- UN Security Council yesterday voiced deep concern over recent resurgence of violence in eastern provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), warning of potential of violence to undermine peace in wider Great Lakes region of Central Africa.
In a statement read out by Ambassador Zhang Yesui of China, who holds Council presidency this month, 15-member panel said it was especially concerned about humanitarian effects on civilians and urged government forces and rebel groups to respect a ceasefire.
“The Council strongly condemns the continuing recruitment and use of children by armed groups as well as the continued prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence… It urges all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law,” security council statement said.
According to UN reports, thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in eastern DRC in recent weeks, mainly in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, because of fighting between government forces and rebel National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP).
Armed groups operating in the region must lay down their arms and present themselves immediately to UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) for disarmament, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration, Mr Yesui appealed.
“The Security Council welcomes MONUC’s intention to reconfigure its forces and optimise their deployment so as to enhance its efficiency within the existing mandate and troop ceiling,” according to the presidential statement, which also noted recent request from Alan Doss, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRC, for additional capacities for the mission.
Statement further urged Kinshasa to ensure there is no cooperation between elements of the FARDC and Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a mainly Hutu rebel group.
It also called on other governments in the region to stop any support of armed groups in the eastern DRC, and urged DRC and Rwanda to take immediate steps to reconcile their differences.
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