Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on MONUSCO
National statement delievered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), 9 January 2018, New York.
Thank you USG Lacroix for your briefing this morning.
I want to first of acknowledge and very much welcome the appointment of Laila Zerrougui as the new SRSG this morning. We of course acknowledge and appreciate very much the service of Maman Sidikou.
Since our last meeting, the situation in the DRC has clearly continued to evolve; the establishment of an electoral calendar with an election date set for December 23, peaceful protests on New Year's Eve met with repression and deadly violence, and, on December 7, the deadly attack on the Semuliki base in North Kivu against MONUSCO.
With a worsening overall security situation throughout the DRC, and in the east in particular, and surging humanitarian needs and a political fragility, the key to changing this trajectory is a democratic transition of power, the creation of tolerant political space based on the holding of credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections, in the spirit of the 31st December Agreement.
Important building blocks for the elections are now in place; the calendar, the election law as well as a budget. The DRC Government as well as the opposition and other key stakeholders now need to contribute constructively to make sure elections are held on December 23 this year. The international community has a role to play in support of those efforts. Dialogue and coordination with the region will remain key and we very much support an active role of the guarantors.
The Council should also continue to follow the situation: For elections to be credible, the DRC government urgently needs to implement the confidence building measures agreed upon in the 31st December Agreement. In this regard, we remain deeply concerned over continued and recent reports of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those of assembly, speech and peaceful protest. The violent response to New Year's Eve events represent an unacceptable example of the lack of respect for human rights for which there can be no impunity for those responsible.
Ensuring women's full and equal participation in elections is also essential for a credible electoral process, including safe access to polling stations. We appreciate the efforts to increase women's voter registration in the Kasaï region.
MONUSCO will continue to play a vital role in supporting the electoral process and in contributing to the protection of civilians. I want to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to Tanzania and MONUSCO for the losses encountered during the horrendous attack on December 7.
Finally Mr. President,
a word on the humanitarian situation which continues to deteriorate. The lack of resilience among the Congolese population makes it extremely vulnerable to conflict. In 2017 more people were forced to flee their homes in the DRC than in any other country in the world. Sweden is proud to be the 3rd largest bilateral humanitarian donor but we are deeply concerned over the record-low levels of funding to DRC humanitarian appeal, thus I take this opportunity to encourage those who can to consider additional funding.