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.
On 6 November 2013, the Security Council met for a closed meeting to hear the report by VTC of Mr. Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the DRC and head of MONUSCO, and of Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, on the situation in DRC after the M23 declaration of cessation of hostilities.
During this meeting, the Representative of France welcomed the encouraging news for the DRC. The cessation of fighting by the M23 was a success, made possible by the effective action of the DRC’s armed forces and of MONUSCO that has fully implemented its protection of civilians role, as requested by Resolution 2098. Mr. Araud however recalled that this military victory was not enough. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the M23 combatants were now required. The Congolese administration needed to quickly get back to the areas just regained and provide basic services for the population. Also, all other armed groups besides the M23, including the FDRL, the ADF-Nalu and the Maï-Maï, needed to be neutralized in order to put an end to their abuses in the region. Finally, the root-causes of the conflict had to be dealt with the Addis-Abeba Framework Agreement signed by all leaders of the region. The Representative of France added that France would work with its partners of the Security Council on a draft presidential statement of the Security Council.
Following these consultations, the representative of France made remarks to the press.
On 28 October 2013, at the request of France, the Security Council held an emergency meeting to hear Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC and head of MONUSCO, present the situation in Eastern DRC where the Congolese army conducts operations against the M23 rebel group. MONUSCO provides support to the Congolese army to protect civilians.
During the meeting, the Permanent Representative of France underlined the need for the Security Council to agree on a statement to condemn M23 attacks against MONUSCO and deplore the death of one peacekeeper killed by the M23 and of civilians in the DRC and in Rwanda.
A Council press statement was agreed at the end of the meeting.
On 25 October 2013, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations briefed in closed consultations the Security Council on the DRC.
The Representative of France deplored M23 attacks. They were weakening the Kampala peace talks between the Congolese authorities and the M23. He called on the M23 to cease hostilities and stressed the need for both parties to resume negotiations in Kampala.
On 21 October 2013, the Security Council held a meeting on the latest developments in the Greats Lakes Region, and particularly on the implementation of the Framework Agreement and the situation on the ground in North Kivu. Ms. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region, and Mr. Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO, took part in the meeting by VTC. This meeting was the follow-up to the trip of the Security Council to the Greats Lakes region in early October.
Ms. Robinson encouraged the Democratic Republic of Congo authorities to continue to engage in the peace talks in Kampala between the DRC and M23. She insisted on the need not to allow impunity for combatants who have committed serious crimes and the need to learn the lessons from the past in terms of amnesty and reintegration for combatants in the Congolese army in order to avoid the duplication of future patterns of violence.
In the consultations that followed, the representative of France recalled that the signing of the Framework Agreement last February was essential to achieve a durable peace in the region. Therefore, while some progress has been observed with institutional implementation of the Agreement and the development of monitoring mechanisms and indicators, tangible progress should be obtained. Mr. Araud encouraged an agreement between Kinshasa and M23 in the framework of the Kampala negotiations. He welcomed the flexibility of the Congolese authorities in the negotiations. The representative of France finally recalled his full support to MONUSCO and its mandate of protection of civilians, as defined in Resolution 2098. He recalled the importance of the reconfiguration of MONUSCO pursuant to Resolution 2098.
12 September 2013. The Security Council met for a closed meeting to hear the report of the Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mrs. Mary Robinson, and of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler. The presentation was following a visit of both UN envoys to Goma, Rwanda and Uganda earlier this month. The visit came amid renewed intense violence against civilians and MONUSCO with the resumption of M23 fighting in August.
During this meeting, the Representative of France condemned the escalation of violence perpetrated by M23 against civilians and MONUSCO. He also called all parties for restraint now that calm has been restored. In the context of resumed discussions since September 11th between the Congolese authorities and M23, France recalled that there should not be amnesty or integration in the armed forces of the DRC for the members of the M23 accused of violations of human rights. Finally, the French representative exhorted the DRC state to reinforce its presence in the Kivus to ensure the security of the population.
After these consultations, the members of the Council reiterated in a press statement their support for the implementation of the commitments under the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. They called upon all signatories “to fulfil their commitments in good faith, which is essential to achieving lasting peace and security in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region.”
On 29 August 2013, France convened an emergency meeting of the Security Council in the context of the worsening of the attacks perpetrated by the M23 against civilians in Goma and MONUSCO, causing the death of one peacekeeper and injuring 11 staff members of against MONUSCO. During these closed consultations, the representative of France strongly condemned the shelling by the M23 rebels and expressed serious concern for the stability of the whole region. He also declared that France fully supported MONUSCO in the implementation of its mandate.
Following these consultations, the representative of France made remarks to the press condemning the attacks of the M23 against MONUSCO troops and Rwanda. He also recalled that all parties to the conflict have to fully respect their commitments according to the Framework Agreement of Addis Ababa.
The Security Council also adopted a press statement.
On 25 July 2013, the Security Council held a ministerial meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region, chaired by John Kerry, US Secretary of State. France was represented by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister in charge of development. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, Ms. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Mr. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda and Mr. Raymond Tshibanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DRC.
Minister Canfin called on the neighboring countries of the DRC to cease immediately any support to armed groups such as the M23, which has been destabilizing the region and seeks to derail the political process. He also highlighted that the opaque exploitation of mining resources should give way to transparency.
Following this meeting, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement.
On 22 July 2013, the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear the report of the President of the Sanctions Committee concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo. The President of the Sanctions Committee presented the main elements of the panel of experts’ mid-term report. He also announced the publication of this report as a document of the Security Council.
Following the presentation of the President of the Committee, the representative of France encouraged the States of the region to strengthen their cooperation with the panel of experts; he also expressed concerns regarding developments likely to weaken the framework agreement on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region reported by the experts.
The 11 July 2013, the Security Council heard in private consultations Hervé Ladsous, Deputy Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations present the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2098 and the transformation of MONUSCO.
The representative of France stressed the importance of widespread international support to Mrs. Robinson for accompanying efforts by the Congolese government to ensure the implementation of the Framework Agreement. He also echoed the call of the Secretary-General to the neighboring countries of the DRC to cease all support to armed groups.
On 29 May 2013, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council on his trip in the Great Lakes region, and especially in DRC, after the signing on 24 February in Addis Ababa, of the framework agreement for peace, security and cooperation (PSC).
The representative of France hailed the visit of the Secretary-General showing the willingness of the international community to put an end to the regular cycle of crisis in the region. Facing the violence resumption, he reaffirmed that the MONUSCO Intervention Brigade could not substitute for Congolese authorities, who had to extend the State authority in the Kivus.
On 8 May 2013 and as a follow-up to the 7 May attack against a MONUSCO military convoy, the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear Mr Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on the situation of the stabilization force.
The French Representative called to reinforce the safety of MONUSCO’s staff and contingents. He presented a press statement, prepared in close cooperation with the Pakistani delegation, condemning the attack.
Adopted at the end of the consultations, the press statement also called upon the Congolese government to investigate the incident and bring its perpetrators to justice.
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 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