GREAT LAKE REGION SUMMIT CAN “POINT THE WAY FORWARD” TOWARDS END OF VIOLENCE IN EASTERN DRC, BAN SAYS.
South South News
UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti
“I am deeply concerned about the security conditions in eastern DRC,” Ban Ki Moon said in a message addressed to regional leaders at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). “Particularly caused by the violent activities of the 23 March group of mutineers and other national and foreign armed groups.”
The summit, which is being held in Uganda’s capital Kampala on August 7-8, was convened as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to the Secretary General, the civilians in the region have been the ones most affected by the violence. “The humanitarian consequences for civilians have been grave,” the message – delivered by Abou Moussa, Special Representative on head of the UN regional office for central Africa – said.
The UNHCR’s DRC country report for 2012 stated that more than 1,7 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are internally displaced people, ”of which 72,00 are living in spontaneous camps.”
The Secretary-General touched upon the issues of Human right violations that are being committed in the region by the rebel groups, who operate under the name M23. “I condemn the violence and serious human rights violations committed by the M23, as well as other armed groups, against civilians, including acts of sexual violence, summary executions, and the recruitment of children as combatants.”
Ban also noted however, that he had seen a decrease in M23 military operations since late July.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton sent a message to neighboring countries Rwanda and Uganda to stop all support to the M23 rebels. "We urge all the states of the region including Rwanda to work together to cut off support for the rebels in the M23,” Clinton said. “Disarm them and bring their leaders to justice."
While Ban Ki Moon’s message recognizes the ongoing grave violations of human rights in the DRC, he expressed his confidence in the local leaders to work towards a solution during the conference. “This Summit can point the way forward.” Ban’s statement concluded. “The United Nations stands ready to provide support, as appropriate, in cooperation with the African Union and regional and international partners.”