DR Congo: Security Council expresses concern at human rights violations

DR Congo: Security Council expresses concern at human rights violations

Council President Gunter Pleuger
The United Nations Security Council today expressed concern at serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), called for the punishment of those responsible and urged all parties to the conflict to maintain law and order in the areas under their control.

In a statement to the press following consultations on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on the DRC, the President of the 15-member Council, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, said members also called on the Congolese parties to fully implement the power-sharing agreement signed in Pretoria last December, and to establish the transitional government.

According to the President, Council members voiced their concerns at the abuses reported two weeks ago by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who said information gathered "reveals that prosecution on ethnic and tribal grounds, extortion of property, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women, extra-judicial executions, and the forced recruitment of children are being committed."

Council members "reiterated that there can be no impunity," Mr. Pleuger said. They expressed their particular concern at the situation in Ituri, and called on the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) to cooperate fully with the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

They also called on all governments in the region, in particular the Governments of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, to support the peace process in Ituri, urging them "to work to establish confidence-building measures to promote security in the border areas," Mr. Pleuger said.

Members demanded that full freedom of movement be provided to MONUC so that it could investigate allegations that Rwandan and other foreign troops were present in DRC territory, as well as allegations that the Congolese Government provided support to the armed groups in the east of the country.

They also condemned the attack against MONUC's helicopter in Bunia, the main town in the Ituri region, "warned those who committed this crime of grave consequences, and demanded that the perpetrators be identified and brought to justice immediately," Mr. Pleuger said.