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Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the UN Security Council VTC Meeting on MONUSCO, October 6, 2020

06.10.2020 - Speech

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I would like to make a couple of points on the security situation and the human rights and humanitarian situation. We are concerned about persisting levels of violence in North and South Kivu and Ituri. The activities and attacks by armed groups, especially the ADF, must stop. As a consequence, the protection of civilians remains a key challenge. We are glad to see some positive signals, such as a peace pledge in Mahagi territory in Ituri in August. The reported 8% increase in human rights violations, including sexual and gender based violence, is of particular concern to us. Almost half of all human rights violations are attributable to state security activists. This number indicates a clear need for reform and for more accountability.

The humanitarian situation continues to be alarming, with over 25 million people depending on humanitarian aid. Once more, women and children are hit disproportionately hard. We urgently call on the international community to support the humanitarian response plan that is dramatically underfunded at this stage. Germany has so far contributed approximately 70 million euros for humanitarian assistance measures in 2020, including response measures regarding Ebola and COVID-19. 

Let me make some remarks on the political situation and reform efforts in the DRC. Even if the country navigated strikingly well through the Ebola epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic so far, massive socio-economic repercussions have to be dealt with. Therefore, we call on political actors in the DRC to engage constructively, and we encourage the DRC government to continue its work on much-needed reforms in the security sector, justice sector and the economy. It is important to focus on what needs to be done now. We should not only look towards the electoral year 2023. Strong democratic institutions, respect for the rule of law, for equal and meaningful participation of women in the fight against impunity and against corruption will be crucial.

Let me also say a couple of words on MONUSCO, on the re-configuration of mission and on benchmarks. We reiterate Germany's support to MONUSCO. MONUSCO remains indispensable in supporting the DRC, in particular regarding the protection of civilians and in the east of the country. We encourage the mission to continue in its reform process and to follow the Security Council Resolution 2502 of 2019, as well as the Cruz Report recommendations. We note with concern that allegations of five cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by members of MONUSCO were recorded. We insist that these allegations be properly investigated by troop and police contributing countries and OIOS respectively.

On re-configuration of MONUSCO: it is important to ensure national ownership in developing a joint strategy. We need a condition-based reconfiguration and realistic benchmarks. Security sector reform must be at the core of this process. The progress made should be secured, close links with new peacebuilding efforts should be allowed.

 

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