Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Pictures Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Real prospect of ending fighting in eastern DR Congo, says top UN envoy

Previous article | Next

UN News - October 16, 2009

Alan Doss

The top United Nations envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today voiced optimism that calm could soon return to the country’s volatile eastern region, while noting that a number of challenges still remain.

“There is now a real prospect that the conflicts that have long blighted the eastern Congo can be ended,” Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRC and head of the UN peacekeeping force there, told the Security Council.

Highlighting progress on a number of fronts, he stated that operations by the Congolese Army, known as FARDC, in North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale provinces have significantly eroded the capacities of the Hutu rebel Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The nearly 19,000-strong UN force (MONUC), set up in 2000 to help restore peace after years of multiple civil wars, has been supporting the FARDC in efforts to flush out the rebels.

Numerous waves of fighting over the years have produced around 2.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in DRC. An estimated 1.7 million people remain displaced in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, with more than 400,000 persons having fled their homes since January.

Mr. Doss reported that most of the IDPs who had been regrouped in camps at the outskirts of the North Kivu capital of Goma as a result of the earlier conflict with the rebel Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) returned home. But there are still a lot of displaced people in North and South Kivu who are waiting for security to improve before returning home.

In addition, more than 2,000 children have been separated from armed groups since the beginning of the year, and the integration of the CNDP and other Congolese armed groups is approaching completion.

“Despite these positive developments, I do not want to imply that the troubles of eastern Congo are a thing of the past,” he stated, adding that significant problems remain, including new population displacements and human rights violations, as well as an “appallingly high” level of violence against women.

Yesterday the independent UN human rights expert Philip Alston called the joint Government-UN military offensive in the east “catastrophic,” stating that Government troops have killed, raped or mutilated scores of civilians this year in the context of these operations.

“I don’t agree with his assessment,” Mr. Doss told reporters, following his briefing to the Council.

“We certainly would agree with him, however, that on the humanitarian side because of displacement… because of human rights violations, there are a lot of preoccupations... Yes, there are concerns and we have to deal with those concerns as we go forward.”

While noting that MONUC is mandated by the Council to help the Government deal with rebellions and armed groups that have created “untold misery” for the country, he stressed that it does not give unconditional support to the FARDC.

“Putting an end to the armed groups, dealing with the issue of impunity and improving the discipline of the FARDC are all part of a broader effort to finally bring a very long-running conflict to an end in the eastern part of the country,” he added.

To underscore its full support for President Joseph Kabila’s declared zero-tolerance policy for acts of sexual and gender-based violence, Mr. Doss said that MONUC will withdraw support from Congolese battalions that show a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

In terms of looking ahead, he told the Council that the areas cleared of the presence of FDLR rebels by the Congolese armed forces must be fully secured to ensure continuing protection for the population and to allow displaced persons to return home.

Major operations against the remaining rebel strongholds should be completed as soon as possible with proper regard for the protection of civilians, and the discipline of the FARDC and its allies requires constant attention “to signal that impunity will not be accepted,” he added.

The Special Representative noted that some observers have suggested that the military operations in the east should be suspended to give the Congolese armed forces time to “get its house in order” and improve discipline.

He responded, however, that reducing the pressure now would give the rebels time to regroup and rearm.

In a related development, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was today in Goma, where he urged the international community not to forget the Congolese in their hour of need, comparing the hundreds of thousands of IDPs there to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Mr. Guterres will briefly visit Rwanda before attending a special summit of the African Union (AU) on forcibly displaced people that will be held in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, beginning on Monday.


Related articles


  1. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  2. DR Congo Takes Chairmanship of COMESA at Summit in Kinshasa (February 26, 2014)
  3. Bosco Ntaganda Attacked Civilians on Ethnic Grounds, ICC Prosecutor Says (February 10, 2014)
  4. New DR Congo amnesty law welcomed by UN envoys (February 5, 2014)
  5. Colonel Mamadou Ndala Is Killed in Ambush (January 2, 2014)
  6. DR Congo Honors Nelson Mandela, Hero and Model for Humanity (December 6, 2013)
  7. No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says (November 11, 2013)
  8. Congo Will Not Sign a 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 6, 2013)
  9. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  10. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  11. Advancing Congo Troops Take Control of Rumangabo From M23 Rebels (October 28, 2013)
  12. Congo Army Liberates Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Kibumba From M23 Rebels (October 27, 2013)
  13. Congo Army Dislodges M23 Rebels From Strategic Town of Kibumba (October 26, 2013)
  14. Ban Ki-moon Confirms M23 Rebels Shelled Rwanda (August 31, 2013)
  15. DR Congo Will Defend Itself Against an Attack by Rwanda, Government Says (August 31, 2013)
  16. M23 Rebels Fired Shells Into Rwanda, Not Congo Army, UN Says (August 30, 2013)
  17. Mortar Shells From Rwanda Kill Civilians in Eastern Congo (August 23, 2013)
  18. Dozens of M23 Rebels Killed by Congo Army in Renewed Fighting (August 22, 2013)
  19. UN Peacekeepers Start Enforcing Security Zone in Eastern Congo (August 1, 2013)
  20. UN Security Council debate focuses on peace efforts for Africa's Great Lakes region (July 25, 2013)
  21. M23 Rebels Said to Flee Rumangabo After Congo Army Airstrikes (July 25, 2013)
  22. Congo Army Strikes M23 Rebels Base At Rumangabo (July 24, 2013)
  23. M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians in Eastern Congo: Human Rights Watch (July 22, 2013)
  24. M23 Rebels in Disarray in Eastern Congo, Says Government Spokesman (July 19, 2013)
  25. 120 M23 Rebels Killed in East, Government Says (July 15, 2013)
  26. DR Congo Eases Process for Starting a New Business (June 3, 2013)
  27. UN Security Council approves intervention force to target armed groups in DR Congo (March 28, 2013)
  28. Bosco Ntaganda in the International Criminal Court's custody (March 22, 2013)
  29. Warlord Bosco Ntaganda Turns Himself In at US Embassy in Rwanda (March 18, 2013)
  30. Regional Leaders Sign DR Congo Peace Deal (February 24, 2013)


Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
 


Make Congo Planet Your Home Page | Facebook | Twitter | Contact Us | About Us | Version en Francais | French Edition

© 2014 CongoPlanet.com. All rights reserved.