Security Council briefed on safety, humanitarian crisis in DRC

Cautioning about the fraught security and humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due to the depredations of armed groups, delegates also looked forward to elections slated to take place there at the end of 2023, and noted signs of progress as they briefed Member States on the Security Council mission to the country from 9 to 13 March.

Nicolas de Rivière (France) said the Security Council mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo provided an opportunity to take the measure of the situation on the ground, and entailed meetings in Kinshasa with the country's President, the National Assembly President and the Senate's Vice-President. Turning to the situation in the east of the country, which is deteriorating due to multiplying attacks by armed groups, he said the activities of the 23 March Movement (M23) undermine regional stability and worsen the security and humanitarian situation. To address the situation, the Council has issued clear demands: an immediate cessation of hostilities, and called on M23 to halt new advances and withdraw from all occupied areas, in line with the Luanda process. Further, Congolese armed groups must participate in the Nairobi process with a view to their demobilization, and foreign armed groups must return to their countries of origin.

He noted that the visit also paid tribute to the work of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which protects civilians and supports stabilization, and to peacekeepers who lost their lives. Financial support for the Mission must be enhanced, and dialogue must continue between MONUSCO and the Congolese authorities to advance the transition. He went on to reiterate his support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Xia Huang.

Turning to elections scheduled for the end of 2023, he noted that members met with representatives of civil society and the various political parties during their visit to Kinshasa, and encouraged all political actors to continue to work towards peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible processes for these elections, in accordance with the Constitution and electoral law.

Michel Xavier Biang (Gabon) recalled that the Security Council delegation met in Goma with the military Governor of North Kivu, the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Social Affairs and Humanitarian Action to discuss the worsening security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also broached were the topics of implementing the mandate of MONUSCO, the humanitarian situation and the root causes of conflict. He went on to report that the regional dimension was at the heart of discussions during meetings with representatives of the Nairobi and Luanda processes. Such processes must be conducted in close coordination with United Nations efforts, he emphasized, urging synergy between the East African Community's regional force and MONUSCO.

He also pointed out that the Council delegation visited a displaced persons camp - underlining the "colossal" nature of needs there - and welcomed the United Nations humanitarian response. The Council delegation, additionally, met with female civil-society representatives, discussing combating sexual violence amidst the resurgence of armed groups. Further, it conducted a stocktaking exercise regarding the fight against natural-resource exploitation, which continues to finance armed groups and terrorists. Urging support for national efforts to ensure that such resources benefit the population and regional efforts to implement international regulatory instruments, he underscored that, through the visit, the Council has sent the message that "the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] is not alone".

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 10:10 a.m.

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