DRC - Press Statement

· The members of the Security Council were briefed by Mr. Roger Meece, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the situation in the country.

· The members of the Security Council welcomed the improvements in the cooperation and communication between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MONUSCO, in particular with regard to the Joint Assessment Process. They underlined the importance of the pursuit of an inclusive process to provide for a common understanding of security conditions on the ground. They also recognized the serious inter-related challenges that the Government and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to face and their efforts to overcome them. 

· The members of the Security Council took note of the constitutional amendments adopted mid-January by the Congolese Parliament, including the change in the voting system for the presidential elections. They urged all parties to ensure a conducive and peaceful environment for the conduct of free, fair, transparent and credible elections and post-electoral periods. They called on the Government of the DRC to pursue preparations openly and vigorously in order to ensure that the polls can take place as planned. They welcomed MONUSCO’s ongoing support to this process.

· The members of the Security Council expressed concerns about the limited progress made in the field of security and judicial sector reform, in particular the training and reform of the national army and police, which remains a crucial element for stabilization and peace consolidation in the country. They called for a strengthened commitment to the Congolese Government’s efforts to foster progress in this critical area. The members of the Security Council also expressed deep concerns about the recent promotion of some FARDC personnel involved in serious human rights violations and crimes, and reiterated the importance of MONUSCO’s conditionality policy. They encouraged further progress in the effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration processes, in particular regarding the FDLR.

· The members of the Security Council reiterated deep concerns about the persistent high levels of insecurity, violence and human rights abuses, in particular in the conflict-affected areas in the eastern part of the country, mostly affecting women and children. They strongly condemned the recent incidents in North and South Kivu, in particular in Fizi town where civilians were wounded and dozens of women and girls were raped by elements of the FARDC. They appreciated the quick response both from the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MONUSCO to these serious attacks against civilians. They called for the swift prosecution of all perpetrators of human rights abuses, including those involved in the Walikale incidents in July-August 2010, and a strong commitment to the fight against impunity, and called upon the Congolese authorities to inform the Secretary-General on the measures undertaken to this end.

· The members of the Security Council commend MONUSCO’s proactive and robust approach in recent months to further enhance its efforts for fulfilling its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, including by conducting recent military operations on its own in close coordination with the FARDC or together with the FARDC. They expressed deep concern about MONUSCO’s chronic shortage of military helicopters and urged Member States to urgently contribute military helicopters to fill this critical capability gap. The members of the Security Council expressed their full support for the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and encouraged him to continue his efforts with a view to the implementation of MONUSCO’s mandate.

· The members of the Security Council welcomed the outcome of the Lusaka summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on December 15th, 2010 and the commitment of the region and the international community to jointly address illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources as one of the major factors fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region. They also commended the improvement of the relationship among the countries of the region and encouraged them to continue reinforcing their political, military and economic cooperation.