UN envoy calls for efforts to consolidate positive trends in DRC
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Wednesday called for efforts to consolidate the new positive trends after the peaceful transition of power at the beginning of the year.
"New positive trends have emerged that might transform the DRC into a stable country," said Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary-general's special representative for the DRC.
Regional diplomatic initiatives have been rolled out, a coalition government has been put in place with an ambitious program of action that is intended to stabilize the country, improve governance, and boost the level of economic development of the DRC, she told the UN Security Council via video teleconference from Britain.
It is now vital that the entire DRC political class supports these dynamics and works hard to consolidate these positive developments, she said.
Balance in the functioning of the institutions remains fragile and needs to be improved. And the United Nations is working closely with the president, with the government and with all the institutions of the DRC to promote stability and to ensure that the activities of UN agencies, funds, and programs are aligned with national priorities, said Zerrougui, who also heads the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, or MONUSCO.
But she warned that seizing the opportunities offered by the advent of a new political dispensation is not without risks and challenges. There is also a need to urgently bring about sustainable improvement and relief for the many Congolese, who continue to live in a state of insecurity, dependency on humanitarian aid and economic exclusion.
The recent escalation of inter-communal and armed group violence, at times running along ethnic lines, and egregious human rights violations led to significant population displacements in several areas in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, she said.
A large number of armed groups, both national and foreign, continue to exact an intolerable toll on civilians and add to an already dire humanitarian situation in the DRC.
Zerrougui voiced particular concern about the level of brutality against civilians in a number of recent incidents: the killing and post-mortem decapitation of 14 civilians, including 11 children, in Bukatsele, Ituri, and reported cases of female genital mutilation in Fizi territory in South Kivu.
The United Nations continues its support for the DRC authorities to neutralize the threat posed by armed groups, she said.
But in addition to addressing these security threats through military means, further strengthening the core functions of the state, including through the professionalization of the defense and security sector and the empowerment of the judiciary, will enable the government to better respond to these threats, she added.
"We need to come together to strengthen the sovereign powers of the state and its ability to promote peace through promoting the rule of law."
Further addressing the root causes of these conflicts, MONUSCO places a great emphasis on supporting the government, encouraging local and national mediation and reconciliation efforts, and responding to the incitement of ethnic hatred through targeted strategies against hate speech, said Zerrougui.
"I reiterate the readiness of MONUSCO to assist the government in supporting the protection of civilians, advance stabilization and further strengthen key state institutions. We collectively need to seize this 'wind of hope' and navigate toward a future which corresponds to the hopes and expectations of all Congolese," said Zerrougui.