Statement by the President of the Security Council
At the 7662nd meeting of the Security Council, held on 31 March 2016, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “Maintenance of international peace and security”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:
“The Security Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region (S/2016/232).
“The Security Council regrets that progress made in the implementation of national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework remains limited and stresses the importance of the signatory States fully implementing their national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework, which remains essential for the achievement of lasting peace and security in the Great Lakes region (GLR).
“The Security Council reiterates the importance of neutralizing all armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), particularly the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Mai Mai groups in line with Security Council resolution 2277 (2016). It notes, in this regard, the announcement of the resumption of joint military operations between the Government of the DRC and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) and calls for immediate restart of joint operations to be undertaken in earnest to bring about the complete neutralization of all armed groups operating in the eastern DRC.
“The Security Council calls upon the Governments of DRC, Uganda and Rwanda to strengthen their collaboration to ensure the repatriation of former M23 combatants located in Rwanda and Uganda, consistent with the Nairobi Declarations and in line with commitments under the PSC Framework and reiterates the importance of ensuring that all provisions of the signed documents are implemented swiftly and in good faith.
“The Security Council recalls the regional commitment under the PSC Framework not to harbor war criminals or provide support to armed groups including recruitment and urges all countries in the Great Lakes region to implement this provision of the PSC Framework and to make concerted efforts to investigate any allegations that former M23 members have committed serious crimes under international law and to hold accountable those responsible.
“The Security Council is of the view that children have been major victims of the conflicts in the Great Lakes region, and stresses the absolute need to eliminate their recruitment into armed groups, and the need to empower young people and promote youth employment initiatives at the regional level.
“The Security Council calls upon all countries in the Great Lakes region to comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and encourages them to actively pursue accountability for those who commit human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.
“The Security Council welcomes the credible and peaceful conduct of elections in some States of the Great Lakes region. The Security Council notes, however, recent and ongoing electoral processes in some countries of the Great Lakes region raise deep concerns about the risk of instability, insecurity, the potential for violence, human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and further displacement of people which impact all countries of the Great Lakes region.
“The Security Council urges regional support for initiatives aimed at promoting inclusive dialogue amongst national stakeholders and stresses the importance of opening political space to enable the full and free participation of peaceful political parties, civil society and the media in the political process. The Security Council further urges regional support for strengthening and improving capacity for elections and governance in the countries of the Great Lakes region. The Council calls on member states in the Great Lakes region to take steps to ensure that electoral processes promote peace and security through timely, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections, in line with countries’ own constitutions and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, as applicable.
“The Security Council is gravely concerned with the continued illicit exploitation of and trade in natural resources in the eastern DRC. The Council urges the signatory states of the PSC Framework, regional organizations and the international community to coordinate their efforts to undercut the economic lifelines of armed groups that benefit from the illegal exploitation of and trade in natural resources, and prevent the exploitation of women and children in the trade of these resources.
“The Security Council takes note of the Regional Strategic Framework for the Great lakes region 2016-2017 (RSF GLR), presented to the Council by the Secretary-General, which outlines the United Nations development approach in support of the implementation of the PSC Framework, under six pillars: sustainable natural resource management, economic integration and cross-border trade; food security and nutrition; mobility; youth and adolescents; sexual and gender-based violence; and justice and conflict prevention.
“The Security Council also notes that the RSF GLR seeks to shift the illegal exploitation of natural resources into legal, regulated business, more sustainable use of natural resources and its transformation into development outcomes, implying the transparent and accountable management of these resources, which could result in significant earnings for the states and the communities.
“The Security Council without prejudice to the conclusions of the future mandate review of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region also takes note of the Roadmap of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and the priorities identified for regional action.
“The Security Council stresses that the 2006 Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and the PSC Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region are mutually reinforcing, and are crucial tools to achieve long term peace and prosperity. The Council emphasizes that the PSC Framework demonstrates that peace, security and development are interlinked and underscores the importance of strengthening regional cooperation, including the deepening of economic integration.
“The Security Council urges the donor community to contribute to the implementation of the RSF GLR and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region’s roadmap, as an effective platform for partnership, in support of member states in the national and regional commitments aimed to address the root causes of conflicts, promote economic development and cooperation, and bring about durable peace in the Great Lakes region.
“The Security Council commends the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and welcomes the Private Sector Investment Conference which took place in Kinshasa, DRC on 24-25 February 2016, jointly organized by the Office of the Special Envoy and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and hosted by the Government of the DRC.
“The Security Council further stresses that the momentum generated by the Private Sector Investment Conference should be built upon through the operationalization of the ICGLR Private Sector Forum to realize investments, stimulate job creation and livelihood opportunities as effective tools for conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace and security in the Great Lakes region.
“The Security Council underscores that solutions to the prevailing situation in the Great Lakes region should come within a regional perspective, by addressing the root causes of conflicts, many of which are regional in nature, with cross-border issues linked to the eastern DRC assuming crucial significance, due to the large flows of natural resources and migrants and refugees, and activities of armed groups and criminal networks across the borders.
“The Security Council stresses that the forced displacement of millions of persons in the Great Lakes region is a key driver of conflict, leading to regional instability, insecurity, humanitarian consequences and human rights violations and abuses.
“The Security Council encourages regional initiatives aimed at increasing youth employment and livelihoods, to enhance young people´s economic self-sufficiency and the development of entrepreneurial skills, particularly marginalized adolescents and young people in the border areas of the Great Lakes region countries and those formerly associated with armed groups.
“The Security Council shares the view expressed in the RSF GLR that there is an urgent need to address violence and discrimination against women and girls, including rape and other forms of sexual violence in the Great Lakes region and take into account the link between women´s participation in peace and security decision-making, for peace and gender equality.
“The Security Council supports the regional initiatives on the issue of gender related violence in armed conflict to influence regional and local decision makers, aimed at the implementation of the commitments of the Kampala Declaration addressing impunity for gender based crimes at the country level and to improve women’s visibility, empowerment and resilience.
“The Security Council, noting the link between justice and conflict prevention, calls upon countries of the Great Lakes region to hold accountable perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and to effectively support measures of conflict prevention, by ending the culture of impunity.
“The Security Council welcomes efforts by national governments to reverse such trend by setting a strategy that seeks to realize tangible improvements in holding accountable those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and to build trust between citizens and governments.
“The Security Council underlines the importance of peacebuilding efforts to prevent relapses into conflict and encourages close cooperation between the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and relevant regional organizations.
“The Security Council takes note of the priority “Interventions” set in the RSF GLR to strengthen institutions, mechanisms and capacities for conflict prevention, management, resolution and peace building, through cross-border initiatives and partnerships at the regional level, including the ICGLR and civil society organizations; strengthen regional efforts by increasing controls on the supply of small arms and light weapons which are a major source of conflict in the Great Lakes region; enhance judicial cooperation, including law enforcement, border control, prosecution services, judicial bodies and the legal profession, specially by improving cooperation between governments, justice institutions and local communities, particularly in cross border areas of the Great Lakes region.”