Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 9, 2019
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Special Representative Zerrougui, for your briefing today. Last December, the Congolese people cast their votes for change – for a peaceful transition of power, for stability, and for a brighter future. The United States applauds the recent formation of a DRC government that embraces new leaders who could help realize this future.
We commend President Tshisekedi for the commitments he and his government have made, and for the first steps they have taken to curb an Ebola outbreak, address insecurity in the East, and fight corruption. Only concrete action can prove to the Congolese people that this government represents the change they voted for.
We commend the DRC government, the UN, and NGOs’ efforts to fight Ebola, and especially the unique support and capabilities provided by MONUSCO. As the largest single-country donor to the response, the U.S. is deeply committed to global health. Still, we urge all others to contribute generously to the latest Strategic Response Plan, which calls for $376 million in donor funding.
While the government has rightly focused on chronic insecurity in eastern DRC, we remain deeply concerned about human rights abuses in the region by armed groups and local militias. We are also alarmed by continued reports of attacks by those groups across Northern Kivu, as well as of a resurgence of violence in South Kivu.
Amid unrest, we acknowledge MONUSCO’s efforts to increase security through an intensified troop presence, as well as its support of reconciliation efforts in the East. While an end to violence is a necessary condition for peace, it is no guarantee.
Thus, we urge the DRC government and the President to work closely with the Mission and provincial authorities to establish a long-term plan for justice and reconciliation – one that addresses longstanding grievances and structures that foment violence.
We also expect to see the government reform its security sector, including by improving standards in the national police and armed forces; holding human rights abusers to account; and demobilizing, disarming, and reintegrating willing armed groups into civilian life. In the East, provincial authorities have, with MONUSCO’s support, already created an investigation commission and two intra-community dialogues.
These are small, but commendable steps. We similarly recognize the President’s recent overtures to his neighbors in the Great Lakes Region, and we hope these meetings yield a new pattern of faith dialogue aimed at lasting regional peace.
Mr. President, the stability of democratic institutions depends on citizens being able to trust their elected officials – so we are encouraged by the DRC government’s recent efforts to fight corruption. These include a pledge to pass new legislation to address impunity and ratify the African Union’s Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption. The United States strongly supports these efforts, including through our own bilateral programs.
Because we understand that good governance is essential to a society’s flourishing – and because we want the DRC to flourish – the United States is launching a new anti-corruption program in the DRC, in support of the U.S.-DRC partnership initiated after the President’s visit to Washington.
We also look forward to seeing the MONUSCO strategic review later this month. We expect to receive the full text of the review, in accordance with commitments made by the Secretariat. We also welcome any additional documents the Secretariat would like to provide, though we do recognize the report will not oblige the UN or Security Council members to take any particular courses of action.
Fellow Council Members, it is ultimately the DRC government that has the power to deliver resources and security to its citizens. And just as the people of DRC marked their ballots in favor of change, the new government has a vote of its own to cast – a vote against corruption, a vote against violence, and most importantly, a vote for a better future for the people of the DRC. We urge the government to make the choice that is best for all whom they represent.