U.S. pledges support to end violence in African Great Lakes region

The world has an obligation to end the devastating violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the broader Great Lakes region, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

Kerry made the remarks on Thursday in New York at a U.N. Security Council ministerial on the Great Lakes region. Kerry said the region is being subjected to human rights abuses including killing, raping, the forcing of children into combat and general devastation and fear. He said the U.S. and the world at large must establish a lasting peace and climate of development to create a new generation of stability and hope in the region.

Kerry said that by creating a framework and working together, the world can prove that governments can work together to make a difference.

"We can actually prove to the world that all of us working together, and I might add, prove it at a time where many people are doubting the capacity of institutions to function and where they doubt the capacity of political leadership to solve problems," Kerry said. "Well, we have the ability to prove to the world that together, we actually can make a difference. The seeds of this promise have already been planted, but our job doesn't end with the creation of the framework. It continues in the cultivation of the seeds in making sure that we implement the framework, that we create a vigilant, accountable, and cooperative effort in order to see those seeds grow into a full-blown peace that is sustainable."

Kerry said the U.S. welcomes the U.N.'s Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework as a first step in a process that must include follow-through. One step in the process involves the end of support for armed rebel groups and holding human rights violators accountable.

Kerry closed by saying the only way to honor the lives lost in the Great Lakes region is by establishing peace.

"Every one of us here understands the complex history of suffering in the Great Lakes region," Kerry said. "But we all have a responsibility, a universally endowed responsibility, to ensure that a history of violence is not going to be followed by a future of vengeance. The only way to properly honor the millions of lives that have been lost is through peace, and the only way to achieve that piece is for the United Nations and all of the countries in the region and all of the countries with the capacity to step up and help to show the way forward."