Addressing the Security Council, the head of United Nations peacekeeping operations today urged the international community to push for a swift endorsement of the so-called 31 December political accord in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to put in place a transitional government of national unity.
“The signing of the 31 December accord gives hope for a peaceful resolution of the political impasse,” the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, told the 15-member Council.
He warned that failure to sign the agreement – facilitated by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) mediators, and reached in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, on 31 December 2016 – could delay elections and increase the risk of renewed political crisis and increased violence in the country.
“Regional and international actors should maintain strong support for the implementation of the accord and the holding of elections, as soon as feasible,” Mr. Ladsous said.
The accord builds on an initial political agreement between part of the opposition and the majorité présidentielle reached in October under the auspices of the African Union facilitation. It aims for a peacefully managed transition consistent with the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
DRC: 31 December accord gives “hope for a peaceful settlement of the political impasse.” Credit UN News
In addition to political developments in the country, Mr. Ladsous addressed recent human rights violations and acts of violence that occurred on 19 and 20 December. At least 42 people were killed and 140 others injured in clashed between national security forces and demonstrators. The senior UN official called on the Congolese Government “to initiate a full investigation into the events that led to the excessive use of force and loss of life” during that time period, and to ensure that those responsible are held to account.
He went on to cite the ongoing volatility in the security situation in eastern DRC. In addition to the threat posed by foreign armed groups, namely the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the activities of militia groups are on the rise in many parts of the country. “This increase in levels of armed violence is driven in part by the escalation of deep-rooted and long-standing conflicts between ethnic communities,” he noted.
Mr. Ladsous said that the UN Secretariat and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the country (MONUSCO) remain committed to working in support of the accord and the Congolese, and will present to the Security Council recommendations for how to best attain this goal.