DR Congo

In DR Congo, UN envoy stresses value of disarmament and reintegration after conflict

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The processes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration are essential if countries emerging from conflict are going to make a successful and lasting transition to peace and stability, the senior United Nations envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) told a conference today.

William Lacy Swing, the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the DRC and the head of the UN peacekeeping mission to the country (MONUC), told the conference - held in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa - that Sierra Leone and Mozambique offered useful examples of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes.

African countries emerging from war would also benefit from sharing their experiences of DDR programmes with those countries that have already gone through those processes, he said.

Mr. Swing added that "we must do all in our power to control conflicts that are tearing the continent apart and we must exploit all African mechanisms in the promotion of peace and security."

With the help of MONUC and others, the DRC is trying to rebuild its economic and social infrastructure after a six-year civil war ending in 2003 that cost 4 million lives due to fighting, hunger and disease. Landmark presidential and parliamentary elections were held last year, but the country continues to be plagued by violence and instability.

The three-day DDR conference, which started yesterday, includes representatives from MONUC, UN agencies, 20 African nations and the international community. The meeting is expected to focus on several issues, including security sector reform, women and children associated with armed groups and traditional forms of justice.