The UN Security Council extended on Monday the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), known as by its French acronym MONUC, for another year.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1856, the 15-member body extended the mandate of the 20,000-strong MONUC for another year until December 31 2009.
Through the resolution, the council authorized deployment of up to 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police and 1,050 personnel of formed police units in the vast central African country through the end of 2009.
The council underscored the importance of using "all necessary means" at its disposal, including robust rules of engagement, to ensure the protection of not only civilians, but also humanitarian personnel and UN staff and facilities.
It expressed "extreme concern at the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation," condemned "the targeted attacks against the civilian population, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and summary executions."
It stressed the urgent need for the DRC government in cooperation with MONUC and other actors to end abuses carried out by militias, armed groups, and elements of the government army, police and security services.
Speaking after the vote, many council members took the floor to welcome the resolution and its prioritizing of the protection of civilians and humanitarian activities, calling for its effective implementation.
(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2008)