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Interactive Dialogue on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement by Ireland

22 March 2017

Ireland aligns with the statement of the EU and adds the following:

Mr. President,

We share the concerns of the High Commissioner regarding emerging reports of severe human rights violations in the Kasai provinces and welcome the response of the Government in initiating investigations into the alleged killings by soldiers. Investigations, and holding perpetrators to account, are critical to continuing progress in the fight against impunity, as underlined by the High Commissioner in his report for the 33rd Session of the Council.

We urge the Government of the DRC to conduct independent, credible, transparent and impartial investigations into all human rights violations alleged to have been committed by state agents, in all cases including in relation to the violence that took place in September and December 2016. We also encourage continued cooperation with the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office, as well as provision of unimpeded access to all regions in order to allow the Office to fully carry out its work.

In the approach to elections, we stress the particular importance of respecting the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly. We are concerned by reports of violations of these rights and increasing restrictions on democratic space. We urge the Government of the DRC to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and transparent political environment in which the rule of law and human rights are respected, and in particular to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society, including journalists and human rights defenders.

Mr. President

We note the challenges identified in the recent reports published by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in addressing impunity for violations of human rights in the DRC. We would be interested to hear more on what concrete steps should be taken in this regard by the authorities to ensure appropriate accountability for alleged violations.

Thank you.