Friday, October 06, 2006

Call to UN Security Council to Extend Monuc - in English

September 25, 2006

United Nations Security Council
One United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

Via Fax

Democratic Republic of Congo: Open Letter to U.N. Security Council Members

As the U.N. Security Council meets this month to discuss the future of the U.N. Mission in the DR Congo, Humanitarian, Human Rights, Grassroots, and Faith Based Organizations call on the U.N. Security Council to renew and extend MONUC’s mandate and ensure it is adequately funded.

Since 1997, 4 million people have lost their lives, 450,000 Congolese have fled to neighboring countries and 1.6 million people remain displaced as the result of the conflict. Though peace agreements were signed in 2003 and some progress has been made, intermittent fighting is still taking a huge toll on civilians as localized attacks, killings, rapes and pillaging continues, particularly in Eastern Congo. Insecurity hampers humanitarian access and makes it difficult to deliver urgently needed assistance.
On July 30, 2006, 17 million Congolese people demonstrated their desire for a peaceful and democratic process in the Congo by exercising a basic human right denied to them for the last 40 years: they voted. Unfortunately, when the Independent Electoral Commission announced a run-off election would be necessary, some violence erupted in the capital city of Kinshasa. MONUC played a major role in restoring order to the city and continues to rebuild trust so that the second round of elections can go ahead without recourse to violent conflict.
While it is ultimately the DRC Government’s primary responsibility to protect its citizens, MONUC is playing an essential role in maintaining a fragile peace and supporting humanitarian assistance. MONUC is charged with providing the necessary security environment that will facilitate displaced people to return to their homes, a process that will take many months and expose civilians to grave challenges during which they will rely on the UN force for protection. MONUC must also create the secure environment that allows the humanitarian organizations to deliver food, medicines and other vital assistance throughout the country. It is estimated that roads, bridges, vehicles and communication lines will remain inadequate for years to come.

Downsizing MONUC and weakening its mandate would undermine progress made so far towards recovery and democracy in the Congo and, even worse, could allow gains so far achieved to be lost. Therefore, we call on the U.N. Security Council to:

· Ensure MONUC remains at its current force size and maintains its Chapter Seven mandate until a more stable peace is established.
· Adequately fund MONUC to ensure it is fully resourced and able to carry out its mandate.
Prioritize MONUC’s activities to ensure that the DRC’s National Army is fully resourced, sufficiently staffed, adequately trained and respectful of human rights.
Demonstrate long-term commitment to Security Sector reform in the DRC by mandating MONUC to help create a professional police force that can adequately perform its duties. This will be a long term process and needs full support from the international community.
Make certain adequate resources and appropriate methods are focused on the continued demobilization, disarmament, and the reintegration of former combatants into society to prevent violent relapses.

We call on members of the U.N. Security Council to renew and extend MONUC’s mandate at the force’s present size and to ensure sufficient funding to stabilize the fragile Congo in the post-election period. The restoration of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not only needed by Congo’s people, but is also vital to the stability and prosperity of the whole continent.

Respectfully yours,

Africa Faith & Justice Network

American Jewish World Service

BVES: Bureau pours le Volontariat au service de l’Enfance et la Sante


Catholic Relief Services

Congo Action Network

Congolese Community of Southern California

COPPAC: A Pluralist Organization of Congolese Patriots

Dignity, Inc.

En Avant Congo

Franciscans International

Friends of the Congo

Global Witness

Mama Makeka House of Hope

Norwegian Refugee Council

Open Society Policy Center

Oxfam International

Initiatives Femmes Enfants et Developpement

International Rescue Committee

Peace and Solidarity in Africa

Run for Congo Women

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

The Bayindo Group SA


United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guéhenno
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador William Lacy Swing

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