SC: Great Lakes Region

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback in the Security Council meeting on the Great Lakes region, 26 October 2022.

The deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC is deeply concerning; with serious regional implications. Violations of international humanitarian law, and violations and abuses of human rights, continue to be reported- involving brutal attacks against the civilian population, including children. It is imparative that these violations and abuses are investigated, and that those responsible are held accountable.

We note with concern also the rising tensions between the DRC and Rwanda. And call on both countries to exercise restraint and pursue a diplomatic solution. We welcome the political and diplomatic efforts of the region to address security challenges, and promote dialogue. Including: the holding of several Summits of Heads of State of the East African Community; the initiative taken by Angola’s president Lourenço; as well as former Kenyan President Kenyatta’s leadership of the Nairobi-process. And we stress the importance of coordination between the Nairobi process, the Luanda process, and the efforts of the UN.

The deployment of the EAC regional force must be closely coordinated with MONUSCO. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined. And we reiterate that all countries must respect the sovereignty of the DRC.

Norway urges all armed groups- including M23 and the Allied Democratic Forces- to lay down their weapons. We welcome the rollout of the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery, and Stabilization Program- and the appointment of provincial coordinators in DRC. And we stress the importance of joint understanding of DDR between the national and provincial level – to avoid repeating mistakes committed in previous rounds of DDR.

The involvement of women is essential to promote sustainable peace in the region. We welcome the efforts to strengthen cooperation with women’s networks in peacebuilding, and women and youth’s engagement in ongoing dialogue and confidence building activities.

To reduce the level of violence, and protect civilians, we must address the root causes of conflict in the region. The illicit trafficking of natural resources constitutes a significant revenue source for armed groups- fuelling violence, and other conflict drivers locally and in the region. The rivalry related to natural resources, and the illicit exploitation and trafficking of these resources, must come to an end.

We encourage Special Envoy Xia to continue his valuable support to regional initiatives aimed at addressing security challenges. As well as his commitment to the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. Norway will continue to support his efforts, including through ongoing cooperation with his office.