The United Nations Security Council Tuesday evening demanded the immediate withdrawal of the armed group known as the 23 March Movement (M23) from the major eastern Congolese city of Goma and the cessation of any further advances, calling for a clarification of reports of external support provided to the group and stating its readiness to act on the basis of information received.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2076 (2012) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council strongly condemned the M23 for its resumption of attacks, its entry into Goma today and its attacks on the civilian population, on peacekeepers of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and on humanitarian actors, condemning in that context its abuses of human rights, including summary executions, gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment of child soldiers.
Demanding that “any and all outside support cease immediately” to the M23, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report in the coming days on the allegations of such support in coordination with the International Conference on the Great Lakes region and the African Union, expressing its readiness to “take further appropriate measures” on the basis of the report, including consideration of targeted sanctions against external supporters as well as the leadership of the M23. It called on all relevant actors to use their influence on the M23 to bring about an end to attacks.
Also in the coming days, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report on options for possible redeployments, in consultation with all partners, of MONUSCO personnel and materiel within the current authorized ceiling in order to better protect civilians and report on flows of arms across the borders of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Following the adoption, Congolese representative Seraphin Ngwej said the rapidly deteriorating situation had begun five days ago in North Kivu after attacks on his country’s armed forces. He said evidence was mounting regarding Rwanda’s involvement in the Goma war. What had resulted was grave suffering, loss of life, rape, the forced recruitment of children as well as the displacement of large numbers of people and the halting of economic activities.
He asked the Security Council to strongly condemn the Rwandan troops’ violations of human rights, to demand that Rwanda immediately end acts of aggression and to remove its troops from Goma and the country. He also asked the Council to urge an end to violence and all activities aimed at destabilizing his Government, to support its efforts to re-establish authority in the east of the country and to apply sanctions against all leaders in the M23 and the Rwandan officers cited in the mid-term report of the United Nations Group of Experts.
He hoped, he said, that MONUSCO would become better able to respond, with the goal of maintaining peace.
Rwanda’s responsibility in destabilizing his country had been established, he said, urging the Council to conclude that Rwanda had violated the United Nations Charter, in presenting a serious threat to international peace and security in the subregion, through the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity of a State. The Council, he said, should take the necessary action to restore peace and security in North Kivu. Frank dialogue with Rwanda could resolve the current security problems, he said, calling on the United Nations to facilitate it.
Rwanda’s representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, taking the floor next, denied the account of the Congolese representative, stating that his country had spoken out against the ending of the ceasefire in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and calling for the truce to be resumed. Rwanda had also been subjected to rocket attacks from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in fatalities. Those attacks had at first been acknowledged by Congolese authorities, but then a Government spokesman denied them. He asked the Council to condemn such attacks against a country that was not a party to the conflict and was trying to resolve the situation at the highest level.
What was needed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said, was dialogue between the parties. The war in there was having negative effect on his country. Sanctions would only have counterproductive effects on the ground, he stressed, adding that his country was prepared to help bring about peace and assist refugees from the conflict.