Democratic Republic of Congo: The Security Council replaces the MONUC by MONUSCO and puts protection of civilians and rule of law at the forefront of the new mandate

Press release
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Paris, Nairobi, Kinshasa, Geneva, New York – May 28, 2010 – FIDH and its member organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Groupe Lotus, ASADHO and the Ligue des Électeurs are pleased that, on May 28th 2010, the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 1925 (2010) which renews the mandate of the Mission of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) which, from July 1st 2010, will be renamed United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Our organizations salute this decision that authorizes the withdrawal of military personnel under strict conditions and that make the protection of civilians and the consolidation of rule of law central to the mandate.

Our organizations share the concern of the United Nations Security Council regarding the continuing human rights violations in DRC and approve of the fact that the protection of civilians remains at the forefront of the mandate of MONUSCO.

"We are particularly pleased that this mandate specifically includes the protection of human rights defenders who continue to face threats, harassment and unfair judicial proceedings," said Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice President and President of the Groupe Lotus.

Although the mandate provides a sequenced withdrawal of the military component of MONUSCO under certain conditions, our organizations welcome the fact that, if need be, it is possible for the mission to be redeployed rapidly throughout the country. This procedure is important considering that the risks of insecurity in the country go beyond the Eastern regions.

Our organizations also approve of the emphasis put by the UNSC on the fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of human rights violations as a means to protect civilians and call on the Congolese authorities to fully comply to it. In this regard, our organizations denounce the lack of cooperation of the Congolese authorities with the International Criminal Court concerning the arrest and transfer of Bosco Ntaganda to the Hague, despite the international arrest warrant issued against him.

Our organizations also welcome the emphasis put on the consolidation of the rule of law and more specifically, that concrete recommendations on the reform of the judicial and penitential system and of security services were put forward by the UNSC. Our organizations also welcome that the Security Council has considered necessary to give the MONUSCO an important role in the facilitation and stabilization during the upcoming national and local elections.

Our organizations, pleased to see that the mandate of the MONUSCO has been conditioned to the completion of certain concrete objectives regarding peace, security, protection of civilians and rule of law by the Government of the DRC, hereby urge the said Government to provide the international community with measurable impact indicators for the next evaluation.

Background information: In March 2010, FIDH and its member organizations in DRC were part of an Arria meeting at the Security Council where they developed benchmarks regarding the implementation of the MONUC mandate, (especially with regards to the protection of civilians, including that of human rights defenders, and the issue of impunity) and the necessity of developing an international and national plan for the consolidation of rule of law that would go hand in hand with the mandate of the MONUC.

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