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UN rights chief says most DR Congo violations by state agents

Tuesday January 28 2020

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on January 27, 2020 that DR Congo's army and other agents of the state commit a majority of the rights violations in the conflict-wracked central African country. FILE PHOTO | MANDEL NGAN | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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Kinshasa,

DR Congo's army and other agents of the state commit a majority of the rights violations in the conflict-wracked central African country, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Monday.

"I appeal to the state to stop these violations," the former Chilean president said in the capital Kinshasa on the final day of her visit to the country.

During an interview with the UN Okapi radio station, she called for measures to curb the "abuses committed by the Congolese army in particular."

Her comments come after a meeting on Friday with President Felix Tshisekedi, who succeeded the country's long-ruling Joseph Kabila in January last year.

"Overall, there has been a three percent reduction in human rights violations and abuses" during that time, she said.

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"State actors are responsible for 54 percent of these violations... the army is responsible for 28 percent of these abuses," she said, quoting monthly statistics from MONUSCO, the UN's peace-keeping mission in the country.

STATE CRIMES

The mission said that state agents were responsible for 53 percent of the 846 human rights violations it listed in November alone throughout the vast country -- including 19 extrajudicial executions.

Bachelet began by her trip on Thursday in Ituri province, where 701 civilians have been killed since the end of 2017, according to a report by the UN joint human rights office.

The northeastern province has been caught up in fighting between armed groups from the ethnic Lendu communities and the Hema community over land and resources.

Bachelet tweeted this week that the two sides are seeking reconciliation, and "both stressed need for justice & to resist those stirring up violence".

The comments by Bachelet come just days after Amnesty International delivered a damning assessment of Tshisekedi's government on the one-year anniversary of his taking power.

"Insecurity and impunity continue to threaten human rights progress in the Democratic Republic of Congo," the group said on Friday.