Political tensions running high in DR Congo: UN
Oct.8, Brazzaville: The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) told the UN Security Council today that he cannot say with certainty whether the progress attained in the country is sustainable, or whether violence will erupt again and reverse what has been achieved so far.
“The political situation in the DRC is increasingly marked by the electoral process [and] political tensions are running high ahead of the 2016 presidential and legislative polls,” said Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country, who was joined today by UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Said Djinnit.
“The conduct of peaceful, timely and credible elections in November 2016 would send a clear message to the world that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nation that respects its Constitution, a nation keen on a peaceful transition of power, a nation that will consolidate peace,” Kobler said.
To ensure transparent and inclusive elections, he appealed to the Government of the DRC to immediately address open questions related to the sequencing of the electoral calendar, its budget, and updating the voter registry to include eligible individuals who turned 18 since the last election in 2011.
On the issue of human rights in the country, Kobler said more than 2,200 violations affecting 5,400 victims have taken place this year so far. “Half of these abuses were still committed by State agents. Despite repeated calls, there has been limited progress in bringing senior perpetrators to justice,” he stated.
Meanwhile, he informed the Security Council that, in some parts of eastern DRC, refugees are gradually returning home but the population remains “wary of a fragile peace that still needs to be consolidated.” He recalled that when he first arrived in the Congo in August 2013, Goma was recovering from a takeover by the M23 rebel group – but after two years, the situation had changed.
Although the M23 is now defeated, Kobler underlined that military success alone is not durable. “M23 ex-combatants still sojourn in camps in Rwanda and Uganda. All efforts of reintegration on the basis of the Nairobi Declaration [2013 agreement ending hostilities] have not succeeded thus far. This is a time bomb that must be urgently defused.”
In addition, he informed the Security Council that the Ugandan armed rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have also been weakened, and highlighted that the “brave combat of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces have resulted in the gradual return of 80,000 refugees since early 2014.
“Further West in the Beni area, however, the population continues to experience the anguish of armed conflict. The 440 terror victims in one year alone speak a clear language. The ADF is far from being defeated,” he reported, adding that one victim is too many.
Regarding the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group mainly composed of remnant Rwandan Hutu rebels, Kobler said their existence “remains one of the most important hindrance to peace in Eastern DRC.” He welcomed the criminal convictions and long prison terms recently handed down against two FDLR leaders by a court in Germany.
“The only efficient solutions to address the security situation are joint MONUSCO-FARDC operations,” he insisted. “In my last briefing to you, I urged [DRC] President Kabila to give the green light for joint operations. Unfortunately, the green light has not yet been given. I again call on the President to instruct the FARDC to resume cooperation which produced so many positive results in the past.”
The Oslo Times