UN envoy voices concern over situation in DRC

2018-03-08 03:13:46 GMT2018-03-08 11:13:46(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- A UN envoy has expressedconcern over the political, security and humanitarian situation inthe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite progress in theelectoral process.

Briefing the Security Council, Leila Zerrougui, the UNSecretary-General's Special Representative for the DRC, reportedthat "notable progress" had been made in the past weeks in thepreparations for presidential and legislative elections, includingthe completion of voter registration.

More than 46 million potential voters, 47 percent of them women,have been registered for Dec. 23 elections, she told thecouncil.

However, she warned that major challenges remain in the country.It is important to establish confidence of parties in the Dec. 31,2016 political agreement with regard to the political process andto the electoral process, she said.

The political agreement allowed President Joseph Kabila, who hasbeen in power since 2001, to stay on after his term of officeexpired, on the condition that elections would be held within 2017.But elections were delayed on the grounds of logistic difficulties.On Nov. 5, 2017, the country's electoral commission published anelectoral calendar for the combined presidential, legislative andprovincial elections for Dec. 23, 2018.

"A failure to generate confidence in the full and faithfulimplementation of the Dec. 31 agreement will only serve to heightenpolitical tensions, and to fuel the risks of inciting violence forpolitical ends, particularly within the context of renewed andincreased armed group activities," she warned.

She also voiced concern over the disproportionate use of forceby the security forces against peaceful demonstrators, and over thecountry's security and humanitarian situation.

The security situation has continued to deteriorate, bringingincreased risks for renewed instability in many parts of thecountry and posing serious threats to the civilian population, shesaid.

More than 7.7 million people face severe food insecuritythroughout the country and more than two million children areseverely malnourished, she said.