Security Council Press Statement on Democratic Republic of the Congo

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan):

The members of the Security Council met on 9 January 2018 to discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and activities of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). They were briefed by Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the political, human rights, security and humanitarian situation in the country.

The members of the Security Council expressed concerns at the continued deterioration of the security situation and the worrisome humanitarian situation, which has reached catastrophic levels in some parts of the country and has prompted the United Nations to activate the highest level of emergency preparedness. They called on Member States to scale up funding to urgently respond to the humanitarian needs in the country.

The members of the Security Council further noted with serious concern the continued political impasse and the violent incidents against protesters that took place in Kinshasa and other localities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 31 December 2017. They strongly condemned the violence, which resulted in several deaths, and deeply regretted the loss of life. They underlined the importance of observing rule of law and called on the Congolese authorities to urgently investigate any disproportionate use of force by security forces on peaceful protesters, so that the perpetrators of these acts are swiftly brought to justice.

The members of the Security Council called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to remain committed to the 31 December 2016 Agreement, which remains the only viable path out of the current political situation, and to continue to reject violence of any kind, exercise maximum restraint in their actions and statements by refraining from provocations such as violence and violent speeches, so as not to further inflame the situation and to address their differences peacefully. They called on the authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially the right of peaceful assembly, and to exercise maximum restraint in their response to protests, and also called upon the opposition forces, on their side, to show responsibility by ensuring the peaceful character of their demonstrations. The members of the Security Council called upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to hold accountable those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights, in accordance with the Constitution. They further called on those in the opposition who reject the electoral process to engage in the spirit of dialogue and compromise in order to enable the implementation of the Agreement.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that effective, swift and timely implementation of the Agreement and the recently adopted electoral timeline are essential for a peaceful and credible electoral process, a democratic transition of power, and the peace and stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as in supporting the legitimacy of the transitional institutions. They recalled the importance of taking urgent measures to restore confidence between the actors involved and to defuse the political tension, within the spirit of the 31 December 2016 Agreement, including the release of political prisoners and the full implementation of all other confidence-building measures, several of which are yet to be implemented. In line with the statement by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, they called on all stakeholders to work together towards the holding of the elections within the timetable announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission. They underscored the need to do everything possible to ensure that the elections on 23 December 2018 are organized with the requisite conditions of transparency, credibility and inclusivity, including the full and equal participation of women at all stages, as well as the importance of youth engagement. The members of the Security Council also underscored that elections must lead to a peaceful transfer of power, in accordance with the Constitution, the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016, Security Council resolution 2348 (2017), as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

They reiterated their commitment to act accordingly regarding all Congolese actors whose actions and statements impede the implementation of the agreement and the timely organization of the elections.

The members of the Security Council called for increased coordination between the United Nations, the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Southern Africa Development Community, the European Union and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie in supporting the implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement and the electoral process.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress made in the voter registration, with the active support of MONUSCO, the adoption of the amended electoral law and of the election financing bill by the Congolese parliament. They encouraged international and bilateral partners to contribute to funding the multi-partners fund for the Projet d’appui au cycle electoral au Congo (PACEC) and called on the Congolese authorities to enable adequate and timely provision of this support, according to the national financial rules and regulations of the country. They further welcomed the establishment of a joint team of experts from these organizations. The members of the Security Council look forward to the African Union Summit in January and the meetings on the Democratic Republic of the Congo planned in the margins of the Summit.

The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to swiftly and fully investigate the killing of the two members of the Group of Experts and bring those responsible to justice. They noted in this regard the deployment by the Secretary-General (letter S/2017/917 of 31 October 2017), in agreement with the Congolese authorities, of a United Nations team to assist the Congolese authorities in their investigations, and the intention of the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council about the work of the team. They welcomed the cooperation of the Congolese authorities with the United Nations enquiries, as well as with law enforcement investigations that are or may be conducted by Sweden or the United States, and look forward to the Congolese authorities continued cooperation in accordance with Democratic Republic of the Congo national legislation. The members of the Security Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s commitment that the United Nations will do everything possible to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. They recalled its decision in paragraph 3 of resolution 2360 (2017) that acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo include planning, directing, sponsoring or participating in attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers or United Nations and associated personnel, including members of the Group of Experts, and expressed its readiness to designate individuals and groups responsible for such attacks for sanctions.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to MONUSCO to fully implement their mandate. They thanked outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General Maman Sidikou for his work and congratulated his successor, Leila Zerrougui, for her appointment. They urged Secretariat to timely implement the provisions of the Security Council’s resolutions related to reporting.

Source: United Nations