WITH LARGE-SCALE CYCLICAL VIOLENCE RAVAGING DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS NO TOLERANCE FOR OBSTRUCTING CIVILIAN PROTECTION
NEW YORK, August 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message, as delivered by Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, in Nairobi, 31 July:
I am pleased to send greetings to this important Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. This timely meeting represents a significant opportunity to build on the momentum generated by the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region.
I commend the determination of the region's leaders to end the large-scale cyclical violence that has ravaged eastern Democratic Republic of the Cong over the past two decades, and I welcome the appeal to all warring parties to stop hostilities, made by Foreign Ministers of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region following the informal ministerial meeting convened by my Special Envoy on the margins of the recent Security Council Ministerial Debate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region.
I remain seriously concerned by the continuing reports of killings, forced recruitment and illegal detention of civilians, including children, by the 23 March Movement (M23) and other armed groups. These activities constitute serious human rights violations and must stop immediately. I call on all armed groups to fully disarm, and on all parties to fully respect human rights and international humanitarian law.
I wish to underline that any acts that undermine or target the efforts of the United Nations on the ground to protect civilians and deliver urgently needed humanitarian relief will not be tolerated. I call on all actors to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need. I call on the M23 to stop its attacks and on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to show restraint. I encourage all parties to conclude the Kampala talks as soon as possible.
A credible political process is the only way to end the crisis and address the root causes of the recurring violence. I reiterate my call for all the signatories to the Framework to jointly and individually respect their commitments, including neither tolerating nor providing assistance or support to armed groups. I also call on the international community to assist the signatories to work constructively to uphold their commitments and to contribute to peacebuilding programmes that can lead to stability and development for all the people of the Great Lakes region.
I count on your leadership to provide further impetus to the search for solutions to the complex problems facing the region and I look forward to meeting with you all during the United Nations General Assembly in September in New York.