Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Theodore Allegra at the DRC Humanitarian Conference

U.S. Mission Geneva Media Note

Remarks by Theodore Allegra
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim
United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
at the DRC Humanitarian Conference

Geneva, Switzerland,
April 13, 2018

The situation in the DRC remains one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises.  With the humanitarian appeals for the DRC and Congolese refugees in the region reaching nearly $2.2 billion this year, the time for the international community to respond is now.  The United States appreciates the conference’s hosts—the United Nations, the European Union, and the Netherlands—for drawing attention to this situation, and for bringing fresh insights from their recent travel to the region.

The United States is gravely concerned about the significant deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the country in recent years.  There have been reports of horrific acts of violence against civilians, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, arrests of children, unlawful use of child soldiers, and gender-based violence.  The violence continues to drive people from their homes, threaten their lives, and disrupt their access to health services, schools, markets, farming, and livelihoods.  And, in this context, the United States expresses its condolences for the tragic and senseless loss of one of OCHA’s own last week.

Attacks on civilians and relief workers are making it harder to reach people , and unnecessary bureaucratic hindrances limit the effectiveness and reach of humanitarian aid.  Humanitarian groups must be permitted safe passage and they must be allowed to work without fearing for their safety, and without being overburdened by excessive bureaucratic impediments.

The United States is disappointed that the DRC government did not attend today’s session.  Nonetheless, we must all take this opportunity to  urge the DRC government to to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.

Today, the United States is pleased to announce nearly $67 million in new humanitarian assistance for the DRC and neighboring countries.  This will bring U.S. humanitarian support since October 2016 to nearly $277 million.

We commend the contributions of countries in the region that are hosting Congolese refugees.  For those countries that have begun to implement it, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) should help integrate humanitarian and development initiatives for refugee and host communities.

The United States remains committed to supporting these efforts.  Helping those suffering from the conflict in the DRC is a global responsibility and, as the Secretary General noted, the scale of the crisis has outpaced available resources.  We commend those governments and organizations that have already committed or provided funding for the humanitarian response this year.

And we call on others in the international community to join us in providing resources now to help the people of the DRC.