Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council on The situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo – Security Council, 9681st meeting


Thank you, President,  

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of members of the A3 Plus, namely, Algeria, Guyana, Mozambique and my own country Sierra Leone.  

We thank Ms. Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for her comprehensive briefing. We take note of the report of the Secretary General for the period 20 March to 19 June. The A3 Plus recognizes the critical work the UN is carrying out in an extremely fragile complex environment and under difficult circumstances. We express our support for the work of MONUSCO and calls on the concerned parties to cease all attacks against the Mission. 

[We welcome the participation of Her Excellency Therese Kayikwamba Wagner, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and la Francophonie of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)]. We seize this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency President Félix Tshisekedi and his Government, in particular the appointment of the first female Prime Minister as well as the appointment of 17 women in the Cabinet. We convey our best wishes to the Government and people of the DRC.   

We also welcome the participation of the Representative of Rwanda in this meeting.

Mr. President,  

The people of the DRC have suffered a prolonged misery. For three decades, Eastern DRC has been a battleground for a conflict with deep and tangled roots.  

We are alarmed about the deteriorating security situation in the Kivus and Ituri and is especially concerned about the protection of civilian risks posed by this problem.  Violence linked to armed group activity, including the M23, ADF, FDLR and CODECO, continue to inflict a heavy toll on civilians, including women and children. We are concerned about the risks posed to civilians in IDP camps and call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians in keeping with the provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law. We condemn all attacks, including bombings, of displaced camps.  

We are gravely concerned about attacks on critical infrastructure, including the Goma Airport, and attacks on MONUSCO peacekeepers and assets.  

The people of the DRC have suffered for long, and it is high time the conflicts be resolved. Regrettably, however, there are no signs of improvement since the Security Council last met on this file. The Congolese people must no longer continue to suffer the atrocities of the armed groups in the DRC. In light of the situation on the ground, the A3 Plus would like to make the following points.  

First, we strongly condemn the resurgence in fighting in particular around Kanyabayonga in North Kivu Province. If the fighting persists, there is a risk of regional spillover in the Great Lakes region with devastating consequences. The trials the Congolese people go through, and the trauma caused by the M23, ADF, CODECO, FDLR and other groups are unacceptable. We call on all armed groups operating in the Eastern DRC, to cease their attacks on civilians and withdraw from occupied territories and give civilians, including Internally displaced persons the much-needed respite they deserve. The principles of international humanitarian law must be respected by all parties.  

Second, we reiterate our support for regional talks and processes. We applaud the efforts of His Excellency João 

Lourenço, President of Angola for his relentless efforts in keeping the Luanda process alive and for working towards peace and stability in the DRC. In this same vein, efforts in complementing the Luanda and Nairobi processes with the aim of energizing political dialogue at the regional level and de-escalate tensions should be supported.  We call on all stakeholders to renew their commitment to the success of these processes. 

Additionally, we are supportive of the African Union Peace and Security Council communique endorsing the deployment of SAMIDRC and echo the calls of the Southern African Development Community and the Government of DRC for UN support to SAMIDRC, in line with resolution 2717.  

The A3+ has also taken note of MONUSCO’s withdrawal from South Kivu in line with the Comprehensive Disengagement Plan. We continue to urge respect for the wishes of the Congolese people while at the same time stressing the importance of a responsible, gradual and sustainable withdrawal. We look forward to receiving the proposals for the next steps of the withdrawal. 

In this context, we thank the Secretary-General for his proposed options for UN support to SAMIDRC. Members of the A3 Plus are considering these options thoroughly and are prepared to engage with fellow Council members to chart the best path forward, in keeping with the interests of the Congolese Government, and people who have borne the brunt of the conflict for decades. We stress that the unity of Council members is a moral imperative in order to ensure SAMIDRC receives the support it needs for peace and stability in the DRC. 

Third, we need to address the alarming humanitarian situation in eastern DRC, particularly through the provision of adequate funding. Living conditions in displaced persons camps were already deteriorating, with the DRC categorized as having one of the worst displacement crises in the world. Continued armed group activity including the offensive by the M23, will only continue to exacerbate the humanitarian consequences for the more than 6 million people that have been displaced from their homes and communities.  Women and children are suffering the brunt of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and will continue to pay the highest price in this conflict if nothing is done to bring the conflict to an end. We have seen, for example, the continued grave violations against children and the additional cases of sexual exploitation and abuse recorded during the reporting period. The A3 Plus urges full accountability for these violations. 

Equally important is the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance. However, delivery of humanitarian aid requires protection of humanitarian convoys and personnel in line with international humanitarian law. Parties to the conflict must show restraint and adhere to their obligations and refrain from targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. We must respond in a timely manner to the urgent humanitarian needs of displaced persons and ensure they have access to basic services. 

Finally, the recruitment of children into armed groups does not only violate international law, and instruments, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, but also perpetuates cycles of violence and exploitation of children. It is essential for all parties involved, including state actors, armed groups, and other stakeholders, to be held accountable for their actions and to face justice for their role in recruiting and using children in conflict. By upholding accountability and addressing the root causes of child recruitment, the DRC can move towards a more just and sustainable future for its children and communities.  

In conclusion, Mr. President, members of the A3 Plus urge the international community, in particular the Security Council, to pursue a comprehensive approach in tackling the root causes of the Congolese conflict. We urge all actors to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC and condemn all such violations, including the illegal mining of its natural resources.  

We are committed to supporting the Government of DRC and its people. Achieving peace and stability in DRC and the wider Great Lakes region is of high importance to the African continent. 

I thank you.  

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