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UN Imposes Sanctions on Congo's Notorious Rebel Groups

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Today, the UN Security Council's Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee has imposed 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).

Reports say UN Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on M23 rebels and the FDLR as violence continues to escalate in the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern region.

The council committee also imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on key M23 figures.

goma
Members of the rebel group known as M23 withdraw, on board a truck, from the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Photo: UN Photo
The disclosure of sanctions against the notorious rebel groups came hours before Rwanda was set to join the council as a non-permanent member on Tuesday.

In her remarks in New York, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice says the The United States welcomes the decision 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.

"We believe these designations will directly help advance the goal of a sustainable peace in eastern DRC." - Ms. Rice

The US urges the rank and file of both the M23 and the FDLR to defect and demobilize in order to disassociate themselves from the sanctioned groups.

She says 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, Ms. Rice reports that 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." - Ms. Rice

Ms. Rice reports that 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." - Ms. Rice

According to Ms. Rice, the United States and its partners in the international community will continue to use every tool at its disposal to maintain the pressure on those responsible for the violence in the eastern DRC.

In November 2012, condemning the renewed military campaign by the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo, the United States of America has expressed concern on the rapid deterioration of the security situation in the region as the rebel group siezed cities and vowed to topple the current administration.

The US government asserted that the renewed military campaign by the M23 rebel group is in violation of international law.

The US called upon all states to use their influence on the M23 to bring about an immediate end to the hostilities.

The US believes it is critical that any resolution to the crisis include holding the M23 leadership accountable for their human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

The US supports the Council's call for additional sanctions against the M23 leadership and its demand that any and all outside support and supplying of equipment to the M23 cease immediately.

Reports say tens of thousands of civilians have already fled - including many who were previously displaced - and the humanitarian and security situation has deteriorated dramatically since fighting between M23 and the Congolese army (FARDC) resumed on 15 November.

The rebel group has captured city of Goma in November 2012.

In addition, nearly 3,000 Congolese army soldiers and police defected to the rebels in Goma.

Since the M23 was created in April 2012, Amnesty International has documented numerous human rights abuses attributed to its fighters - including unlawful killings, forced recruitment of children and young adults, and rape.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda is a Rwandan Hutu group that opposes President Paul
Kagame's Tutsi-led government in Kigali and includes Hutu militiamen suspected of participating in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

FDLR has terrorized eastern Congo for years by launching brutal attacks on civilians.

FDLR forces fought against DRC Government forces, Rwandan Government forces and UN peacekeepers in North Kivu and South Kivu throughout 2009. The FDLR is among several armed groups active in eastern DRC.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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