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Source: United Nations (Video News)

Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Huang Xia said, “the overall situation in the region in recent months has remained stable, with encouraging progress despite consistent challenges.”

Speaking via a video link, Special Envoy Huang briefed the Council today (13 Oct) on recent developments in the Great Lakes region, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people and socio-economic prospects of the region. He emphasized the continued efforts by countries in the Great Lakes region to improve political, security, and economic cooperation, which are driving a renewed momentum for the consolidation of peace, stability and development in the region.

He said, “on the political side, I welcome the peaceful transfer of power in Burundi following the general election in May 2020, and the possibilities for greater regional stability as illustrated by the return Burundian refugees from Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as the visit of the Foreign Affairs Minister of DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) to Bujunbura of the 5th and 4th of October.”

With regard to security and humanitarian affairs, however, Huang stated that the situation remains of concern in the east of the DRC. He said, “cross border incidences, broader incidences on the activism of the armed groups operating on the east of the DRC continue to be the cause of intolerable human suffering.”

Huang continued, “the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these crimes traumatizes the population and negatively affects the relations between these countries.”

The Special Envoy stated, “we must therefore strengthen our efforts to fight impunity, and I, for my part, I would like to continue my advocacy amongst the countries of the region to ask them to strengthen their fight against impunity, particularly through an effective implementation of the Nairobi Declaration on justice and good governance.”

Giving the worrying economic impact of COVID-19, Huang said, “it will also be essential to intensify efforts for dynamic economic cooperation around the cross border projects, and the shared management of natural resources, using a holistic approach that include all actors basing ourselves on strengthened regional mechanisms, particularly those at the ICGLR (International Conference of the Great Lakes Region).”