What's In Blue

Posted Mon 10 Jul 2017

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Briefing and Consultations

Tomorrow (11 July), the Council will be briefed by Maman Sambo Sidikou, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), on the Secretary-General’s three-monthly report on the implementation of MONUSCO’s mandate and most recent developments.

Sidikou’s briefing is expected to focus on the increasing violence in the Kasai region, the lack of progress in the full implementation of the 31 December 2016 Comprehensive and Inclusive Political Agreement, and the ongoing instability in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The electoral process continues to face delays, and there is a growing likelihood that the 2017 election stipulated by the agreement will not occur. Recent statements by a number of key figures in the DRC, including President Joseph Kabila, have raised questions over the commitment of the government to fully implementing the agreement.

The security situation across the DRC remains unstable. In addition to the Kasai region, there is ongoing violence in the eastern DRC, particularly in North Kivu, where there are reports of attacks by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, and the possible re-emergence of the M23 group.

Tomorrow’s briefing follows discussions by Council members on the DRC under “any other business” on 6 July. During this closed session, the Council was briefed on the current conflict in the Kasai region by Adama Dieng, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide, following his recent visit to the DRC; and by Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Last week’s briefing reportedly included disturbing descriptions of violence in the Kasai region, with atrocities being committed by both government forces and local militia. Dieng, who visited the Kasai region in late June, described increasing ethnically-motivated violence, and the use of ‘scorched earth’ tactics, including the complete destruction of villages and the murder of civilian populations.

OCHA has reported that a total of 3.8 million people are now internally displaced in the DRC. With an average of 8,000 people displaced daily, the total number of internally displaced people from the Kasai region has reached some 1.3 million. An estimated 1.2 million of those people will need some type of humanitarian assistance for the next six months.

Council members are expected to ask about the current impediments and delays to the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, and to seek to identify options for encouraging the commitment of all parties to the agreement. The Council is divided on the importance of elections occurring this year: some members have previously emphasised the need for full implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement this year to move DRC beyond the current political crisis; other members see all stakeholders as jointly responsible for carrying out the elections and believe the timing of them is less important than that they occur in a peaceful and inclusive manner.

Council members are also likely to express their concerns over the violence in the Kasai region, and ask whether additional steps can be taken to prevent the further spread of violence and to protect civilian populations. The Council has repeatedly emphasised its concern over the “security and humanitarian situation that continues to severely affect the civilian population,” as recently noted in resolution 2360, which renewed the mandate of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee until 1 July 2018. Council members may also condemn attacks on UN and humanitarian personnel in the Kasai region, with reference to the two members of the Group of Experts murdered in March.

Tomorrow’s briefing and consultations take place against the backdrop of the strategic review of MONUSCO, requested by resolution 2348 on 31 March 2017. The review will examine MONUSCO’s mandated tasks, priorities and resources, in the context of the current operating environment, and is to be provided to the Council by 30 September.