Madam President,


I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, for her presentation and for all the work accomplished by MONUSCO. I would also like to thank Ms Jacquie-Anna for sharing her observations. I welcome the presence of the representatives of the DRC and Rwanda at this meeting. We strongly condemn the recent attack on a MONUSCO position in Saké and wish a speedy recovery to the injured peacekeepers.


Since our meeting last month, the security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC has continued to deteriorate. Incessant attacks by the ADF, CODECO and Zaire and ongoing clashes between the FARDC and the M23 have led to a considerable increase in civilian casualties. The humanitarian crisis has reached an alarming level. At the end of February, there were more than 7 million displaced people in the DRC. This situation is untenable and requires urgent and concerted action.


In this respect, I would like to highlight three points:


Firstly, only a political solution can lead to lasting peace. As the Special Representative underlined today, the risk of further escalation and transformation of the conflict in eastern DRC into a wider regional conflict is real and growing. The activities of armed groups opposed to States in the region, as well as the increased militarisation in the east of the country, accentuate this risk.


Switzerland therefore once again calls on the parties to resume negotiations and to commit to a credible and inclusive political process. We welcome the efforts made within the framework of the Luanda Process and encourage Presidents Tshisekedi and Kagame to engage in an inclusive and credible political dialogue.


We renew our call to Rwanda to immediately cease all support for the M23 and to withdraw its soldiers from DRC territory. At the same time, we call for an end to the support given to armed groups, including the FDLR, by certain elements of the FARDC.


Secondly, any lasting peace requires respect for international law and the protection of civilians. Switzerland is particularly concerned by the M23's change of tactics in North Kivu, where the group is establishing its bases in civilian homes to protect itself from airstrikes. Switzerland calls on all parties to strictly adhere to international humanitarian law and to take concrete measures to protect the civilian population. We regret the DRC's decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty, which violates human dignity.


Switzerland is also concerned about the adverse impact of the Mission's disengagement from South Kivu on the protection of civilians. We take note of the announcement by the DRC Minister of the Interior, reiterating his government's determination to assume its responsibilities in implementing MONUSCO's disengagement plan. To this end, it is important that the Congolese defence and security forces are rapidly deployed and that they prioritise the protection of civilians.


Thirdly, while the DRC has the primary responsibility to protect civilians, it also has the responsibility to protect humanitarian and UN personnel. Yet the positions of peacekeepers continue to be the target of numerous attacks. We note with concern that, in addition to the M23, UN reports indicate that these attacks are also being perpetrated by elements of the FARDC and the Wazalendo. These actions pose a threat to MONUSCO and prevent it from fulfilling its mandate to protect civilians. We recall the responsibilities of the host state to bring perpetrators of such acts to justice, in accordance with Resolution 2589 of this Council.


Madam President,


Humanitarian workers in conflict-affected areas continue to be threatened and targeted by attacks. We see such attacks in many conflict situations around the world. With this in mind, Switzerland is currently advocating for a Council resolution to strengthen the protection of humanitarian and UN personnel, including national and locally recruited staff.


In conclusion, Switzerland remains committed to finding a political solution to the crisis in eastern DRC. We reaffirm our readiness to support diplomatic efforts and peace talks on the ground. We call on the members of this Council to speak with one voice so that these efforts, in particular the regional efforts under Chapter VIII of the Charter, become a reality and lead to an immediate de-escalation of the conflict.

Thank you.

Download the statement

Size / Type