On 7 August 2014, the Security Council held a public meeting to hear Mr. Martin Kobler, Chief of MONUSCO and Mrs. Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region.
Mr. Kobler reported progress made in the region in terms of peace and security: 4,000 fighters from various armed groups had surrendered and 500,000 displaced people had been able to return home. However, the disarmament of the FDLR remained too slow. Any delay in the disarmament process could potentially lead to an escalation of the conflict. Mrs. Robinson found the prospect of the implementation of the Addis Ababa Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement encouraging. She regretted, however, the lack of progress in the disarmament and demobilization of armed groups. It was urgent to eliminate the forces undermining the peace process.
The Representative of France welcomed the progress made in the DRC during the past 18 months. Security was now partially restored even if significant challenges remained. The disarmament of armed groups threatening the country’s stability had to continue. Moreover, the structural reforms approved by the Addis-Ababa Framework-Agreement had to be implemented. Finally, a strong electoral process was essential for peace and stability. The Representative of France called for the respect of constitutional rules and of the African Charter on Democracy. A credible and legitimate roadmap had to be prepared quickly.
On 28 March 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2147 which renews the mandate of MONUSCO (United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo), including the intervention brigade, for a year.
On 14 March 2014, shortly after the release of the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in the DRC, the Security Council met to hear Mr. Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC and head of MONUSCO, on the situation in the country, and, by VTC, Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, on the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in the region. The Permanent Representatives of Rwanda and of the DRC were also present.
Mr. Kobler reported progress in the fight against the FDLR, but much was still needed to restore peace and security in the country. The DRC had to accelerate the implementation of key reforms –DDR process, elections and security sector reform – as requested by the Framework Agreement. Mrs. Robinson recalled that since its signing one year ago, a positive trend was being observed. All signatory States of the Framework Agreement nevertheless had to fulfill their commitments.
During the closed consultations that followed, the Permanent representative of France recalled that actions of MONUSCO against the FDLR were highly expected and had to be completed. Significant improvement of the situation was achieved thanks to MONUSCO’s commitment in its mission to protect civilians. The challenge now was to consolidate the achievements. The army reform had also to be undertaken by the DRC in a more active manner. Finally, the Permanent Representative announced the preparation of a draft resolution renewing the mandate of MONUSCO. The Special Representative had been heard on the need to preserve both a robust civilian protection mandate and a strong political mandate.
On 30 January 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2136 that renewed the DRC sanctions’ regime until 1 February 2015, supported the UN experts and noted the importance to end the M23 military action.
On 23 January 2014, during closed consultations on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), members of the Security Council discussed the report of the chair of the 1533 Sanctions Committee on the DRC as well as the final report of the panel of experts on the DRC.
The French Permanent Representative commended the serious work by the experts which allowed getting a better understanding of the situation on the ground. Mr Araud introduced the French draft resolution for the renewal of the DRC sanctions’ regime until 2015.
On 13 January 2014, the Security Council met to hear the report on the situation in DRC of Mr. Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the DRC and head of MONUSCO, and, by VTC, of Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region.
The briefers deplored the continued existence of armed groups and the upsurge of the unrest in the region. Mr. Kobler described the efforts in the fight against the FDLR. If operations against the FDLR had allowed to recover certain areas, it was difficult to eliminate them completely by military means only. The ADF continued for their part to spread terror in the north, with massive human rights violations. With respect to the DRC government action, the DDR process and the security sector reform had to be implemented. The special representative also recalled that there will be lasting peace only if we addressed the root causes of conflict through regional cooperation and economic governance.
Mrs. Robinson recalled the necessity to make further progress in the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation. Some progress had already been made through monitoring mechanisms, at national and regional level, but almost one year after its signature, the implementation should be accelerated and continuing support should be provided. Mr. Kobler and Mrs. Robinson called on all the countries of the region to fulfil their commitments under the Framework Agreement and raised concern that the M23 was able to continue some activities, including recruitment, since the end of fighting.
During the following consultations, the permanent representative of France condemned the continuation of violations by armed groups and the Congolese armed forces against civilians. The restoration of State authority in the east was essential to make irreversible progress. Finally, the reconfiguration of MONUSCO was in line of what was required by resolution 2098. The permanent representative welcomed the transfer of some of its tasks to the country team. It was now time to prepare the renewed mandate of the mission in the best possible way.
On 11 December 2013, the Security Council met for a closed meeting to hear the joint report on the situation in DRC of Mr. Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the DRC and head of MONUSCO, and Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region.
Following this presentation, the representative of France raised the question whether the DRC Government was committed to restore State authority in the Kivus and whether cooperation with the neighbouring states would contribute to the stability of the region.
On 9 December 2013, the existing chairs of the subsidiary bodies of the Council presented the results of their work.
The chairman of the sanctions committee 1533 on Liberia, permanent representative of Azerbaijan, recalled that the actions carried out by the Congolese army and MONUSCO had significant impact on putting an end to the rebellion of the M23.
The complete timeline of events here.
The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO)
MONUSCO is now, with the hybrid UN-AU mission in Darfur, the largest UN peacekeeping operation currently deployed, with a force of around 20,000, including approximately 1000 police officers and 1500 civilians.
MONUC was renamed MONUSCO (United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo), pursuant to resolution 1925 of 28 May 2010.
In this resolution, the Council, recognizing the changes in the DRC in the last 10 years, decided to change the name of the mission as of 1 July 2010 : UN Stabilization Mission in the Congo, MONUSCO. The Council authorized the withdrawal of up to 2000 troops by 30 June 2010, and set up a process of regular dialogue with the Congolese authorities to assess the situation on the ground.
The protection of civilians remains the top priority of the mandate. The second pillar focusses on stabilization and peace consolidation. MONUSCO helps the government to reform the army, police and justice as well as provide support to the consolidation of state authority in areas affected by conflict. MONUSCO has a mandate to pursue technical and logistical support to Congolese authorities for the preparation of elections.
Mr. Robert Meece, a US national, has been Special Representative of the Secretary General to the Mission since 1 July 2010. He succeeded Mr. Alan Doss, a British national, who held the post since 2007.
Resolution 2053 renewed the mandate of MONUSCO until 30 June 2013.
The former MONUC force was kept on after the transition was completed in 2006 to help the new democratically elected authorities consolidate security throughout the country and strengthen the new institutions and the rule of law.
resolution 1856 (2008) made the protection of civilians in eastern DRC a priority for the United Nations force.
Under resolution 1856, MONUC was also charged with:
— promoting the implementation of the Goma process (known as the “Act of Engagement,” signed on 23 January 2008 for an immediate ceasefire in the northern provinces and in South Kivu)
— promoting the implementation of the Nairobi process (known as the “Common Approach,” adopted on 7 November 2007 by Rwanda and the DRC, for peace and stability in the two countries and in the Great Lakes Region)
— cooperating with the Congolese armed forces to achieve the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of combatants in Congolese or foreign armed groups.
The sanctions regime
The Security Council applies a sanctions regime (arms embargo against non-state groups and individual sanctions). A sanctions committee was created to that end in 2004 (resolution 1533). These measures aim to support the disarmament process of irregular combatants, the reform of the security sector and the consolidation of state authority across the DRC’s entire territory. The measures were extended till November 2011 by resolution 1952 of 29 November 2010.
There are several criteria for sanctions: the violation of arms embargo (which applies only to rebel groups), the recruitment of children, serious violations of human rights, the prevention of a process of demobilization and disarmament, the hindrance of distribution of humanitarian aid, illegal exploitation of DRC’s natural resources to finance armed groups (criteria defined in resolution 1857 and reiterated in resolution 1952).
The implementation of a regional dialogue
Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, was appointed in November 2008 Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes region, to facilitate dialogue between the different States in the region, particularly between the DRC and Rwanda. Along with co-facilitator - former Tanzanian President - Benjamin M’Kapa, he helped broker the Goma agreement of 23 March 2009 between the Congolese authorities and Congolese and non-Congolese armed groups in eastern Congo. He has also contributed to the rapprochement between Kigali and Kinshasa, which resulted in the meeting between Presidents Kabila and Kagame on 6 August 2009 and the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Visits to the DRC by the Security Council
Members of the Security Council travelled to Kinshasa on 14 and 15 May 2010, with France as leader of the mission. They met with President Kabila and his governement as well as representatives of the civil society and MONUC to discuss the future of MONUC. On 19 May 2010, Ambassador Araud presented the results of the mission to the Security Council and made remarks to the press following the briefing. On 13 April 2010, the Permanent Representative of France presented the trip to the press (the trip, originally scheduled for 17-20 April, had to be cancelled because of air travel cancellations).
From 14 to 21 May 2009, members of the Security Council also traveled to the DRC as part of a trip to Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda, DRC, Liberia). France led the DRC segment of the trip. A comprehensive report was released by the Security Council.
France’s and the European Union’s support to operations
France plays a key role within the Security Council with regard to the issue of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), motivated by the conviction that the stability and development of this country are critical for the Great Lakes region. France maintains close bilateral relations with the DRC: French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the country in March 2009 as did Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner in January 2010.
France supported the two European operations that provided backup to MONUC at critical times during the transition process in the DRC which took place between 2003 and 2006:
— Operation ARTEMIS, authorized under resolution 1484 (2003) and Operation EUFOR DRC authorized under resolution 1671 (2006). Operation Artemis was carried out in Ituri between June and August 2003 and was the first EU-led military operation in Africa (France was the framework nation).
— The EU also decided, at the request of the United Nations, to deploy a EUFOR mission, from July to December 2006, in support of MONUC to secure elections. France and Germany contributed the most to this force.
The EU currently operates through two missions, EUPOL and EUSEC, to support security sector reform, especially in the police and army.
Violations of Human Rights and international humanitarian law
— Civilians are often the victims of violations of human rights, particularly women who are regularly subject to mass rapes.
The Security Council held a meeting at the request of France and the United States to hear the report of the Department of Peacekeeping operations on the events which took place in August 2010 in the North Kivu, in which at least one hundred and sixty people were raped by members of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and of the Mai Mai militias.
— On 1 October 2010, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, issued a report on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in the DRC by State and non State actors, between March 1993 and June 2003.
This report was the final step of a long process led by the United Nations since the discovery in 2005 by MONUC of three mass graves in the East. This mapping project was authorized by resolution 1794 of the Security Council in December 2007, calling on the Congolese authorities to support the initiative.
The report listed hundreds of thousands of murders, mutilations, looting and other forms of violence, including those directed against women (sexual violence) and children (child soldiers). The majority of these acts could constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity. The report stated that the classification of certain acts of violence against Hutus in 1996 and 1997 as "genocide" could be decided by a competent court.
11 December 2013 - Democratic Republic of Congo - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and President of the UN Security Council
29 August 2013 - DRC / M23 - Remarks to the press by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Chargé d’Affaires a.i of France to the United Nations
25 July 2013 - Security Council - Ministerial meeting: The Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo - Statement by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
More French statements here.
28 March 2014 - Security Council - Resolution 2147
30 January 2014 - Security Council - Resolution 2136
28 October 2013 - Security Council - Press statement
29 August 2013 - Security Council - Press statement condemning the shelling by the M23 against civilians and MONUSCO
25 July 2013 - Security Council - Presidential statement
8 May 2013 - Security Council - Press Statement condemning the attack on a MONUSO convoy
28 March 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2098
22 March 2013 - Security Council - Press statement on the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda to International Criminal Court
28 November 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2078
20 November 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2076
17 November 2012 - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
19 October 2012 - DRC - Security Council Presidential statement
16 July 2012 - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
6 July 2012 - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
27 June 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2053 renewing for one year the mandate of MONUSCO
14 May 2012 - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
29 November 2011 - Resolution 2021 - Renewing the sanctions regime
17 October 2011 - Press statement by the President of the Security Council
28 June 2011 - Resolution 1991 renewing the mandate of MONUSCO for one year.
27 May 2011 - Arrest of Bernard Munyagishari in DRC - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, President of the Security Council
29 november 2010 - Resolution 1952 - Renewing the sanctions regime
17 September 2010 - 30 September 2009 - DRC (mass rapes)- Statement by the President of the Security Council
28 May 2010 - Resolution 1925 - Renewing the mandate of MONUC until 30 June 2011
23 December 2009 - Resolution 1906 - Extending the deployment of MONUC
7 December 2009 - Resolution 1896 - Renewing the sanctions regime
22 December 2008 - Resolution 1857 - On renewal of measures on arms embargo against all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in the DRC
22 December 2008 - Resolution 1856 - Extending the deployment of MONUC
20 November 2008 - Resolution 1843 - Increasing temporarily MONUC’s authorized military strenght
21 October 2008 - Statement by the President of the Security Council - Expressing the Security Council’s grave concern at the resurgence of violence
View the file on UN-DRC relations on the French Foreign Ministry’s website