RAPAPORT… The United Nations (UN) Security Council demanded that a group of renegade soldiers known as the 23 March Movement (M23) cease their efforts to destabilize the diamond-rich eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and it voiced deep concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in that region. The 15-member governing body today reiterated its “strong condemnation of the M23 and its attacks,” and urged all armed groups to cease all forms of violence, including acts of sexual violence and the recruitment and use of children.
The statement follows a closed-door briefing on July 30 by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Roger Meece, who also heads the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (known by the French acronym MONUSCO), which has been assisting the Congolese national forces in their operations against rebel groups.
Meece briefed member states on the situation in the eastern DRC and specifically on the attacks perpetrated by the M23, who are reportedly led by Bosco Ntaganda, an army general wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. Council members “reiterate their demands that the M23 cease immediately all destabilizing activities, including any advances towards the city of Goma.”
They also reiterated their strong condemnation of “any and all outside support” to the M23 and demanded that all support to the armed group, including from outside countries, cease immediately.
Fighting in the eastern DRC has forced nearly half a million residents to flee in just the past four months, including some 220,000 people in North Kivu province, 200,000 in South Kivu province, and more than 51,000 who have fled to neighboring Uganda and Rwanda.
“The members of the Security Council express deep concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in the North Kivu province of the DRC, especially the increasing number of displaced persons and refugees, and call on the international community to provide appropriate humanitarian support,” the statement added.