and in the case of the Intervention Brigade with a specific and strengthened mandate to enforce peace. We are expediting our efforts to deploy this Intervention Brigade as soon as possible. The Force Commander has already been appointed and he is here and the Tanzania and South African governments have pledged to send their troops. And it will not take long. Even though I am not able to tell you the exact date of full operational capacity of this Intervention Brigade, but it will be made soon. Maybe one or two months [will be needed]. But, this will have to be determined by the Force Commander and the Peacekeeping Operations Department and also Special Representative (SRSG) Roger Meece.
They will all be very clearly coordinate. And, I would also like to recognize the presence of my Special Envoy, Madam Mary Robinson, who has been given a specific mandate to mediate and to facilitate the implementation of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in the DRC and in the region. She has already met the leadership of the DRC and the leadership of neighbouring countries who have signed this Framework Agreement. She will continue to monitor the situation and will closely coordinate with SRSG Roger Meece and Force Commanders and also Headquarters, myself and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Again, the Security Council has given us a specific mandate, a robust mandate to keep peace and security here. We are committed. And, this security will have to go hand in hand with development. That is why the President of the World Bank has pledged yesterday one billion additional dollars. It is unprecedented in the history of the United Nations, for the President of the World Bank and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to travel together for the same peace and development mission. And I really appreciate his strong commitment and leadership. Thank you very much.