BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER 2022 (10AM) A3 STATEMENT BY AMB. MARTIN KIMANI,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF KENYA TO THE UN
Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3, namely, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya.
We thank Mr. Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region for his briefing.
The A3 remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating security in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its effect on the stability of the Great Lakes Region.
Our statement will focus on three areas that require urgent action to address the root causes of conflict in eastern DRC and the region. These include, first, the continuing threat of armed groups; secondly, reinforcing confidence building among the leaders of the region; and third, addressing the illegal exploitation of natural resources.
On the threat posed by armed groups, the A3 is alarmed by the worsening situation as reflected in the recent M23 capture of Bunagana town in North Kivu.
The A3 denounce the escalation of violence in Rutshuru since 20th October between the FARDC and the rebels of the M23, which left at least ten dead and dozens injured. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and express our solidarity with the civilians affected by this violence.
We condemn the illegal and inhumane activities of the M23, ADF, CODECO, FDLR-FOCA and RED Tabara. These groups are perpetrating mass atrocities and grave human rights violations. We note with concern that some of these groups, particularly the ADF have links to terrorist networks including ISIS. The threat they pose to regional peace and security calls for a robust regional response.
We call for the swift implementation of the Action Plan for the 2021-2023 UN Strategy for Peace, Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes as well as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region.
We welcome the Inter-Congolese peace dialogue initiated by the East African Community and that many armed groups are already participating. We further welcome the convening of the third Inter-Congolese peace dialogue in Nairobi from 4th to 13th November 2022.
The A3 commends Angola, Senegal and Kenya for their contribution to the EAC peace fund domiciled in Arusha to support the political process. We invite other countries to partner with the EAC by contributing to the fund.
The success of the Nairobi processes depends on the effectiveness of the Demobilisation, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilisation Programme. We urge the UN and the international community to avail the necessary resources for this exercise.
We urge the Secretary-General to strengthen the coordination gap between the Contact and Coordination Group (CCG) and the Nairobi process to best support the peace dialogue.
We further urge for enhanced support to strengthen the capacity of the FARDC to consolidate State authority in conflict areas. We encourage the government of the DRC to initiate a strategy for the ambitious reform of the FARDC and its security sector to take up its responsibility of the protection of civilians in order to fulfill the rights and needs of all Congolese people after the withdrawal of MONUSCO.
On confidence building among leaders of the region, the A3 underscores that political will is the key ingredient in resolving the conflicts in the Great Lakes. We note with concern the heightened levels of mistrust between DRC and Rwanda that only serve to fuel unsustainable regional tensions. Both countries need each other for peace, security and prosperity. It is therefore crucial that they employ all efforts to avoid misunderstanding, build confidence and strengthen cooperation.
We also strongly condemn the use of hate speech as well as disinformation and misinformation by some leaders. It is contributing to the mistrust, tension and animosity and even inciting violence. We urge the Special Envoy and the SRSG to the DRC to proactively engage the major social media to encourage their swift and comprehensive action on hate speech. Regional and national authorities should also ensure that those engaging in hate speech and incitement are held accountable, particularly if they are political leaders. Mr. President,
We welcome the Luanda Roadmap aimed at normalising the political relations between the DRC and Rwanda. We commend the increasing coordination between the Nairobi and Luanda process and call for its strengthening in support to the priorities of the Government of DRC. We encourage further regional confidence building measures particularly through regional economic cooperation.
We urge regional states to strengthen governance frameworks such as the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development to promote a regional vision for addressing the root causes of conflict.
There is a need to reinvigorate the Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre (JIFC) and the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), to collect and disseminate intelligence on armed group activities to national law enforcement agencies.
On addressing illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources, the region must address with urgency the alarming competition for natural resources by illegal transnational actors and armed groups.
The A3 encourage regional states to implement regional regulatory frameworks and strengthen accountability measures in order to manage the sustainable use of natural resources. We also urge States to effect necessary legislation and rules against conflicts of interest.
We urge all entities globally importing and exporting natural resources to put in place conflict minerals awareness and monitoring systems. We further urge States particularly those receiving minerals to ensure compliance oversight, transparency in mineral flows and fair play to enable responsible mineral supply chains during the extraction, transport and sale of natural resources.
Meanwhile, the UN and regional organisations should forge collaborative efforts to support States emerging from conflict in the region, paying due respect for their sovereignty over natural resources. This can be achieved through capacity building to strengthen national regulatory and law enforcement capacities based on national priorities to lay the foundation for lawful, transparent and sustainable use of natural resources.
The A3 recognises the valuable role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in supporting cross-border cooperation in the region. We therefore welcome the written advisory from the Peacebuilding Commission and urge for Council’s support in the identified areas of work including the implementation of the UN Strategy for the Great Lakes Region.
In conclusion, we note with appreciation the support to the Nairobi and Luanda processes by the Security Council and encourage continued partnership of the Secretary-General and the UN including funding support.
We commend and support the efforts of the Special Envoy and his able team in promoting peace and security in the region through good offices, advocacy and capacity-building programmes which are beneficial to the DRC and the region.