Remarks by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz in the Security Council VTC Meeting on the MONUSCO, June 25, 2020

25.06.2020 - Speech

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I would like to express Germany's deepest condolences to the Government of Indonesia and the family of the peacekeeper who lost his life in the ambush on July 22. The incident tragically demonstrates the level of persisting violence: we remain extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation in the East and increasing activities by armed groups, especially in North-Kivu and Ituri. Germany agrees with the Secretary General and his report that a military-only strategy will not lead to lasting stability.

We are particularly concerned about the high number of human rights violations, most notably sexual and gender-based violence. Although the number of such violations committed by state security actors has decreased, the overall high numbers of human rights violations remain alarming.

The dire humanitarian situation continues to hit the most vulnerable groups such as women, children and internally displaced people the hardest. Given that there are already 300,000 new IDPs since the beginning of the year in Ituri only, the protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance must remain the top priority. We seize this opportunity to reaffirm our support for the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire. We urge all armed groups in the DRC to adhere this call.

Mr. President, we would like to reiterate Germany’s support for MONUSCO and SRSG Leila Zerrougui. MONUSCO remains essential in supporting the DRC. The situation has become even more challenging due to COVID-19 and the unsatisfying security situation. Commend the SRSG and the/Mission for adapting to new conditions on the ground. We encourage the mission to further enhance its abilities in the country to implement the recommendations made in the Cruz report and to put a special focus on fulfilling its mandate to protect civilians.

On the reconfiguration of MONUSCO, we understand the difficulties posed by COVID-19. Still, it remains important to ensure national ownership in developing benchmarks. These benchmarks must be realistic if we want to achieve a sustainable and conditions-based reconfiguration. COVID-19 has a worrying impact on the security, socio-economic and humanitarian situation. For instance, due to limited capacities vaccination rates are low and decreasing, the vulnerability of children to diseases such as polio, measles and yellow fever increases. This shows that International support and solidarity is urgently needed.

As part of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, Germany already provides EUR 300 million in additional funds for COVID-19 related humanitarian assistance, and is currently the fourth largest donor to the plan. The plan includes a Regional Response Plan and a Humanitarian Response Plan for the DRC. In addition, Germany is very positively considering support to MONUSCO by providing medical facilities through our Enable and Enhance Initiative (E2I).

We are concerned that the pandemic might undermine political, security and socio-economic reforms in the DRC. For that reason, it is important that the government continues on its reform path, especially with regard to Security Sector Reform (SSR), Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and the justice sector. The population needs a perspective: strong democratic institutions, strengthening the rule of law, the fight against impunity and against corruption are key in achieving sustainable peace, stability and development.

Before concluding let me also say a word on regional cooperation: Against the background of severe security, socio-economic, health and humanitarian challenges, this cooperation is absolutely crucial. Supply networks of armed groups must be cut off. Illicit war economies must be eliminated. At the same time, regional collaboration creates new legal and sustainable opportunities for development and economic growth.

In this context, Mr. Usseni’s assessment is very important: fighting the illicit trafficking of minerals and transforming such activities into legitimate sources of revenue is an essential part of the DRC reform process.

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