Ban makes statement on Democratic Republic of Congo

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement on Wednesday regarding the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson delivered Ban's message at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. The message expressed concern over the large-scale cyclical violence that is ravaging the Congo.

"I remain seriously concerned by the continuing reports of killings, forced recruitment and illegal detention of civilians, including children, by the 23 March Movement and other armed groups," Ban said. "These activities constitute serious human rights violations and must stop immediately. I call on all armed groups to fully disarm, and on all parties to fully respect human rights and international humanitarian law."

Ban also addressed the issue of civilians and their situation in the Congo. Numerous civilians have been hurt in the violence, which goes against U.N. mandate, and Ban spoke out against this violence. He called for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to show restraint and for M23 to stop attacks.

"A credible political process is the only way to end the crisis and address the root causes of the recurring violence," Ban said. "I reiterate my call for all the signatories to the Framework to jointly and individually respect their commitments, including neither tolerating nor providing assistance or support to armed groups. I also call on the international community to assist the signatories to work constructively to uphold their commitments and to contribute to peacebuilding programmes that can lead to stability and development for all the people of the Great Lakes region."