Statement on behalf of the A3 at the Briefing on the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF A3 BY H.E. HAROLD AGYEMAN
I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3, namely, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya. I thank SRSG Bintou Keita for her briefing and commend her efforts in support of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I also welcome the participation of Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our statement will focus on three main areas: the political, security and humanitarian situation. On the political front, we welcome the Government of the DRC’s commitment to hold elections in 2023, in accordance with the constitutional framework. We commend the adoption of revisions to the Electoral Law by the National Assembly, featuring provisions that not only increase transparency, but also create incentives for greater participation of women. This is an important step in achieving gender parity.
We note the challenging security environment in some parts of the DRC and encourage the national authorities to adopt a comprehensive approach for planning the preparatory electoral processes in order to afford all Congolese an opportunity to participate in the upcoming elections. We welcome the outcomes of the Conclaves of the East African Community Heads of State on the peace and security situation on the eastern part of the DRC, and its commitments to contribute to reconciliation, stabilisation and securing lasting peace in the region.
We acknowledge the participation of armed groups, as well as leaders of local communities in the two rounds of the interCongolese peace dialogue. Their increasing willingness to surrender
their arms and embrace the National Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS) is encouraging. We welcome the announcement of the establishment of a regional force which should contribute to the stabilization of the DRC and also of all the Great Lake region.
The A3 calls on all stakeholders to discourage and cease all offensive language, hate speech, threats of genocide and other politically inciting language. It is imperative that all communities work together to stabilize the eastern part of the DRC with a view to achieving a mutually shared prosperity.
The devastating impact of armed group violence on civilians, particularly vulnerable populations, including women, children and internally displaced persons remains alarming. The activities of terrorist affiliated groups such as the ADF continue to exact a heavy toll on civilians and civilian objects, particularly through manipulation, abuse, abductions, killing and maiming as well as the indiscriminate use of Improvised Explosive Devices.
The A3 strongly condemn the destabilizing activities of armed groups in eastern DRC including the ADF, CODECO and the resurgent M23. We call on all armed groups, both foreign and local, to immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities, lay down their arms and to participate in the national and regional disarmament programmes. The armed groups owe it to the people of DRC to realise that there is no military solution to their challenges. And that the answer lies in them embracing the call for peace, taking ownership of the InterCongolese Peace Dialogue, and pursuing opportunities for shared economic prosperity and development.
The A3 remains deeply concern by the humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC, with 5.5 million internally displaced, over half a million refugees and 27 million civilians facing acute food insecurity, compounded by the widespread insecurity. We note that as of today, the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, targeting 8.8 million people, has received only 15 per cent of the $1.88 billion required. We commend the outstanding work of humanitarian organizations that, at the risk of their lives, provide continuous support to the people of DRC. We urge MONUSCO, jointly with the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) Joint Steering Committee, to implement a humanitariandevelopment-peacebuilding triple nexus approach in support of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.
It is important that humanitarian support be resilience-based. It should entail rehabilitation and reconstruction of civilian infrastructure, restoration of essential services, and provision of modern equipment and technology in support of local entrepreneurships that sustain livelihoods The A3 encourages member States of the East African Community, as well as the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, to work together to find durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons. This should include, their voluntary, safe and dignified return and reintegration in their communities of origin.
We reiterate the need for regional states to remain committed to addressing the root causes of the conflict and promote sustainable and equitable patterns of human development by fostering inclusion in all facets of life and effective management of diversity. The A3 further encourages the regional states to deepen their economic integration as a critical component of promoting peace, stability and economic development.
In light of the ongoing negotiations on the sanctions regime on the DRC, the A3 underscores that the current notification requirement remains an unnecessary bureaucratic impediment that infringes on the sovereignty of the DRC. This requirement continues to impede the capacity of the DRC to curb the activities of armed groups as well as improve its ability to safeguard its internal security.
The notification requirement does not stop the proliferation of weapons in the DRC but only serves to avail information that should remain obscure for a sovereign state. Armed groups continue to gain weapons including heavy artillery, enhancing their capability to contest the FARDC as well as MONUSCO. We call on the Council to respond favourably to the Congolese authorities’ request to waive the notification requirement for the acquisition of weapons as well as its sovereign right to receive military training and technical support for the security and defence of the Congolese people. We urge the regional mechanisms as well as the international community to assist the DRC to stem the illicit proliferation and supply of weapons by sealing the loopholes being used by transborder criminal networks.
In conclusion, Mr. President, The A3 commends the efforts of MONUSCO and the international community in promoting peace and security in the DRC. We reiterate our appreciation to the UN Secretary General and AUC Chairperson and all regional and global leaders for their support for the ongoing regional peace processes. We reiterate our solidarity with the Government and the people of the DRC in their quest for lasting peace and reaffirm our respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of
I thank you for your attention.