Stressing the need for continued support in implementing the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Security Council today unanimously decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission (UNMEE) for six months, until 15 September.In a wide-ranging resolution, the Council expressed its “satisfaction and anticipation” that a final legal settlement of the border issues between Ethiopia and Eritrea was about to be reached in accordance with the Algiers Peace Agreements. It also welcomed recent statements by both countries reaffirming that the upcoming decision by the Boundary Commission on delimitation of the border is “final and binding.”As for the countries’ working relationship with UNMEE, the Council called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to cooperate fully and expeditiously with the Mission as it carries out its mandate, to abide scrupulously by the letter and spirit of their agreements and to engage closely with Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, regarding the implementation of the decision by the Boundary Commission.The Council stressed its resolve to support the parties in the implementation of the Commission’s decision and invited the Secretary-General to submit recommendations on how UNMEE can play a role in the border demarcation process, including any need to demine the area.The Council also addressed long-standing complaints by both sides against each other, calling again on Eritrea to provide UNMEE with full freedom of movement to monitor the redeployed forces, to disclose the number, strength and disposition of its militia and police inside the demilitarized buffer zone between the two countries, and to conclude the status-of-forces agreement with the Secretary-General.As for Ethiopia, the 15-member body urged it to provide the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre with clarifications to the information already put forward, as previously promised.The resolution also called on the parties to take other measures that would build confidence and promote reconciliation between the two peoples, and encouraged them to focus on rebuilding and developing their economies and on improving their relations, “for the benefit of all the people and with the view to promoting regional peace and security.” read more

The United Nations human rights chief today called on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to take immediate steps to halt widespread human rights violations, including apparent summary executions, by the country’s armed forces. “It is time to stop a blunt military response that does nothing to tackle the root causes of the conflict between the Government and local militias but instead targets civilians on the basis of their presumed links to the militias,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a news release from his office (OHCHR). Mr. Zeid said that there are multiple, credible allegations of massive human rights violations in the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental and Lomami amid a sharp deterioration in security situation there. A local militia linked to a customary chief, Kamuina Nsapu, who was killed by the African country’s armed forces in August 2016 has been increasingly active in Kasai Central Province, mostly attacking government buildings and churches, and national security forces. The militia also reportedly recruits and uses children. According to OCHR, horrific video footage emerged over the weekend apparently showing soldiers of the Government security forces, known as FARDC, shooting repeatedly and without warning at men and women, who purportedly belonged to the militia in Muenza Nsapu village. The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC is not in a position to verify the origin and authenticity of the video. However, the DRC Government spokesperson has stated that FARDC officers are under judicial investigation. The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the country has documented the killings of more than 280 individuals since July 2016 in the context of this violence. “Amid a worrying escalation of violence in provinces considered relatively calm, I call again on the Government to redouble its efforts to tackle impunity that feeds further violence and human rights violations,” said Mr. Zeid. read more