Interactive Dialogue on the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America, as delivered by Jason Mack

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Session
Geneva, June 20, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice President

The United States strongly supports the call for the establishment of an international, independent mission to investigation human rights violations and abuses in the Kasai region, including the alleged targeting of civilians, women, and children, and extrajudicial killings by the Armed Forces of the DRC and militia groups, the recruitment of child soldiers by militia groups, and reports of at least 42 mass graves in Kasai.

We strongly condemn the violence in the Kasai Provinces, including the alleged summary execution of unarmed civilians, including women and children, by elements of the FARDC, the use of child soldiers by armed groups, attacked by armed groups against government officials, and the murder of two UN experts. Nearly 1.3. million people have been internally displaced, and since April, 30,000 refugees have fled to Angola.

We call for an end to arbitrary and unlawful killings, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence. We urge the government to exercise restraint and avoid escalating violence in its efforts to restore order and resolve local grievances in insecure areas. We urge authorities to take action to end the extreme violence suffered by the population and to assure the protection of the civilian population by the armed forces of the DRC, with the support of MONUSCO, and in particular, through joint missions.

We also note that uncertainty over the government and President Joseph Kabila’s commitment to implement the December 31 agreement, hold elections, and refrain from seeking a third term or changing the constitution is fueling violence and instability across the country and in the Kasai. The December 31 agreement is the only viable path to elections and DRC’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power. Implementing this agreement, and following through on commitments to hold elections and adopt the “confidence building” measures enshrined in the accord, are essential for preventing a return to instability and violence in the DRC.

Questions:

  • What steps has the government taken to investigate FARDC members who are accused of committing atrocities in Kasai?
  • What steps is the government taking to address local grievances in Kasai in order to end the violence?

Thank you.