15 March 2004
Security Council Takes Steps to Strengthen Eight-Month Old Arms Embargo on Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1533 (2004)
NEW YORK, XX March (UN Headquarters) -- Reiterating its concern at the abiding insecurity and the flow of illegal weapons throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo - driven chiefly by armed groups and militia in North and South Kivu and in Ituri -- the Security Council today established a Committee to monitor progress in implementing an eight-month old arms embargo against all foreign and Congolese armed groups operating in the east of the country. The Council also authorized the United Nations Mission there to seize or collect, and to dispose of arms or related material found in violation of the ban.
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1533 (2004), which condemned the continuing illicit flow of weapons into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and declared the 15-nation bodys determination to closely monitor compliance with the arms embargo imposed by its resolution 1493 (2003). That text demanded that States, particularly those in the region, ensure that no direct military or financial assistance was given to the movements and armed groups present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Committee established by todays action would report to the Council regularly on its work, with its observations and recommendations, in particular, ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures aiming to prevent the direct, indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel and the provision of training or military assistance to all foreign and Congolese armed groups in the east of the country. States were requested to report to the Committee within 60 days on their actions taken in this regard.
Further by the text, the Secretary-General was requested, in consultation with the Committee, to create, within 30 days, and for a period expiring on 28 July 2004, a group of experts consisting of no more than four members, to examine and analyse relevant information gathered by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in its efforts to monitor the arms embargo. For its part, MONUC was requested to continue to use all means to monitor the movements and presence of armed groups, and to continue its inspections, without notice, of aircraft cargo or of any transport vehicle using ports, airfields and military bases and border crossings in North and South Kivu and in Ituri.
The text also underscored the right of the Congolese people to control over their natural resources and stressed the need for all States to work to bring an end to the illegal exploitation of such resources, as well as trafficking in the regions raw materials.
Following the adoption of the text, Stuart Holliday (United States) said the move represented a critical step forward and that it created a Sanctions Committee that could and should play a key role in bringing coordinated, unified Council and international pressure against those who continued to ship arms into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in direct violation of existing multilateral restrictions.
He said the Council had an obligation and a responsibility to take all necessary steps to ensure that its decisions were respected and upheld by all parties, whether the situation involved the Congo, or other areas of conflict in the world. When instances of non-compliance with Council directives were brought to that bodys attention, it must respond promptly, in a unified action. While, todays resolution provided the Council with helpful tools, he added that the value of information and recommendations brought to its attention -- by experts and others -- would be lost if it failed to act in response to such findings.
Sohail Mahmood of Pakistan said that, in the context of illegal exploitation of Congolese resources, his delegation had always stressed the need to eliminate the root causes of such practices, as well as the financial implications of trafficking in raw materials. Pakistan would have wished that the resolution just adopted had better reflected that view. But, in the spirit of consensus, Pakistan had voted in favour and would continue to support the Councils efforts in this regard.
The meeting began at 10:25 a.m. and ended at 10:29 a.m.
Following is the full text of resolution 1533 (2004):
The Security Council,
Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements by its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Reiterating its concern regarding the presence of armed groups and militias in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in North and South Kivu and in Ituri, which perpetuate a climate of insecurity in the whole region,
Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and declaring its determination to closely monitor compliance with the arms embargo imposed by its resolution 1493 of 28 July 2003,
Underscoring the right of the Congolese people to control their own natural resources, recalling in this regard the statement made by its President on 19 November 2003 (S/PRST/2003/21), which emphasizes the connection, in the context of the continuing conflict, between the illegal exploitation of natural resources and trafficking in raw materials and arms, as highlighted in the final report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo (S/2003/1027), and stressing for this purpose, the need for all Member States to work to achieve an end to the illegal exploitation of natural resources,
Encouraging all States signatories to the Nairobi Declaration of 15 March 2000 on the Problem of the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa to implement quickly the measures required by the Coordinated Agenda for Action as an important means of support of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493,
Taking note of the Secretary-Generals fourteenth report on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), dated 17 November 2003 (S/2003/1098), 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. Reaffirms the demand, laid down in paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, that all States take the necessary measures to prevent the supply of arms and any related materiel or assistance to armed groups operating in North and South Kivu and in Ituri, and to groups not party to the Global and All-Inclusive agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002);
2. Welcomes the recommendations contained in paragraph 72 of the fourteenth report of the Secretary-General on MONUC;
3. Requests MONUC to continue to use all means, within its capabilities, to carry out the tasks outlined in paragraph 19 of resolution 1493, and in particular to inspect, without notice as it deems it necessary, the cargo of aircraft and of any transport vehicle using the ports, airports, airfields, military bases and border crossings in North and South Kivu and in Ituri;
4. Authorizes MONUC to seize or collect, as appropriate, the arms and any related materiel whose presence in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo violates the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, and to dispose of such arms and related materiel as appropriate;
5. Reiterates its demand that all parties provide immediate, unconditional and unhindered access to MONUC personnel, in accordance with paragraphs 15 and 19 of resolution 1493, to enable them to carry out the tasks outlined in paragraphs 3 and 4 above;
6. Reiterates its condemnation of the continuing illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the eastern part of the country, which contributes to the perpetuation of the conflict, and reaffirms the importance of bringing an end to these illegal activities, including by applying the necessary pressure on the armed groups, traffickers and all other actors involved;
7. Urges all States, and especially those in the region, to take the appropriate steps to end these illegal activities, including through judicial means where possible, and, if necessary, to report to the Council;
8. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all members of the Council (the Committee), to undertake the following tasks:
(a) To seek from all States, and particularly those in the region, information regarding the actions taken by them to implement effectively the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493 and to comply with paragraphs 18 and 24 of the same resolution, and thereafter to request from them whatever further information it may consider useful; including by providing States with an opportunity, at the Committees request, to send representatives to meet with the Committee for more in-depth discussion of relevant issues;
(b) To examine, and to take appropriate action on, information concerning alleged violations of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493 and information on alleged arms flows highlighted in the reports of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, identifying where possible individual and legal entities reported to be engaged in such violations, as well as aircraft or other vehicles used;
(c) To present regular reports to the Council on its work, with its observations and recommendations, in particular on the ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493;
(d) To consider the lists referred to hereafter in paragraph 10 (g) with a view to submitting recommendations to the Council for possible future measures to be taken in this regard;
(e) To receive notifications in advance from States made under paragraph 21 of resolution 1493 and to decide, if need be, upon any action to be taken;
9. Requests all States, in particular those in the region, to report to the Committee, within sixty days from the date of adoption of this resolution, on the actions they have taken to implement the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, and authorizes the Committee thereafter to request from Member States whatever further information it may consider necessary;
10. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Committee, to create, within thirty days from the date of adoption of this resolution, and for a period expiring on 28 July 2004, a group of experts consisting of no more than four members (the Group of experts), having the necessary skills to perform the following mandate:
(a) To examine and analyse information gathered by MONUC in the context of its monitoring mandate;
(b) To gather and analyse all relevant information in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, countries of the region and, as necessary, in other countries, in cooperation with the governments of those countries, flows of arms and related materiel, as well as networks operating in violation of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493;
(c) To consider and recommend, where appropriate, ways of improving the capabilities of States interested, in particular those of the region, to ensure the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493 are effectively implemented;
(d) To report to the Council in writing before 15 July 2004, through the Committee, on the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, with recommendations in this regard;
(e) To keep the Committee frequently updated on its activities;
(f) To exchange with MONUC, as appropriate, information that might be of use in the fulfilment of its monitoring mandate as described in paragraph 3 and 4 above;
(g) To provide the Committee in its reports with a list, with supporting evidence, of those found to have violated the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, and those found to have supported them in such activities for possible future measures by the Council;
11. Requests the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to communicate as appropriate to the Security Council, through the Committee, information gathered by MONUC and, when possible, reviewed by the Group of experts, concerning supply in arms and related materiel to armed groups and militias, and any possible presence of foreign military in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
12. Urges all States, relevant United Nations bodies and, as appropriate, other organizations and interested parties, to cooperate fully with the Committee and with the Group of experts and MONUC, in particular by supplying any information at their disposal on possible violations of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493;
13. Calls upon the international community, in particular the specialized international organizations concerned, to provide financial and technical assistance to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a view to helping it exercise effective control over its borders and its airspace;
14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
The Secretary-Generals fourteenth report on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2003/1098), covers developments since 27 May 2003.
According to the report, political and peace-building progress has been made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but "establishing respect for human rights remains a major challenge", as massacres and rapes continue. It also notes that, despite historic advances in the formation of the Transitional Government, fighting continued in Ituri and the eastern part of the country.
The MONUC has created an Electoral Assistance Unit to coordinate international support for elections to be held within the mandated two years after the Transitional Government was formed earlier this year, the Secretary-General says in the report.
The Unit has helped the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Independent Electoral Commission develop an electoral road map, but the absence of infrastructure in some places and the lack of definition of such electoral processes as establishing nationality and registering voters raise challenges to organizing the elections, it says.
Two major political parties, the Union pour la démocratie et le progress social and the Parti Lumumbiste unifie, disagreed with other parties on how representatives should be named to the Transitional Government and declined to join the Government, the report notes. Massive violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, meanwhile, "including massacres, summary executions, forced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests, rape and other forms of sexual violence and torture, have continued unabated despite political progress at the national level", the report says.
As a result, MONUC's human rights section, through its Kinshasa office and its 12 field offices, has been changing its emphasis from general fact-finding to systematized data gathering and analysis, it says.
Despite the international arms embargo against the Kivu and Ituri provinces in the eastern region, mortar rounds have recently been seized, one lot from an airplane and another in a mountain village, it says.
Because of years of fierce fighting, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the second largest internally displaced population in the world at 3.4 million people, an increase of 22 per cent over last December, the report says. The Democratic Republic of the Congo Government has no national programme for integrating fighters from rebel militias, including child soldiers, into civilian life.
The MONUC has made ad hoc responses, therefore, to requests from increasing numbers of fighters from the eastern region's Mayi-Mayi militias to be disarmed and integrated into the peace process. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is also helping MONUC to finalize an interim plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of children, it says.
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