‘Dis­turb­ing level’ of vi­o­lence in DRC – UN

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KINSHASA: The se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo (DRC) con­tin­ues to be a ma­jor source of con­cern, with vi­o­lence in the Ka­sai prov­inces reach­ing “dis­turb­ing” lev­els, the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil says.

Pre­sent­ing the lat­est re­port, Un­der-Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Peace­keep­ing Op­er­a­tions Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who re­cently vis­ited the coun­try, urged the coun­cil to sup­port the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple to pre­serve the gains of the past 17 years.

“The cur­rent po­lit­i­cal im­passe re­quires a con­certed re­sponse from re­gional and in­ter­na­tional part­ners,” Lacroix said.

“This must aim to help cre­ate the con­di­tions for a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion and the hold­ing of free, fair and in­clu­sive elec­tions,” he stressed, with a nod to a po­lit­i­cal agree­ment signed last year which spec­i­fied that elec­tions would be held by the end of this year.

The agree­ment – fa­cil­i­tated by Con­férence Epis­co­pale Na­tionale du Congo me­di­a­tors, and reached in DRC’s cap­i­tal, Kinshasa, on De­cem­ber 31, al­lowed Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila to stay in power be­yond the end of his term.

Lacroix said im­ple­men­ta­tion “re­mains largely in­ad­e­quate.”

“At a time when the DRC is at the mid-point of its tran­si­tion, it is more nec­es­sary than ever for na­tional po­lit­i­cal ac­tors to re­mo­bilise the po­lit­i­cal agree­ment of De­cem­ber 31, 2016,” the se­nior UN of­fi­cial stressed.

Lacroix un­der­scored his com­mit­ment “to en­sur­ing Monusco de­liv­ers on its core man­dated ob­jec­tives as ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble” while re­spond­ing to the chang­ing sit­u­a­tion on the ground.

Monusco (the UN Or­gan­i­sa­tion Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Mis­sion in the DRC) is un­der­go­ing a re­view, which will prob­a­bly re­sult in shifts in its struc­ture and man­date.

Amid the po­lit­i­cal im­passe, the fo­cus is on ris­ing in­se­cu­rity, with par­tic­u­lar con­cern over vi­o­lence in the Ka­sai prov­inces, and a re­cent in­crease in in­ter-eth­nic vi­o­lence there.

“Dis­turb­ing reports of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and abuses con­tinue to be re­ceived on a daily ba­sis.”

Dozens of mass graves have been re­ported so far, and the na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion ef­forts are “slow,” he said. Be­tween May and June, the num­ber of dis­placed per­sons in­creased by 26% to 1.3 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to UN fig­ures.

He stressed UN’s con­tin­ued fo­cus on en­sur­ing those re­spon­si­ble for the killing of UN hu­man rights work­ers Michael Sharp and Zaida Cata­lan, are brought to jus­tice.

JOSEPH KA­BILA

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