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Interactive Dialogue on the Democratic Republic of Congo- Statement by Ireland

Human Rights Council – 33rd Session (13-30 September 2016)

Interactive dialogue on the report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement by Ireland

27 September 2016 

Thank you Mr. President.

Ireland aligns with the statement of the European Union and would like to add the following:

Mr President,

We welcome the High Commissioner’s report and the recommendations therein.

We share the High Commissioner’s concerns regarding increasing restrictions on political space and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly, and in particular, offences against civil society, human rights defenders, journalists and political representatives.  Any use of violence or excessive force is unacceptable.  We stress the importance of a peaceful, inclusive and transparent political environment and urge the DRC Government to move forward necessary processes for upcoming elections, in the interests of the Congolese people and the maintenance of peace and stability.

We note progress in the fight against impunity, including through the introduction of legislation.  We encourage the DRC to build on this progress and address remaining challenges to ensure that perpetrators of violations at all levels, and in particular perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence, are held accountable.

We remain deeply concerned by reports of acts of violence by armed groups and security forces in the eastern part of the country. We urge effective, independent and timely investigations into these acts and for individuals found responsible to be held accountable.

In particular, sexual and gender-based violations cannot be tolerated.  We encourage the DRC authorities to progress efforts to combat sexual violence and to continue to work to ensure full implementation of Security Council resolutions 1325 and 2122 on women, peace and security as accepted by the DRC at the country’s UPR in 2014.

We would like to ask the Deputy High Commissioner what changes should be prioritised in the short-term within the judicial system to make progress on combatting impunity?