Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations At the Briefing on the Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Sanctions)

Thank you, Mr. President.

I would first like to extend my thanks to Egypt in its capacity as Chair of the 1533 Sanctions Committee.  Japan appreciates your leadership and proactive engagement, including with regional states and organizations.

We join our colleagues in welcoming the final report of the Group of Experts, whose tireless efforts have been vital to the Committee’s work.  This informative report will play an important role in reviewing and shaping the DRC sanctions regime going forward.  

We especially appreciate the dedication of the Group of Experts despite the extremely challenging circumstances following the deaths of two of their colleagues, Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp. 
Zaida and Michael’s professional and insightful work made strong contributions to the work of the Group of Experts. Japan would like to once again pay tribute to Zaida and Michael, and to extend its deepest condolences to their families, some of whom are here today.  
We continue to believe in the importance of a prompt and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators of these killings to justice, as noted in the Council’s recent presidential statement. We call on the Secretary-General, in his capacity, to establish a follow-on special investigation without delay. We must avoid any recurrence of this type of tragedy in the future. Ensuring the security of experts working for the Sanctions Committees is indispensable for sanctions regimes.  

Now, let me underscore one point.  The DRC today stands at a critical juncture, with profound and interlinked political and security concerns.  We reiterate to the Government of the DRC the importance of holding peaceful and credible elections leading to a democratic transfer of power by the end of this year, in line with the 31 December political agreement.  
We are also deeply alarmed by the deterioration of the situation in Kasai and the persistence of insecurity in eastern DRC, including grave human rights violations and inter-communal violence.  The political leaders of the DRC must urgently address these concerns. 

As Japan stated during the Security Council briefing on UN sanctions two weeks ago, sanctions are not tools for punishment, but rather a means to support national efforts to maintain and consolidate peace and stability.  
Given the political challenges and worsening security situation in the DRC, sanctions have a particularly important role to play in helping end, deter and mitigate violence.  The full and faithful implementation of the sanctions regime, including the previous recommendations made by the Group of Experts, is in the interest of all stakeholders in the DRC as well as the international community, including regional States.  
Fourteen years after the establishment of the sanctions regime in the DRC, we still struggle with the lack of implementation today. 
It is thus necessary for the Committee to revitalize the engagement of all stakeholders and continue working on concrete measures to better ensure compliance and efficiency. 
In this connection, we call on the DRC and other relevant countries for continued and enhanced cooperation with the Committee and the Group of Experts.  

The political and security situation in the DRC is growing increasingly volatile as the deadline for elections by the end of 2017 approaches.  This could also have a deep impact on the entire Great Lakes region.  Japan is confident that the Security Council will continue to follow the situation in the DRC and region closely.  We will remain ready to act promptly if necessary.  

I thank you, Mr. President.