7 September 2005
Security Council Authorizes Increased Strength for UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1621 (2005)
Temporary Increase in Personnel Needed to Support Electoral Process, Secretary-General Says in Report to Council
NEW YORK, 6 September (UN Headquarters) -- Underlining the importance of forthcoming elections as the foundation for long-term restoration of peace, national reconciliation and establishment of the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council today authorized a temporary increase in the strength of the United Nations Organization Mission in that country (MONUC) for the period of the elections and their immediate aftermath.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1621 (2005) this morning, the Council authorized an increase of 841 personnel in the strength of the Mission, including additional police personnel, and up to five formed police units of 125 officers each. Underlining the temporary character of such deployment, it requested the Secretary-General to start downsizing or repatriating the additional personnel from 1 July 2006 at the latest.
The Council acted on the recommendations of the Secretary-General, contained in his special report on the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document S/2005/320). Presenting his proposal to strengthen the police component of the Mission to undertake training and institution-building activities at the central and ground levels, the Secretary-General insisted that "additional support from MONUC at this juncture would not only help to ensure stability and political openness during the electoral process, but support long-term capacity-building for the national police".
By the terms of today's resolution, MONUC was encouraged, within its capacity and in accordance with its mandate, "to provide advice and assistance, as well as the necessary support, to the setting up by the Transitional Government, international financial institutions and donors, of an arrangement to strengthen support for good governance and transparent economic management".
By other terms of the text, the Council authorized the Mission to provide additional support to the Independent Electoral Commission for the transport of electoral materials. In that connection, it approved the Secretary-General's recommendations, contained in paragraphs 58 and 59 of the report, related to the need to increase MONUC's air-mobility assets, to deploy some 400 United Nations Volunteers and national personnel at various locations, and provide additional logistic infrastructure and ground transportation resources in areas without permanent MONUC presence.
The meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1621 (2005) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements by its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1565 of 1 October 2004 and 1592 of 30 March 2005 and the statement of 29 June 2005 (S/PRST/2005/27),
"Reaffirming its commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as of all States in the region, and its support for the process of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002,
"Underlining the importance of elections as the foundation for the longer term restoration of peace and stability, national reconciliation and establishment of the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
"Calling on the Transitional institutions and on all Congolese parties to ensure that free, fair and peaceful elections take place, and that the timetable for polls developed by the Independent Electoral Commission is scrupulously respected,
"Paying tribute to the donor community for the assistance they provide to the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and encouraging them to maintain it,
"Welcoming the interest and commitment shown by the Congolese authorities to promote good governance and transparent economic management, and encouraging them to continue their efforts in this regard,
"Reiterating its serious concern regarding the continuation of hostilities by armed groups and militias in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law that accompany them, and at the threat they pose to the holding of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
"Taking note of the special report of the Secretary-General on elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dated 26 May 2005 (S/2005/320), and of its recommendations,
"Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Approves the recommendations and the concept of operations described in paragraphs 50 to 57 of the special report of the Secretary-General, and authorizes an increase in the strength of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) of 841 personnel, including up to five formed police units of 125 officers each and the additional police personnel;
"2. Underlines the temporary character of the deployments referred to in the previous paragraph, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps with a view to downsizing or repatriating these additional personnel from 1 July 2006 at the latest, and to report to the Council before 1 June 2006 on the assessment mentioned in paragraph 47 of his special report;
"3. Approves the Secretary-General's recommendation in paragraphs 58 and 59 of his special report, and authorizes MONUC, in accordance with this recommendation and with its mandate as defined in paragraphs 5 (f) and 7 (c) of resolution 1565, and acting in close coordination with the United Nations Development Programme, to provide additional support to the Independent Electoral Commission for the transport of electoral materials;
"4. Encourages MONUC, within its capacity and in accordance with its mandate, to provide advice and assistance, as well as the necessary support, to the setting up by the Transitional Government, international financial institutions and donors, of an arrangement to strengthen support for good governance and transparent economic management;
"5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a special report of the Secretary-General on elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (documents S/2005/320 and Add.1) based on the findings of a United Nations mission to assess electoral preparations, which had visited the country in April. The report presents the plans of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for assisting the Congolese people to achieve a viable and open electoral process.
The Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed by the parties on 17 December 2002, outlined a transitional process culminating in national elections to be held two years after the June 2003 inauguration of the Transitional Government, with the stipulation that the transition could be extended for two six-month periods if technical preparations for elections were delayed. The report adds that it will be essential that the elections are sufficiently credible in the eyes of the Congolese electorate.
The Independent Electoral Commission, established in June 2004, has put technical preparations for elections in place, but has formally requested the national Assembly on 28 April to extend the transition, the report notes. It is expected that the registration of some 28 million voters would begin in June. In June 2004, donors approved an estimated budget of some $284 million, of which $181 million has been pledged, but only $88 million made available. While the electoral budget covers the cost of transportation of material to the country and of further surface transportation from the 145 territoires and 21 cities to the registration and polling stations, it does not include transportation of electoral material from Kinshasa to the territoires and major cities. The Commission has, therefore, asked MONUC to take on that responsibility.
The report notes a number of potential threats to the security of the electoral process with the continued existence, in a climate of general insecurity and lawlessness, of armed groups, particularly in Ituri, North and South Kivu, central and northern Katanga and Maniema. In combination with national integrated military units, MONUC military in Ituri and the Kivus will assist in maintaining a security presence throughout the electoral process. However, in northern and central Katanga, the national armed forces have yet to show the capacity to address security issues related to the presence of Mayi-Mayi groups. Another security threat relates to tensions between political parties in large population centres. A related issue of concern is how prevailing tensions between ethnic groups could affect the dynamics of local politics in some areas. The expected return of some 48,000 Banyamulenge refugees from Rwanda and Burundi could pose considerable security risks during the registration and polling.
Noting that it is primarily the responsibility of the Transitional Government to create the conditions necessary of the success of the electoral process, the Secretary-General urges the transitional leaders "to think not of what the electoral process can bring to them personally and to their immediate supporters, but of what it can mean for the Congolese people and for the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a nation". The Secretary-General's recommendations through which the international community can assist the Government include the signing of a code of conduct and the establishment of a Group of Friends on Good Governance. The Secretary-General strongly urges the members of the Transitional Government to enter into those commitments.
The Secretary-General further recommends that the military strength of MONUC be increased by 2,590 to a total strength of 19,290. The additional personnel would only be deployed temporarily for the period of the elections and their immediate aftermath to ensure stability in highly volatile areas. He also recommends strengthening the civilian police component by an additional 261 civilian police and five formed police units to undertake training and institution-building activities.
As for the logistical support requested of MONUC by the Independent Electoral Commission for the transport of electoral material from Kinshasa to the 145 territoires and 21 cities, the Secretary-General recommends giving MONUC a mandate to do so, for which increased air-mobility assets will be required, including three IL-76 aircraft, six C-130 aircraft, 11 medium-utility helicopters and 2 MI-26 helicopters. The additional aircraft would also serve to supplement the support required for the deployment of the Katanga brigade. As most of the sites are in areas without a current permanent MONUC presence, additional logistic infrastructure and ground transportation resources will be required.
Addendum 1 to the report gives cost estimates for the support for elections for the 12-months period, totalling some $189 million.
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