UN expert reports persisting human rights abuses in DR of Congo

While the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has achieved some progress in the protection of human rights, serious abuses still persist in the war-torn country, according to a new report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur probing conditions in the DRC. Positive developments cited in the report by Iulia Motoc include the suspension of the death penalty, the freeing of 300 child soldiers and the lifting of restrictions on political activities. At the same time, she notes that the DRC’s Military Court, which continues to try civilians, is incompatible with human rights. The judicial system’s weakness, she adds, is “affecting the entrenchment of all human rights.” Massive human rights violations are frequent in territories controlled by rebels, especially in the eastern part of the country, according to the report, which blames extrajudicial executions carried out by the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie/Goma (RCD-Goma) for the continued climate of terror in that part of the country. The Special Rapporteur documents instances of sexual violence against women and children, reprisals against the civilian population and incitement to ethnic hatred, urging an end to these violations. The expert also calls on all parties to pursue the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, apply the provisions of all existing agreements, and fully cooperate with Mustapha Niasse, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, who has been holding informal consultations on a transitional political arrangements for the country. Parties to the DRC conflict are also called on to give their full support to international organizations on the ground, particularly the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) as it embarks on the demobilization, disarmament, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration process.

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