Global Policy Forum

North Kivu: UN Security Council Demands


By Sy Koumbo

June 10, 2008

As part of their two day visit to the DRC, the 15 member UN Security Council delegation headed by French ambassador to the UN Jean Maurice Ripert and accompanied by Alan Doss, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, visited North Kivu province in eastern DRC on 8 June 2008.

In Goma, the delegation had discussions with the provincial authorities, in particular Governor Julien Paluku and Fr. Malu Malu, head of the Amani programme coordination team. They also met with civil society representatives before visiting Mugunga displaced persons camp near Goma.

In a press address after their meeting with Mr. Paluku and the provincial parliament president, Ambassador Ripert said that the focus of their discussions was a detailed presentation on the situation of the province, the evolution of the Amani Programme, and the future local elections from the point of view of the reestablishment of a rule of law.

He reaffirmed the support of the Security Council "for the implementation of the Amani Programme and for the policies of reconciliation," before stressing that their wish is to see a rapid disarming of all the armed militia and groups, "with the aim of a return to peace, so that the wounds can heal in an area which has suffered so much."

On whether there will be a precise timetable for the disarmament of the militia and armed groups, Ambassador Ripert said that a calendar was being established, but that "the Council asks and requires for the disarmament of the militia," adding that requests were already addressed to specific groups.

However, he specified that the implementation, on the ground, of the Amani Programme will be handled by the Congolese Government, with the support of MONUC, in which he reaffirmed the confidence of the Security Council. He then insisted on the obligation for each armed group to keep to its commitments in order to move forward.

In relation to the FDLR armed group - the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda - Ambassador Ripert said that it would be through dialogue between Kinshasa and Kigali that this problem could be treated. "The Security Council requires the FDLR to surrender and cease terrorizing the local population. The Security Council will not hesitate, even if it means to engage, if necessary, with more restrictive measures for the individual persons in charge who have committed crimes."

As regards the sexual violence whose daily victims are the women in the DRC, and of the recruitment of children into armed groups, Ambassador Ripert stressed that the Security Council members are particularly concerned on the issue, although they have been reassured by the intentions of the central and provincial government to tackle the problem. North Kivu governor Julien Paluku said that the visit of the Security Council delegation to Goma was encouraging, and will help the Council to better understand the problems of North Kivu, and to consider true solutions for the crisis.


The visit to the displaced persons camp of Mugunga made it possible to see first-hand the harsh realities for the 10,600 people in the camp who live under difficult conditions, in spite of humanitarian aid. The delegation was very moved and touched when camp representatives presented their complaints. Camp President Mahoro Faustin was very forthright. "We live under difficult conditions, deprived of all basic necessities," he said, before listing the problems which they encounter, in particular humanitarian assistance which is not sufficient, as well as the insecurity and hunger in the camp.

Camp vice president Mrs. Hassenela spoke in the name of the women in the camp. "We are hungry. The World Food Programme gives insufficient rations. 6 kilos of flour per person per month, a half liter of oil, 1.8 kilos of beans, it is not enough."

"We are victims of insecurity, because we must go to seek wood in the forest and men in uniform attack us and rape us. In this camp we lost 5 people, two mothers and three children, all because of famine. We need you to bring peace so that we can return to our villages."

15 year old Mapendo Willy Boniface, representative of the young people in the camp, said some of the youth flee, or turn to delinquency or drugs. "We do not have any social or humanitarian assistance. We want the government and the humanitarians to take our social concerns and our education needs into account, because we represent the Congo of tomorrow." All were unanimous in their wish to return home. The president of the camp enumerated what he regards as the conditions for a possible return.

This includes the return of peace and the deployment of the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) integrated brigades in the territories of Masisi and Rutshuru, so that state authority can be restored. In the meantime, the displaced persons wish for the humanitarians to have clearly defined assistance policies for the camp.

In response, Ambassador Ripert said the delegation had noted these concerns and stressed that if the delegation and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC are there, it is because they are closely following the situation in eastern DRC, and are concerned for the fate of those displaced.

He stressed that the United Nations and the Security Council gave MONUC the mandate to help to accelerate the process of DDRRR - Disarmament, Demobilisation, Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration – for armed combatants, so that displaced persons can return home. "We will give an account of what we saw, of your requests and we want also obviously to testify to our solidarity with you, and in particular with the women and children who suffer the most from this terrible crisis," he concluded.

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