Press Releases

                                                                                                                     11 June 2004

    Secretary-General Stresses Need to Protect Civilians, Provide Aid Workers with Safe Access, Following Recent Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo

    NEW YORK, 10 June (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is deeply concerned that recent events in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have compounded an already serious humanitarian situation. There have been reports of human rights violations, including violence against women and children, population displacements, and massive looting. Personnel of United Nations humanitarian agencies and their non-governmental organization partners have been attacked and their equipment damaged, forcing the suspension of most aid programmes for some 3 million people in the region.

    The Secretary-General stresses to those involved in the recent fighting of their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians caught in armed conflict. He urges them to provide humanitarian workers with the safe and unhindered access they need to deliver life-sustaining aid. The Secretary-General calls on neighbouring States to facilitate access by all humanitarian actors, as well as the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the Bukavu area.

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