UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) --
The special representative and head of the UN
Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo (MONUSCO), Leila Zerrougui, on Monday called for
dialogue ahead of the December elections in the country.
members of the Security Council that “tangible progress has been
made” on the ongoing electoral process. Despite this progress,
she said, the coming period before the elections on Dec. 23
“will be marked by disputes and intense political
She encouraged all
parties to continue to engage in dialogue.
Zerrougui said that
the perceived credibility of the electoral process “remains a
key concern” and that this could heighten tensions in the
She added that “more
meaningful inclusion of women” in the electoral process is a
priority, and there should be “no intimidation of political
activists and human rights defenders.”
Zerrougui called for
the lifting of the general ban on public demonstrations and
upholding the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which
are crucial to making meaningful progress as the holding of
elections draws nearer.
A number of Security
Council members said that the UN is willing to offer logistical
aid for the coming elections in the DRC, which has rejected all
offers of help.
Anne Gueguen, deputy
permanent representative of France to the UN, describing the
upcoming elections as a “watershed” and a chance for the DRC to
recommit to the path of peace, said it also represents a
responsibility on the part of all stakeholders.
The elections must
take place “in a climate of trust,” she said, calling for the
inclusion of women and the release of political prisoners, in
accordance with the Saint-Sylvestre agreement.
Kinshasa’s decision to take charge of financing and logistics
for the elections, she nevertheless stressed that MONUSCO stands
ready to “offer further technical support” and has the means to
The DRC’s ambassador
to the UN, Ignace Gata Mavita, defended the Independent National
Electoral Commission (CENI), his country’s electoral committee.
achieved so far by CENI should allow us to trust in the
institution and allow it to carry out its mission without
interference in its work based on considerations which owe more
to speculation than reality,” he said.
Cheng Lie, a member
of the Chinese delegation to the UN, urged the Security Council
to support efforts by the African Union and the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region, as well as regional
countries, to play a leading role in mediation, and in helping
to enhance engagement among political parties.
The focus should be
on the government’s ownership of the political process, he said,
emphasizing the need to implement the Saint-Sylvestre agreement,
and to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial
integrity of the DRC.
within its mandate, strengthen consultations with Kinshasa, he
added, emphasizing that his delegation supports African
countries in seeking African solutions.
participated in peacekeeping operations within, and provided
humanitarian assistance to the DRC, he noted.
The UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that
the humanitarian situation “remains worrying” in Uvira
territory, South Kivu, one of the 26 provinces of the DRC, where
more than 14,000 people have been displaced following an attack
by a coalition of the Mai Mai militia on Aug. 18. Many people
who were displaced were forced to flee again.
In addition, earlier
this month, some 3,900 people were reportedly displaced in
northern Shabunda and some 3,200 people in the southeast of the
province of Maniema, due to clashes between armed groups and the
Since June, the UN
and its partners have been assisting more than 600,000 people in
need, including internally displaced people and refugees.
According to an
agreement reached between President Joseph Kabila and the
opposition on Dec. 31, 2016, elections were to be held by the
end of 2017, and Kabila was not to run for a third term or
initiate amendments to the constitution.
difficulties that prevented the elections from being held on
Nov. 5, 2017, CENI published a new electoral calendar for
combined presidential, legislative and provincial elections to
take place on Dec. 23, 2018.
Following the end of
the voter registration period, between July 25 and Aug. 8,
Kabila’s party, the Peoples’ Party for Reconciliation and
Democracy, announced that its candidate for president will be
former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, thus putting
an end to speculation as to Kabila’s intentions.
DR Congo Ebola outbreak at key
juncture, control measures working: WHO
GENEVA (Xinhua) --
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is at a key juncture,
and while the control measures are working, the outbreak trend
must be interpreted with caution, the World Health Organization
said on Friday.
The latest WHO
figures showed that as of Wednesday, a total of 116 EVD cases,
including 86 confirmed and 30 probable, have been reported in
five health zones in the DRC’s North Kivu province and one
health zone in Ituri province, while the death toll has reached
77, including 47 confirmed and 30 probable. The median age of
confirmed and probable cases is 35 years and 56 percent were
Fifteen cases have
been reported among health workers, of which 14 were confirmed
and one has died. The WHO and partners are working with health
workers and communities to increase awareness on infection
prevention and control measures, as well as vaccinate those at
risk of infection.
According to the
WHO, currently Ebola control measures are working. Over the past
week, contact follow-up rates have substantially improved, most
patients recently admitted to Ebola treatment centers received
therapeutics within hours of being confirmed, and ring
vaccination activities have scaled to reach contacts of most
confirmed cases reported in the last three weeks.
The outbreak trend,
however, must be interpreted with caution, the WHO warned.
During the past
week, 13 additional confirmed and probable cases have been
reported, the majority from the city of Beni, while substantial
risks remain due to potential undocumented chains of
transmission, for instance, four of the 13 new cases were not
The WHO underlined a
number of potential channels to further propagate the outbreak,
such as high-risk behaviors in some communities including unsafe
burials and reluctance towards contact tracing and vaccination;
poor infection prevention and control practices in some
community health centers; and delays in patients reaching Ebola
treatment centers when symptoms develop.
In addition to the
ongoing response actions, the WHO announced to launch, together
with DR Congo Ministry of Health and partners, a 30-day
strategic plan to strengthen readiness against EVD in all DR
The first phase of
the plan will prioritize six provinces at highest risk of case
importations, including South Kivu, Maniema, Ituri, Tanganika,
Haut Uele and Bas Uele, to ensure that these provinces implement
essential operational readiness measures, including enhancing
surveillance, infection prevention and control, and social
mobilization to mitigate.
Given the current
conditions, the WHO remains that the public health risk was
assessed to be high at the national and regional levels, and low
globally, and advises against any restriction of travel and
trade to the DR Congo.