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UN-backed commission adopts interim peace measures in DR of Congo

UN-backed commission adopts interim peace measures in DR of Congo

In a determined bid to end nearly five years of violent conflict, rival militia and tribal groups in the northeast of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have agreed to set up interim body to manage that region until a new post-war national government takes over, according to the United Nations mission in the country.

The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) reports that the 177 delegates of the Ituri Pacification Commission adopted on Sunday a series of interim measures to end hostilities and provide a provisional administration in Ituri District, highlighted by the creation of a power-sharing 32-member Provisional Assembly.

The Commission, under the presidency of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative for the DRC, Behrooz Sadry, also agreed that an 18-member Commission of Prevention and Verification will examine the causes of the conflict and establish measures to prevent any escalation. That body would also look at allegations of violations, establish appropriate groups to investigate them and submit its results and recommendations to the assembly.

According to MONUC, a consultative committee of armed groups involved in the conflict, comprising nine members, will evaluate the security situation in Ituri and ensure the containment of armed forces, facilitate the demobilisation of child soldiers and ensure that all armed groups respect human rights. That committee will answer to the Commission of Prevention and Verification. The delegates agreed that both bodies will be chaired by MONUC.

The parties also agreed to a provisional 17-member human rights body which will help victims of human rights violations to obtain legal and other support as well as follow up on any legal cases brought and give reassurances that anyone charged will have a fair trial. The body will also be responsible for informing the public about human rights issues.

The Ituri commission also made a formal appeal for the protection of children. MONUC reported that delegates hoped the appeal would create the right conditions to ensure respect for children's rights and to enable child soldiers to be demobilised and reintegrated into their communities.