United Nations Security Council Renews MONUSCO’s Mandate: Mission’s Role in Light of Upcoming DRC Elections is Laid Out and Should Be Acted Upon to its Fullest Extent

Press release
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FIDH and its member organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Groupe Lotus, ASADHO and the Ligue des Électeurs, welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 1991 adopted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 and renewing the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

As our organizations believe that MONUSCO can be a real stabilizing element in light of the November 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections, where tensions and human rights abuses might intensify, we especially take note of the fact that the Security Council has given the Mission a specific role to play in the context of the on-going electoral process. The Resolution reads that the MONUSCO shall support the electoral process “through the provision of technical and logistical support” including, “by monitoring, reporting and following-up on human rights violations in the context of the elections.” This role is essential and should be accomplished to its fullest extent by the MONUSCO, including by having its Human Rights Division develop prevention strategies and mechanisms to discourage violence and violations of fundamentals rights.

While failing to specifically mandate the Mission with doing a systematic and substantial political analysis of the electoral process, the Resolution tasks MONUSCO and the UN Country Team “to collect information on and identify potential threats against the civilian population, as well as reliable information on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, bring them to the attention of the Congolese authorities as appropriate, and to take appropriate action” and requests MONUSCO “to provide assistance and advice to the Congolese authorities with security preparations in relation to elections.” Here again, our organizations urge MONUSCO to give its fullest meaning to this request by proactively analyzing possible threats to fair and violent-free elections that might result in violations of human rights law, including fundamental freedoms.

As Congolese human rights defenders, journalists, the political opposition, and other members of the civil society including women remain very vulnerable, we welcome the Security Council’s call on the DRC government urging it to provide for the safety of all those actors in the context of the elections.

We regret that, while encouraging the Congolese authorities to combat impunity of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, Resolution 1991 fails to mention the establishment of the special mixed chambers to implement the recommendations of the UN Mapping Report on crimes perpetrated from 1993 to 2003. The Security Council should have urged the government to ensure the chambers’ independence and compliance with international law, including with the Rome Statute, to accomplish the necessary reform to its justice system and legislation accordingly, and to ensure the effective protection of victims and witnesses.

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