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UN Human Rights Council 54: UK Statement on DRC

Thank you Mr Vice-President,

We thank the Minister from DRC and other speakers for their presentations at this important dialogue and the Team of Experts for their report.

The UK remains deeply concerned by ongoing human rights violations and abuses in the conflict affected areas of DRC. We are monitoring preparations for elections, which we hope will be peaceful, transparent and credible. However, continued restrictions on democratic space are worrying, including reports of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrests. We continue to urge the government of DRC to respect civic space, freedom of expression and media freedom, in accordance with Congolese law and the constitution.

We remain concerned by periodic violent protests against MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo], and while we acknowledge DRC’s request to accelerate MONUSCO’s withdrawal, this must be done in a way that ensures the protection of civilians. We are also deeply troubled by the appalling incident in Goma on 30 August, where according to official reports at least 57 civilians were killed.

We also call on the government of DRC for a swift, well-coordinated and comprehensive response to the increased levels of sexual violence and exploitation in eastern DRC, particularly the institutionalised brothels in IDP [internally displaced persons] camps. We also call for the full, safe, equal and meaningful participation of women in the decision-making processes to this response.

Mr Vice-President,

We would like to ask the speakers what more can the government of DRC do to address conflict-related sexual violence and exploitation, and how can the international community support this.

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