Zovko: No development without security and no security without development.
Brussels, 11 March 2021
The Members of the European Parliament held a debate during the plenary session on the situation in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the assassination of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio and his entourage.
On 22 February 2021, a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy was attacked by gunmen while travelling to a WFP school feeding programme in Rutshuru, in the province of North Kivu. After a failed attempt to kidnap Ambassador Attanasio, a gunfight broke lose. The Ambassador got mortally wounded and also Italian police officer and their driver were killed. A week later, a local attorney, William Hassani lost his live on that same road.
Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Zeljana Zovko expressed her deepest condolences to the relatives of these victims during her intervention in the debate. She stated that these murders shed a clear light on the continued instability and insecurity in the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The region is known for its armed groups and intercommunal violence deteriorates the humanitarian situation.
Zovko stressed that a thorough investigation on these events is needed and should lead to a re-evaluation of the safety measures in UN, but also EU missions. “How did the route of the convoy receive security clearance? And why are humanitarian workers in this area not better protected?”, Zovko stated.
The MEP also emphasized that humanitarian aid workers often operate on the frontlines of conflict areas. Many of them are exposed to acts of violence on a daily basis. Zovko said that the we can convey them our gratitude for their work by providing appropriate security.
Zovko concluded her intervention by citing former Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “The human family will not enjoy development without security, will not enjoy security without development, and will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”