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Item 10: Statement on the Human Rights Situation in DR Congo

Human Rights Council 42nd session. Item 10 – Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the oral update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Delivered by Ambassador Hans Brattskar on 24 September 2019.

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Mr. President,

The Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway) welcome this interactive dialogue and also welcome the progress made in the DRC after the national elections of December 2018 and under President Tshisekedi’s leadership, in particular regarding  an opening up of democratic space, efforts to combat impunity and the commitment to improving human rights, including women’s rights and roles. However, huge challenges remain. The link between the many human right violations and abuses and insecurity and conflict is very clear, with over 80 % of cases occurring in conflict-stricken areas. We therefore welcome that peace and reconciliation is at the top of the new government’s agenda. We remain particularly concerned over the fact that more than half of documented violations and abuses are being attributed to state security forces and the increase in sexual and gender-based violence.

The Nordic countries recommend that the DRC’s authorities follow up:

  1. The immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who remain in detention, and the protection of the rights and freedoms of all persons, including political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders;

  2. Ensure that the bill on the protection and accountability of human rights defenders fully guarantees the rights of all persons, and do not infringe the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association;

  3. Ensure that the use of force by State agents, including state security forces, strictly complies with the rules of international human rights and humanitarian law;

  4. Institute a process of disarmament [, demobilization and reintegration] in accordance with human rights standards

  5. Take all necessary measures to prevent sexual violence and, when it occurs, bring the perpetrators to justice, provide victims with comprehensive care and facilitate their access to remedies for redress.

Thank you.