RAPAPORT… The United Nations envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes Region proposed a set of principles to guide immediate peace efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), while voicing concerns over renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country this week.
“The suffering and displacement of the people, especially women and children, in eastern DRC and beyond have gone on for too long and cannot be tolerated any further,” said Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s special envoy appointee.
Fighting between rebels from the 23 March Movement (M23) and the national armed forces (known as the FARDC) broke out again yesterday morning in Kibati and Rusayo, some 12 kilometers from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
Tensions have been heightened in the region recently as the M23 publicly decried the deployment of an intervention brigade within the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) and broke off the so-called Kampala peace talks with the government.
The proposed principles Robison presented seek to guide immediate peace efforts by tackling the crisis in the region, while maintaining a focus on long-term solutions and accelerating the return of residents. They also call for the demobilization of all armed groups active in eastern DRC, and urge all parties to comply with all their obligations under international law.
“Any agreements reached between the parties should contribute to breaking the cycle of violence and impunity for human rights abuses,” her Office said in a news release.
Robinson, who recently visited the DRC, urged all parties to implement their commitments under the UN-brokered Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework that was adopted in February with the support of 11 nations and four international organizations. Robinson will be joining UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on their upcoming visit to the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda later this week.