RDC: François Grignon stresses the importance of setting up a mechanism for sustainable protection of civilian populations

14 Nov 2019

RDC: François Grignon stresses the importance of setting up a mechanism for sustainable protection of civilian populations

Nana Rosine Ngangoue

The Acting Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Protection and Operations, François Grignon, interacted with the media on Wednesday, 13 November around the UN Mission’s activities and the progress made in the implementation of its mandate in partnership with the Congolese government. In this respect, he pleaded for a sustainable protection system to be set up for the protection of civilian populations.

In expectation of the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), François Grignon informed the press that a UN Security Council meeting is scheduled for 13 November in New York, to mark the beginning of the negotiations for the renewal of the Mission’s mandate, on December 20. "The meeting will discuss the report submitted by the independent strategic review to the UN Security Council a few weeks ago," he said, adding that "the recommendations formulated by the review are not either the Secretariat’s or MONUSCO’s and have not yet been discussed in detail with the Government ".

However, Mr. Grignon notes that the general philosophy of the independent strategic review’s report underscores the importance for MONUSCO to engage in a sustainable and responsible exit strategy that will make room for a new type of partnership between the DR Congo and the United Nations, built on the UN country team’s support to the Government and the people of DR Congo. "We do need Government’s ownership in handling the protection issue, as MONUSCO is embarked on the exit strategy from the Democratic Republic of Congo," he told the media.

The Deputy Special Representative believes the response to the remaining challenges in the DRC must be based primarily on consolidating the rule of law. '' More than ever, the DR Congo needs a State, a democratic State, a State whose minimum sovereign functions have been consolidated throughout the country, and above all a State governed by the rule of law, in which law enforcement is demilitarized and a State in which there is no longer impunity for serious crimes, "he said.

Francois Grignon praised the significant progress made over the past few years in relation to the restoration of State authority throughout the country. He notes that currently only 12 of the country's 135 territories remain affected by armed violence: Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu.

Referring to the situation in Ituri, Mr. Grignon noted that the crisis in Djugu has calmed down over the past weeks, thanks in particular to the efforts made by the Government and the provincial authorities. He also talked about the breakthrough achieved in the disarmament process of the FRPI militiamen in the territory of Irumu. "However, this progress remains reversible and we must continue to work closely with the authorities to consolidate and ensure its sustainability," he warned.

The deputy chief of MONUSCO also expressed his concern about the protection crisis in the North Kivu province, particularly in the ‘’Petit Nord’’, where 53% of all human rights violations in the DRC’s territory have occurred this year and 65% of them carried out by national and foreign armed groups.

In the territories of Fizi and Uvira, South Kivu province, which have experienced significant deterioration in recent weeks, Francois Grignon deems unacceptable the hate speech documented in some media and on the social media against the Congolese Banyamulenge populations. "We condemn this violence and will work with the Government to ensure that those responsible [for the hate speech] are brought to justice," he warned.

At the operational level, MONUSCO has strengthened its presence in the hauts plateaux (highlands) to act as a deterrent. The Mission has also called for a rapid reinforcement of FARD (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo)’s presence and resources to swiftly regain control of the situation.

'' The crises in the South Kivu, as well as in the North Kivu and Ituri, need the restoration of state authority: a democratic state, a functional and impartial state, and a rule of law ' ', concluded Mr. Grignon.