UN rights expert raises alarm about human rights abuses in DR Congo

6 December 2007

Raising alarm about abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially the volatile eastern region, an independent United Nations human rights expert is calling for measures to protect civilians there.

Raising alarm about abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially the volatile eastern region, an independent United Nations human rights expert is calling for measures to protect civilians there.

Following an eight-day visit to the DRC that concluded on Wednesday, Titinga Frederic Pacere, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights for the DRC, said that the situation was “alarming” and called for international support to resolve the problems facing the country.

During his third visit to the DRC, the independent expert met with the presidents of the National Assembly, the Senate and the High Military Court, as well as the Auditor General, the Justice and Defence Ministers, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Pacere also visited Bukavu in South Kivu province, where he met the provincial governor, provincial assembly ministers, as well as civil, judicial and military authorities.

According to the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the expert used the meetings to call on the governmental, legislative and judicial authorities to invest in the fight against impunity and sexual violence, two plagues which are undermining the DRC's stability.

In an interview held at MONUC headquarters, Mr. Pacere stressed the need to tackle violence in the east, where forces loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda are battling government troops (FARDC).

Mr. Pacere said that the state of the DRC justice system was also “alarming, because as long as there is impunity, it breeds more impunity.”

He also called for the creation of an international criminal court for the DRC “to deal with the high level of criminality” as well as five special criminal courts located in different parts of the vast country.

Mr. Pacere said that during his visit he observed the efforts on the part of the public authorities and other players. “But the deficiencies and challenges are enormous in this domain, and the international community, through their support at all levels, must find a solution to the human rights problems.”

 

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