POLICY STATEMENT - ViaMUN

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POLICY STATEMENT - ViaMUN

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONSDelegates: Richard Weibel, Simon BrombeissPOLICY STATEMENTON THE SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGOThe UNITED STATES OF AMERICA regards the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)as one of the major humanitarian crises on the face of the earth and is strongly interested in that this conflict be putto an end. Over the past six years, more than 3.5 million people have died as a result of deprivation and fighting,most of them in the eastern part of the DRC. There are continuing incidents of violence along with widespread humanrights violations and the situation remains volatile.However, the Government of National Unity and Transition supported by the UN peacekeeping mission in theDRC (MONUC) has made some progress in unifying the country and reducing the scope of the conflict. Althoughthe situation continues to be critical, prospects of peace have not been more promising for a long time. Particularlythe upcoming elections appointed for 2005 – the first democratic elections in more than 40 years – should providefor renewed optimism to the Congolese people. This is a unique opportunity for the DRC to eventually find its wayto a functioning sovereign and democratic government, which is a prerequisite for the amelioration of the now disastroussocial and humanitarian situation.Still, as pointed out at the beginning, MONUC is far from being able to call the achievements hitherto a satisfactorysuccess. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA suggests three topics of paramount importance to be put on theagenda of the Security Council Session on 3 and 4 June 2005.I. PeacekeepingII. Human Rights SituationIII. Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by MONUC personnelI. PEACEKEEPINGThere is no doubt that the DRC, in particular the North and South Kivu and the Ituri region, is in need of moreeffective peacekeeping. Armed rebel and militia groups continue to breach the cease-fire agreed on in the LusakaCease-Fire Agreement in 1999 and the Arms Embargo, which has been in effect since the adoption of Resolution1493 in July 2003 for the Kivus and Ituri region and which was expanded by Resolution 1596 to apply for the entireDRC territory and for all recipients except for MONUC and the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and National Police.The United States welcomes the further measures decided on in Resolution 1596 such as increased monitoring andcontrol of airports and general transport, reinforced custom controls and freezing of funds or financial assets of thosegroups violating the Arms Embargo.The USA approves of the more robust approach of the maintenance of peace recognizing it to be the only meansto deal with immovable rebel groups. We also understand that large resources, both financially and as regards personnel,are vital to such a strategy. Nonetheless, we have concerns about the resource requirements as they are currentlypresented and we would request the secretariat to present us with a clear and logical explanation of how themission has assessed its existing capacity and formulated its current request based on that capacity.Yet again we would like to stress that the US has a strong interest in bringing a lasting peace to the DRC. Boththe continuing acts of violence and the still persisting lack of an effective central government create an environmentthat is conducive to international crime. By illegal exploitation of the natural resources – as for instance diamonds,coltan, gold and timber – the conflict parties are able to fund and maintain their arsenal of weaponry and their militaryactivities and campaigns, while depriving the government of its tax revenues.Hence this exploitation impedes economic growth, and, by this token, democratic development – since it isimpossible to separate economics from politics. Democracy cannot work in places where there is blatant economicinjustice. Correspondingly, sustained economic success cannot be expected in places where political life remainsshackled. However, only a just and strong DRC does not offer shelter to international criminals and only a just andstrong DRC can contribute to the global effort of struggling against international terrorism.1


II. HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONThe protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United Nationsand the United States as well. The USA understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deteraggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies and prevent humanitariancrises.Yet the Human Rights Situation in DRC continues to be dire. Systematic sexual abuse and exploitation, oftenused as a weapon of war, is amongst the most unspeaking transgressions of human rights. As long as such generalvalues continue to be violated on a daily basis and to not be shared by a considerable portion of the population, progresstowards democracy stays improbable, if not impossible. Therefore we deem it outright essential that the democratisationprocess went along, not only with the sustained and reinforced attempt to prevent human rights violations,but also with an educational effort to promote the fundamental human rights that first and foremost constitutethe precondition for the performance of any democracy.III. SEXUAL ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION BY MONUC PERSONNELWe judge the ongoing situation of sexual abuse and exploitation by MONUC personnel to be another centralchallenge for the peacekeeping operations in DRC and possibly elsewhere. It is reprehensible that anyone connectedwith a UN peacekeeping mission – the very people the world entrusts to protect civilians from harm – should preyon women and children seeking their help. The few who commit these offences unjustly impugn the reputation ofthe tens of thousands of peacekeepers who carry out their duties honourably under dangerous and difficult conditions.The resolution 1592 of 30 March 2005 has brought about some purposeful instruments to prevent, investigateand punish sexual misconduct of UN peacekeepers. The United States also strongly supports the zero-tolerancepolicy as formulated by the Secretary General in his 17 th report on the United Nations Organisation Mission in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo dating from 15 March 2005. The establishment of a sexual exploitation andabuse focal-point network, the joint revision of the MONUC code of conduct, the strict non-fraternisation policy, theimplementation of a curfew for the military contingent and the formation of the new office for addressing sexualexploitation and abuse in MONUC, as depicted by the Secretary General in his report, are all good approaches to asolution of the problem. Yet we think that these measures might not be sufficient to reliably prevent such intolerableincidents in the future.We believe the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) should make special UN specific trainingmandatory for all UN peacekeepers. Furthermore we expect the UN to provide a full accounting of its disciplinaryactions against civilian perpetrators of abuse and of measures troop contributing countries have taken against membersof their military forces. The results of these actions should be reported for transparency purposes. These aresome key steps and ad hoc responses, but we think the UN must also create a culture that rejects and penalises exploitationand abuse at every level of peacekeeping, from senior civilian and military leadership down to the individualpeacekeepers. And it must expect the same from troop-contributing countries.CONCLUSIONThe United States proposes that the Security Council should aim at assessing in how far an increase of MONUCtroop strength and personnel would be necessary for guaranteeing the orderly carrying out of the approaching elections.Before such elections can take place, the Congolese people ought to be introduced into the proceedings ofdemocratic elections and into the basic set of Human Rights the respect for which is essential for democratic conduct.We put forward to make the prevention of sexual abuses by MONUC personnel one of the top priorities of theSession and of UN peacekeeping operations in general. UN peacekeeping operations can only be successful if thepopulation can trust and have confidence in UN personnel. Therefore UN personnel must care at all times about itsreputation of representing peace and justice. Even the slightest failing to do so has disastrous consequences. Thus itis our estimation that enhanced monitoring and training and transparent accounting of penalising and discipliningmeasures are only the first step to discontinue the sexual misconduct by MONUC personnel and to restore the reputationof the Blue Helmets across the world.2

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