Joint Statement from the Delegation of the European Union and Member States Represented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden); and the Embassies of Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, and The United States on the Situation in North Kivu and Ituri
Kinshasa, April 9 2021.
We strongly condemn the violence and murders committed by armed groups in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly the recent wave of atrocities by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in North Kivu and Ituri. These terrible attacks cause immeasurable suffering and we offer our deepest condolences to the victims, their families and loved ones. We salute and encourage the efforts of the humanitarian community working in this region while accepting significant risk alongside the Congolese population to provide them vital humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Congolese populations. We stand with the authorities of the DRC and the United Nations mission (MONUSCO) in their continued efforts to protect the civilian population and to eliminate the threat posed by armed groups. It is essential that a robust and sustained response be formulated in line with the responsibilities of all actors to face the attacks of armed groups.
We support the right of the Congolese people to gather and demonstrate peacefully and call on the security services to guarantee, respect and protect this right within the legal and regulatory framework. The space for civil society to be able express itself in a non-violent fashion needs to be assured at all times. We are however deeply concerned by the growing insecurity in Beni and Butembo, North Kivu, caused by violent actions of some, including irresponsible threats directed at United Nations personnel and the humanitarian community.
The humanitarian response in this region is vital to hundreds of thousands of Congolese. We recall that the humanitarian community is governed by their founding principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, to save lives and alleviate suffering. Every day, humanitarian assistance is provided to the populations of Beni and Butembo, among so many others in the DRC. This assistance allows for women, children, and vulnerable people to feed themselves, to find shelter, and to access health and basic social services. If these threats continue and the security situation in the region were to deteriorate further, humanitarian activities might be forcibly suspended and all these efforts will be threatened. In order to continue to serve the Congolese people who are in need, the personnel and belongings of humanitarians must be respected and protected.
We call on all those involved to cease these threats and engage in dialogue towards stabilisation and peace. We also call on the Congolese State and civil and community authorities to take all actions required to ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarians, and United Nations personnel.