DR Congo

UN Security Council extends MONUC's mandate in the DRC until 31 May 2010

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New York, 23 December 2009 - The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted resolution 1906 (2009) by which the Council extends MONUC's mandate until 31 May 2010 and indicates that it intends to extend the Mission's mandate for further period of twelve months beyond that date. In the meantime, it asks the Secretary-General to "conduct a strategic review" of the situation in the DRC and to determine "the modalities of a reconfiguration of the mandate" and to report to the Council by 1 April 2010. The Council asks the Secretary-General to focus on "the critical tasks that need to be accomplished before MONUC can envisage its drawdown without triggering a relapse into instability" in the DRC.

Protection of civilians remains highest priority

By resolution 1906 the Council emphasizes that "the protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources, over any of the other tasks" spelled out in the resolution. It requests MONUC to continue its coordination of operations with the FARDC aimed at disarming foreign and Congolese armed groups, in particular the FDLR and the LRA, and sets out strict conditions governing MONUC support for the FARDC.

The Council urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo "to establish sustainable peace in the eastern part of the country, to effectively protect the civilian population, to develop sustainable security sector institutions which fully respect the rule of law, and to ensure respect for human rights and the fight against impunity by strengthening the capacity of the judicial and correctional systems." It also stresses that "the Goma and Nairobi processes as well as the 23 March 2009 Agreements are the appropriate framework for stabilizing the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," and urges "all parties to fully abide by and implement these agreements."

Security sector reform

The resolution calls MONUC to "work in close cooperation with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the security sector reform led by the government" and "Reiterates the primary responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo regarding the reform of its security sector, and encourages the Government, working in cooperation with MONUC and other international partners, to build a core, well-vetted, multi-ethnic force, whose size, composition and structure should be developed by the Government, with the support of MONUC, with a view to strengthening the capacity, discipline and professionalism of the FARDC." MONUC is also requested, "in cooperation with the Congolese authorities, to coordinate the efforts of the international community, including all bilateral and multilateral actors working in this field, on security sector reform issues." The Council calls on all Member States and international organisations to fully cooperate with MONUC in this regard.

MONUC support to the FARDC

MONUC provides limited support-primarily food, fuel, transport and medical evacuation and, on occasion, fire support-to some 23,000 FARDC troops involved in operations against illegal armed groups. This support was begun in accordance with resolution 1856, which authorized MONUC to support such operations, provided that they were jointly planned and conducted in accordance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. Resolution 1906 "reiterates that the support of MONUC to FARDC-led military operations against foreign and Congolese armed groups is strictly conditioned on FARDC's compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and on an effective joint planning of these operations." By the resolution, the Council also "decides that MONUC military leadership shall confirm, prior to providing any support to such operations that sufficient joint planning has been undertaken, especially regarding the protection of the civilian population," and "calls upon MONUC to intercede with the FARDC command if elements of a FARDC unit receiving MONUC's support are suspected of having committed grave violations of such laws, and if the situation persists, and calls upon MONUC to withdraw support from these FARDC units". The Council requests the Secretary-General to establish a mechanism to regularly assess the implementation of the policy governing support to the FARDC.

Human rights, child protection and stabilization

The Security Council stresses "the urgent need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and other relevant actors, to end violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and to bring the perpetrators to justice, and calling on Member States to assist in this regard and to continue to provide medical, humanitarian and other assistance to victims, and demands that all armed groups, in particular the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), immediately cease all forms of violence and human rights abuse against the civilian population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual abuse". MONUC is asked to identify Women's Protection Advisers among its gender advisers and human rights protection units in line with the UN's comprehensive strategy against sexual violence in the DRC.

Referring to resolution 1856 (2008) the Council reaffirms MONUC's role in the promotion and protection of human rights. Resolution 1856 called on MONUC to devote particular attention to investigating and reporting on violations, putting an end to impunity, developing and implementing a transitional justice strategy, and cooperating in national and international efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Resolution 1906 demands that all armed groups cease recruiting children and that they release children in their ranks. It further calls on the Government of the DRC to continue to work with MONUC towards the release of children present in FARDC and to prevent further recruitment.

Regarding the support to the government stabilization plan for the east the Security Council "Requests MONUC and the United Nations Country Team to continue their support to extend State authority in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular within the framework of the Government's Stabilization and Reconstruction Plan (STAREC) and the United Nations Security and Stabilization Support Strategy (UNSSSS), with a particular emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions and building effective rule of law capacity, including justice and corrections."