Security Council Briefing: MONUSCO
Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York.
New York, 7 March 2018
2018 is a crucial year for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As this Council prepares to renew the MONUSCO mandate, I would like to make three points:
- On the political process,
- On the role of MONUSCO in the elections,
- And on the protection of civilians.
The political process
My first point, the political process. The people of Congo look forward to the country’s first peaceful transfer of power through free, fair and credible elections at the end of this year. Progress towards this historic day is continuing. But progress on the implementation of the Sylvester Agreement has stalled. Fundamental freedoms are threatened.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands condemns the violence used during protests held on the 25th of February. All harassment of civil society, journalists and human rights defenders must end. We call on all parties to recommit to the spirit of the Sylvester Agreement in order for the upcoming elections to gain the trust of the Congolese people.
The role of MONUSCO in the elections
My second point concerns the role of MONUSCO this year leading up to the elections. MONUSCO has a vital role to play in that context. Not only to provide logistical support; also to support the implementation of the Sylvester Agreement, to build trust among all actors and to monitor progress towards the elections.
Therefore, our univocal support to MONUSCO, the SRSG and the Secretary-General to effectuate good offices is indispensable. This Council must therefore show the will to monitor progress and equip MONUSCO in that regard.
The protection of civilians
My third point is on the protection of civilians, which must remain a priority for MONUSCO. We are very concerned about the upsurge in violence in Ituri over the last weeks. Sadly, it is not the only area where we see increased fighting and civilian casualties.
MONUSCO is adapting to the circumstances through the “Protection through Projection”-approach. It is the shared responsibility of the Council, the Secretariat, the TCCs as well as the Congolese authorities to ensure the conditions are met to make this a success. We have to keep that in mind during the mandate renewal discussions.
Let me conclude by reiterating our sincere gratitude to the SRSG for her and her team’s relentless efforts. Together, we must work towards a better future for the Congolese people.