The United States welcomes the decision today by the UN Security Council's Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee to impose targeted sanctions on two armed groups operating in the DRC: the March 23 Movement (the M23) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (the FDLR). We believe these designations will directly help advance the goal of a sustainable peace in eastern DRC. We urge the rank and file of both the M23 and the FDLR to defect and demobilize in order to disassociate themselves from the sanctioned groups.
The international community remains deeply concerned about the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC due to ongoing military activities of the M23. In addition to targeting the M23, the Security Council has also listed two of the M23’s leaders: Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero, the group’s civilian leader, and Eric Badege, an M23 commander allegedly responsible for targeting women or children in armed conflict. These individuals will be subject to a freeze on assets and a ban on international travel.
For years, the FDLR has committed atrocities against civilians and remains a threat to the stability of North and South Kivu; today’s action against the FDLR is a critical step toward ending impunity and advancing peace.
As President Obama has noted, a lasting peace will require a transparent and credible political agreement among key regional governments that ends impunity for those who have committed serious human rights abuses and addresses the underlying regional security, economic, and governance issues, while upholding the DRC’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States and our partners in the international community will continue to use every tool at our disposal to maintain the pressure on those responsible for the violence in the eastern DRC and to advance ongoing efforts toward a political settlement to the crisis, including additional action by the Security Council, if necessary, against those who persist in providing external support to M23 or act in violation of the sanctions regime and arms embargo.
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