DR Congo conflict : A cause for grave concern

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UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban KI-Moon has released a 28-page report for the UN Security Council on Human rights in DR Congo and the chronicles of the conflicts so far.

According to Mr. Ban the situation is a cause for grave concern. He blames elements of the Congolese army and national police for a large number of serious human rights violations like arbitrary executions, rape, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

He also accused Gen Laurent Nkunda’s Tutsi CNDP and the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia for perpetrating serious human rights abuses with impunity such as mass killings, torture, abductions, forced recruitment of children, forced displacement and destruction of refugee camps, force labour, and sexual violence.

Mr. Ban also accused the Congolese national civilian and military intelligence services for making arbitrary arrests, followed by torture and extortion.

Government officers and politicians have also threatened and detained journalists and human rights campaigners.

Last week, the Security Council approved an additional 3,000 soldiers and police for the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo in an effort to prevent the conflict in the country’s east from escalating.

However the recent violence has triggered a humanitarian crisis, forcing an estimated 250,000 people to flee their homes.

Gen Laurent Nkunda had presented three main demands; which are direct talks with the government, protection of Tutsi minorities, and the integration of his soldiers with the national army, and integration of those responsible for administration in the areas he occupied with the administrative cadre of the government.

UN’s special envoy, Olusegun Obasanjo, who stated that Gen Nkunda’s demands were not outrageous has urged Congolese President Joseph Kabila to talk with Gen Nkunda in order to prevent the situation from worsening.

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