‘Military approach not effective to end violence in eastern DRC’

A strictly military approach to the security challenges in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has its limitations, a United Nations (UN) envoy said on Monday.
“The challenges the government is facing in implementing the state of siege highlight the fact that there are limitations to a strictly military approach to protecting civilians and neutralising armed groups,” Bintou Keita, the UN secretary-general’s special representative to the DRC, told the Security Council. 
Under the state of siege, human rights violations and abuses have been on the rise, primarily due to the presence of a great number of armed groups and security forces in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, she said.
On May 6, the DRC government declared a state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu which have been plagued by endless violence. 
“A lasting solution to the violence in the east of the DRC requires greater political commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflicts,” she said. 
“In order for stability to be restored in the east of the Congo, the state must be successful in restoring and maintaining trust by the population, in its ability to protect, govern, deliver justice, and meet their basic needs,” she said. 
Referring to a government-initiated supplementary assessment by consulting the population and political leaders in the two provinces, Keita said these consultations are a step in the right direction.
The humanitarian situation continues to worsen in eastern DRC as a result of insecurity, epidemics, and limited access to basic services, said Keita, who is also head of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC.
The number of displaced persons in the country is about six million, the highest on the African continent, including some who have contracted the Ebola virus recently, according to the UN official.
Keita again urged international partners and donors to redouble their efforts in the humanitarian response plan for the DRC, which is only 34 per cent funded now.  
A Chinese envoy on Monday called for comprehensive measures to stabilise the security situation in the eastern regions of DRC.
The security situation in eastern DRC has deteriorated with frequent activities of armed violence and successive incidents of kidnapping and killing of civilians, said Dai Bing, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. -Xinhua

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