The Human Rights Council must act to end impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Press release
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At this crucial moment for the future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a strong response from the United Nations Human Rights Council is necessary to establish a mechanism to protect human rights. Such a mechanism would permit the prevention of abuse towards civil populations and ensure the follow-up of the United Nations’ recommendations to fight impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said Mrs Valérie Trierweiler today. Ambassador of the Foundation France Libertés, these words were spoken on the occasion of a high level panel at the United Nations in Geneva, a side event to the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council must fulfil its mandate to complete the action of the Security Council in adopting a strong resolution at its 24th session, added the Ambassador of France Libertés.

Most of the victims in the DRC keep silent but the Human Rights Council has the responsibility to speak loudly on their behalf, declared Ms Justine Masika Bihamba, coordinator of the association Synergie des femmes pour les victimes des violences sexuelles (SFVS), who also took the floor during the panel, which was preceded by the broadcasting of an extract from the film Bukavu by Mrs Maud-Salomé Ekila.

If ending impunity is a priority for the DRC, this must include reinforced cooperation with the Human Rights Council. The Congolese government cannot escape its responsibility and must support the creation of a monitoring mechanism,” said Mr Paul Nsapu, FIDH Secretary General.
The General Director of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), Mr Leo Kaneman declared: The perpetrators’ barbarity, far from discouraging those who defend human rights, emphasizes their determination. It is urgent that the Human Rights Council follow their example and break the silence.”

Participants on the panel recalled that since the mandate of the independent expert was discontinued in 2008, there is no longer a monitoring mechanism with which to regularly observe the situation in DRC. The United Nations Security Council recently decided to extend the mandate of MONUSCO until March 2014, with the addition of a proactive “intervention brigade”, authorized to engage in military action against armed groups in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the situation of the civil population, and more specifically that of women, remains very serious.

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