ASG Bragg concludes her visit to DRC

4 June, 2011
Catherine Bragg is being briefed in Women for Women's training center, Uvira (South Kivu). Credit: OCHA/Charline Burton
Catherine Bragg is being briefed in Women for Women's training center, Uvira (South Kivu). Credit: OCHA/Charline Burton

DRC: Life-saving assistance must be complemented with development, stabilization and security

ASG Catherine Bragg today concluded her five-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She met with Congolese people affected by violence and poverty, DRC Government officials, and humanitarian workers. 

Travelling to two of the provinces worst affected by conflict, Ms. Bragg visited displaced families at Linakofo camp in Dungu, who have no prospect of going home soon, and heard how the senseless violence of armed groups, notably the Lord’s Resistance Army, daily affects hundreds of thousands of people, including children. She also visited the ‘Women for Women’ centre in Bukavu, South Kivu, where socially–excluded women, including those who have survived sexual violence, are provided with training and skills.

“Let me say again: the use of sexual violence by armed groups to terrorize civilians is unacceptable, and those who commit such crimes, as well as other gross human right violations, must know that sooner or later they will be brought to justice,” stressed ASG Bragg. “The Government of DRC is ultimately responsible for the protection of its people. The Government must act to prevent abuses by the military and security forces, as well as prioritizing reforms of the security and strengthening of the justice systems. I encourage the Government to resolutely embark on these reforms and extend state administration to the most remote areas.”

While the situation in South Kivu seems to be gradually evolving, with some 600,000 people having returned home in the last year, a further 600,000 have been forced to leave their homes due to attacks and insecurity. Peacekeepers, aid workers and local authority officials told Ms. Bragg that that these displacements are occurring in the more remote areas where access is difficult because of insecurity, but also because there are no roads. Ms. Bragg also heard from humanitarian workers and peacekeepers about the challenges and dangers of attacks they face daily in delivering humanitarian aid.

“In all my meetings, I heard that the response to this humanitarian crisis is providing life-saving assistance but that this needs to be complemented with development, stabilization and security,” underscored Ms. Bragg at a press conference in Kinshasa on 4 June. “Throughout my meetings with aid workers, they stressed the need for Member States to empower MONUSCO to be present in far more locations throughout the areas where armed groups operate.”

Meeting donors in Kinshasa ASG Bragg called on the international community to continue supporting crucial humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering, while also complementing Government efforts to reduce poverty, reform the justice system, generate economic opportunities, and provide basic and social services. “We need to scale up aid, especially to the more remote areas. A collective action, led by the Government but involving the donor community, humanitarian organizations, and the peacekeeping mission, is needed if we want to provide a life of dignity, which is free from violence and fear.”

More>> ASG's statement [English - French]  -  RDC humanitaire (DRC Portal)