Security Council underlines need for national reconciliation in DR Congo
In a statement read out by Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, which holds this month’s rotating presidency, Council members stressed the legitimacy of the DRC’s recently democratically elected institutions, such as the Government of President Joseph Kabila.
At the same time, the 15-member panel said it was important that these institutions operate with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law, and avoid any unnecessary or disproportionate force.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, estimates that hundreds of people were killed and many more wounded during several days of violence that began in the Gombe district of Kinshasa on 22 March between Government forces and guards of former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was defeated last year by Mr. Kabila in the run-off round of landmark presidential elections.
Today’s Council presidential statement deplored that violence, expressing regret also at the destruction and pillaging that took place – including of some diplomatic missions in Kinshasa – during the clashes.
It called on MONUC and Congolese authorities to undertake the necessary investigations into what happened, encouraged all political sides in the DRC to remain committed to the political process, and emphasized the value of continued international support.
The DRC is rebuilding following the end of a six-year civil war, widely considered the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II, which cost 4 million lives in fighting, hunger and disease. Last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections were the first polls of their kind in more than four decades.
Mr. Jones Parry added that Council members welcomed a declaration by the Conference of Presidents of the Congolese National Assembly following the violence in which all parliamentary groups reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the democratic process.
They also noted a communiqué of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council on 24 March and a separate communiqué from the Extraordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government in Dar-es-Salaam on 28-29 March reaffirming the sovereign right of the DRC to have a single national army and for all other armed groups to be integrated into the military or demobilized.
The presidential statement emphasized the need for continuing peace consolidation in the DRC, especially in the field of security sector reform.