Displaced people need to be given opportunity to rebuild their lives, Ban says at camp in DR Congo
“We have to give hope to […] young people,” said Ban on the first stop of his two-day visit. “Particularly, we have to do much more to bring all these children back to school; we have to do much more to protect human dignity and human rights of women and girls to save them, to protect them from sexual violence.”
He said he plans to meet with President Joseph Kabila and other senior Congolese Government officials to discuss all these matters tomorrow.
Today, he spoke with women in the IDP camp in Mungote, describing the experience as “very humbling.” As Secretary-General, “I will do my best efforts, working together with the United Nations Member States,” he said.
He said his visit to IDP camps, meeting so many people, particularly young people, reminded him of when he was six years old in Republic of Korea in 1950. “When the Korean War broke out, it was a deadly horrible war. There were millions of people killed and tens of millions had been separated, displaced. I was one of them. I had to flee,” he said, adding that the United Nations had been a “beacon of hope” then and had rescued his country “from the brink of collapse.”
Now the United Nations are doing the same, despite a lack of resources, to protect the rights of 60 million IDPs and refugees around the world, the highest number since the end of the war.
To that end, he will convene the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, as well as a summit on global migration and refugee issues in September. “We need support from the Member States as the UN cannot do it alone,” he said. “No country can resolve all these issues alone.”
Responding to a question about authorities wanting to close some IDP camps in North Kivu, he said he told the Governor not to close them. The authorities seem to be lacking resources, but the UN will work together with the local and central Governments. “It is important to provide life-saving assistance to those people who need daily humanitarian assistance,” he said.
On a question on efforts to improve security in the areas of origin of IDPs, he said people should be protected from violence, particularly women and girls. But there are clearly limits for peacekeepers to do it all. That is why the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, known by the French acronym FARDC, and the national police are working very closely.
“The protection of civilians is the number one priority for UN peacekeepers,” he said.
On 24 February, Ban will be in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, for the opening session of the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference. He is also expected to meet with President Kabila, as well as several Government officials, and political and civil society representatives.
On 25 February, the Secretary-General will leave Kinshasa for Juba, South Sudan, where he is expected to meet with President Salva Kiir and visit a Protection of Civilians’ site that is run by the UN mission.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe