The M23 mutiny that began in April 2012 brought yet another wave of misery to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Countless innocent men, women and children suffered horrendous acts of violence, rapes and other forms of sexual violence, abductions, summary executions.
The fighting has stopped, but insecurity prevails, and is growing in other areas of the DRC.
Perhaps some would dismiss the recent unrest in the eastern DRC as yet another cycle of violence in a long-plagued region of the world; but we have it within our hands to break that cycle and shape something different.
Longer-term stability to this entire region is possible but it requires us to collectively commit to addressing the root causes of this violence.
That is why I have reached out to regional leaders and joined with them to find a durable solution.
We came together in the margins of the General Assembly last September, and the African Union summit in January.
We agreed that military action alone would not deliver for the people of the eastern DRC.
A lasting solution requires at least four ingredients:
First, it must be anchored in the political will of the leaders of all countries in the region.
Second, it must address the structural causes fueling instability in the DRC itself.
Third, it must respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and legitimate concerns and interests of all concerned countries.
Fourth, it demands the commitment and long-term support of the international community.
Building on existing and ongoing regional peace and security initiatives, we developed an innovative and comprehensive approach. We focused on addressing the root causes of the recurring cycle of violence through a combination of actions at the national, regional and international levels.
This approach is presented in my Special Report before you and it also formed the basis of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region signed on February 24th in Addis Ababa.
The signing of the Framework represents an historic opportunity.
Eleven countries of the Great Lakes region have committed to respect the sovereignty and integrity of their neighbours … strengthen economic integration … and neither tolerate nor provide support to armed groups.
The Congolese Government has also committed to undertake significant internal reforms, such as army reform, decentralization, expansion of infrastructure and basic social services delivery, reconciliation and democratization.
The Chairs of the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Southern African Development Community and myself are acting as co-guarantors of the Framework.
All of us understand that signing the Framework is a beginning, not an end. Implementation is essential – and innovative national and regional oversight mechanisms have been included in the Framework.
Multi-track action plans must be developed with benchmarks that will ensure the measurement of progress. The regional oversight mechanism has the format of a peer review among all signatories. This mechanism, composed of the 11+4 signatories of the Framework, will meet at the highest level twice a year to review progress on the implementation. This will take place every January in the margins of the African Union Summit and the annual session of the General Assembly each September.
I will also appoint a Special Envoy who, together with concerned stakeholders, will support the implementation, including through benchmarks to measure national and regional progress.
Supporting the implementation of the national commitments set out in the Framework – and consistent with MONUSCO’s mandate – my Special Representative in the DRC will play a central role in promoting inclusive and transparent political dialogue among concerned stakeholders as a key priority.
To further support the political objectives of the Framework, my report also proposes the establishment within MONUSCO of an Intervention Brigade.
This Intervention Brigade will have the ability to conduct, with or without the FARDC [Congolese armed forces], offensive operations against all armed groups that threaten the peace in eastern DRC.
This enforcement capacity, which was initially called for by the regional actors, seeks to address the imminent threats to stability and will provide the most appropriate response to the active conflict environment in which MONUSCO has been operating for several years.
The Intervention Brigade will be tasked with containing the expansion of both Congolese and foreign armed groups, neutralising these groups, and disarming them.
This will provide much needed capacity to our peacekeeping operation.
We are now consulting with current MONUSCO troop-contributing countries and potential contributors to the International Brigade in order to prepare, should the Council agree, for a rapid deployment of the Brigade.
The security situation remains fragile – and demands urgent actions.
I call on the Security Council to authorise the deployment of this Brigade and provide it with the necessary political backing.
Distinguished Members of the Council,
The effective implementation of the commitments and oversights mechanisms will require long-term efforts from the international community, including the Security Council.
Structural reforms in the DRC and the commitments made at the regional level will need the international community’s sustained support and heightened attention.
The Council should remain seized of the progress made in implementing the provisions of the Framework.
Commitments must be translated into results.
The latest crisis in North Kivu has displaced 900,000 civilians, bringing the total number of IDPs in eastern DRC to 2.6 million.
The people of the DRC deserve to live normal lives and not be subject to rape, abductions, exactions, fear or worse.
We owe them our best efforts to tackle the root causes of their insecurity.
Eleven Heads of State and Government have proclaimed their commitment to unite for this cause.
I call on you today to support them.
Let us offer the people of the DRC not only hope, but a concrete engagement for the peace and stability they have so long deserved.
Thank you for your attention.