United States Urges Ceasefire and Accountability in Eastern DRC Amid Ongoing Violence, According to UN Experts’ Report

The scene of a suicide bombing at the Eglise CEPAC (CEPAC Church) that killed dozen of people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State, in Kasindi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 16, 2023.

In a final report released on June 19, 2023 , the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has documented the persistence of violence and suffering in the eastern region of the country. The report has garnered international attention and prompted strong calls for action to address the crisis.

The United States, among other nations, has expressed its support for African-led peace efforts and has called on all armed groups involved in the conflict to immediately cease hostilities, disarm, and comply with established commitments and mediation processes. The US government also emphasized the need for accountability for those responsible for the violence and emphasized that no efforts should be spared in bringing them to justice.

The report specifically identifies several armed groups, including M23, CODECO, MAPI, and others, urging them to lay down their weapons and engage in peaceful dialogue. It also highlights the presence of foreign non-state armed groups and calls for their withdrawal to their respective countries of origin. The United States further urged the Congolese government and domestic armed groups to participate in the East African Community-led Nairobi Process consultations.

One key point raised in the report is the immediate removal of Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) troops from Congolese territory. The United States reiterated its call for Rwanda to comply with this demand and also cease its support for the M23 armed group, which has been sanctioned by both the UN and the US. The report exposes numerous violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses committed by the M23, including rapes and summary executions of civilians.

The United States also highlighted its designation of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), also known as ISIS-DRC, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2021. The US government urged its international partners to take similar action against the ADF and condemned their attacks.

While welcoming the report’s recommendations, the United States reiterated its commitment to supporting African-led diplomatic efforts to achieve lasting peace. The US government emphasized its support for the Nairobi and Luanda processes, among other initiatives, as vital instruments in promoting stability and reconciliation in the region.

As the international community rallies behind the UN Experts’ final report, it is hoped that the calls for peace, disarmament, and accountability will spur concrete actions and pave the way for a brighter future for the long-suffering people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.