Statement by the Nordic-Baltic countries in the Enhanced ID on report of HC on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I speak on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Thank you, High Commissioner, for your report and to the Team of International Experts for their final report.
The increase in armed violence in eastern DRC and related human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, including attacks against civilians and conflict related sexual violence, are of serious concern. The deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, caused primarily by the armed group M23, as well as other armed groups, severely impacts the rights of the Congolese population. The violence also jeopardises the safe conduct of the coming general elections, and elections may not be held in three territories due to insecurity. We also note that the state of siege in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri remains.
Accountability and the rule of law must be ensured. We are closely following the developments in the appeal trial of the murders of UN experts Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in Kasaï Central in 2017. We are also following the continuation of the investigation into the disappearance of their four Congolese companions. The legal process remains vital and has our full support. We encourage the continued cooperation between the Congolese authorities and the UN-mandated follow-up mechanism for the DRC.
High Commissioner, we would appreciate if you could elaborate on the impact that the ongoing violence may have on the safe conduct of the coming elections?