There are worrying reports of deadly violence and a difficult situation from our partner organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sweden should be a clear voice in the world community for a comprehensive strategy that can contribute to security and faith in the future in the war-torn DR Congo, write five organizations with partners in the country.
We, representatives of five Swedish civil society organizations, have in various contexts pointed out the increasingly serious situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. What we have in common is that we have established collaborations with sister organizations in the country. Our partners give a picture of the development in DR Congo that is deeply worrying. Their and our concerns are reinforced by new reports of deadly violence in eastern Congo during the first months of the year and an increasingly difficult situation in other parts of the country as well.
As a member of the UN Security Council, Sweden has a unique opportunity to shed light on the situation in DR Congo. Following the renewal of the mandate for the UN peacekeeping operation in the country by the Council on Tuesday, we and our partners would like to draw attention to the following:
Put DR Congo on the agenda. Civil society has been following and debating the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than two decades. We are happy to continue to contribute to drawing attention to it in close dialogue with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
General election. President Kabila clings to power and has repeatedly postponed promised general elections. The promise of elections in December 2018 must be kept and be a free, fair and credible process.
UN presence. The UN's peacekeeping operation in DR Congo is the world's largest, but it has been reduced. The UN military presence continues without further cuts. The new mandate also speaks of transparent and secure elections. UN Secretary-General Guterres will, if necessary, ask the Council for further reinforcement of the operation.
Legal security and human rights. Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and organization must be guaranteed in order for our partners and other organizations to be able to carry out their work. Opportunities for peaceful demonstrations are needed for people to speak legally. The media must have the right to act freely.
Targeted sanctions. Sanctions against senior officials and militiamen who have committed human rights abuses have been effective. The government should pursue the sanctions track in both the UN and the EU. Financial support to the country should be directed to civil society.
Women, peace and security. Women's rights must always be defended, even in ongoing humanitarian crises. The government should keep its promise to prioritize women, peace and the security agenda and push all aspects of the agenda in future Security Council negotiations.
Efforts against corruption. If a free, fair and credible electoral process is to be guaranteed and the country's resources can be used to develop the country, efforts must be made against corruption.
Sweden should be a clear voice in the world community for an overall strategy that can contribute to security and faith in the future in the war-torn DR Congo. The most urgent task right now is to stop the killing and the humanitarian suffering.
Congolese Diaspora for Development
Women to women
Life & Peace Institute
The Medical Mission
the Swedish UN association