24 FEBRUARY 2017
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine):
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the violence witnessed in the Kasaï region over recent months. They expressed grave concern at the recent reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by local militia in that region, including unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, and of killings of civilians by members of the security forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which might constitute war crimes under international law.
They recalled that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo bears the primary responsibility to protect civilians within its territory and urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to constantly exercise maximum restraint and proportionate lawful use of force in its efforts to restore order. They called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to immediately dispatch a credible and impartial investigation and to bring to justice and hold accountable all those responsible. They welcomed the announcement by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in this regard. They encouraged the Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to provide support to the Congolese authorities, if requested, in the conduct of this investigation, developments in which they will follow very closely. They further called on MONUSCO to monitor and report on violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law and to update its contingency plans in this regard. In the longer term, they encouraged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue its efforts for the extension of State authority, ensuring credible governance with capable institutions, especially in the security sector, to prevent and deter violence.
The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at recent incursions of former M23 [Mouvement du 23 mars/23 March Movement] combatants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and recalled the commitments by all States of the region under the Peace, Security and Cooperation framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region. They noted with appreciation the communiqué of the third meeting of the guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on 27 January 2017 in that regard and urged them to continue advancing their commitments.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong support for the 31 December 2016 political agreement, and its pursuit of peaceful, credible, free, fair and inclusive elections by December 2017, leading to a democratic transfer of power. They expressed their increasing concern regarding the continuing lack of progress in the dialogue among the political stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo related to the implementation modalities of the agreement. They expressed concern that, two months after the signing of the agreement, the appointment of a Prime Minister presented by the Rassemblement coalition, as well as the installation of a new transitional government and of the Comité National de Suivi de l’Accord (CNSA) have yet to take place. They stressed the need to maintain the political goodwill that led to the signing of the agreement in order to avoid further insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In this context, the members of the Security Council called on all stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including President [Joseph] Kabila, the presidential majority and the opposition, to redouble, in good faith, their efforts towards a speedy conclusion of the ongoing talks on the “arrangements particuliers” of the agreement, in order to urgently nominate a Prime Minister presented by the Rassemblement, as per the 31 December agreement, to put in place the Comité National de Suivi de l’Accord and to fully implement confidence-building measures. They recalled that security issues should not delay the implementation of the agreement and that the rapid implementation of the agreement is important for ensuring peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the mediation led by Conférence épiscopale nationale du Congo (CENCO), and reaffirmed the need for all parties to support and participate constructively in these mediation efforts. They recalled that that full and timely implementation of the 31 December agreement, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution and in line with United Nations Security Council resolution 2277 (2016), is critical in upholding the legitimacy of the transitional institutions until elections.
The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its national partners taking all necessary steps to accelerate preparations for the elections, without further delays, and to ensure an environment conducive to the peaceful and inclusive conduct of political activities. They further stressed the importance of the inclusion of women in the follow-up and implementation of the agreement.
The members of the Security Council further called for the assistance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s development partners and regional States to support the efforts of relevant Congolese authorities to implement the 31 December agreement and the electoral process, as well as the establishment of sustainable peace and security in the country.
Noting that the effective and swift implementation of the 31 December agreement is critical to the peace and stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the members of the Security Council reiterated their commitment to support the implementation of the agreement, in close cooperation with the African Union and regional mechanisms, and their determination to continue to closely follow the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular the respect of human rights, the security conditions on the ground and the efforts to successfully conclude a credible electoral process, and, in particular regarding all Congolese actors whose actions and statement impede the implementation of the agreement and the organization of the elections, to act accordingly.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to MONUSCO and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For information media. Not an official record.