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Item 10: Enhanced ID with OHCHR on the DR Congo

Item 10: Enhanced ID with OHCHR on the Democratic Republic of Congo. Statement by First Secretary Sean Lobo, 25 September 2018.

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Dear President,

We commend the UN High Commissioner for Human Right for a thorough and well documented report on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is encouraging to learn that efforts by the Government to improve the justice system has led to an increase in sentencing of human rights perpetrators by Congolese courts.

In three months citizens of DRC should be offered the opportunity to participate in elections that are characterized by inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and competitiveness.

We note with concern reports of increased violations of civil and political rights that threaten the electoral process. Effective lifting of remaining restrictions on demonstrations and the release of remaining political prisoners and prisoners of opinion is urgently required to create a more equal playing field.

We note with concern that 843 victims of conflict-related sexual violence were registered by the UN from June 2017 to May 2018. This is a substantial increase (43 %). One in four were victims of perpetrators belonging to the national police and military.  This abysmal situation must end.  Civilians in conflict areas must be effectively protected and victims provided with care and redress. Perpetrators must be held accountable and brought to justice.

Finally, we applaud the efforts by the Joint Human Rights Office to monitor the human rights situation and support the civilian and military systems in combating impunity for serious human rights abuses. We would appreciate an update on how OHCHR is now working with the government of DRC to ensure that human rights including freedom of expression and assembly are respected during the electoral period?