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Human Rights Council 35th Session (6-23 June 2017)

Interactive dialogue on Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement by Ireland

20 June 2017 

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

Mr President,

We share the concerns of the High Commissioner regarding the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are deeply concerned about the increasing violence in the Kasai provinces; the displacement of an estimated 1.3 million people in the Kasais is alarming and can only further increase the challenge of protecting the most basic rights of the local population. We are particularly concerned with reports of the recruitment of children by militias and excessive use of force by state services against civilian populations.

As we noted in our most recent statement to this Council in March, investigations, and holding perpetrators to account, are critical to continuing progress in the fight against impunity. In this regard, we echo the call of the High Commissioner and the EU for an international investigation into the widespread human rights violations and abuses that have occurred in the Kasai provinces and we urge continued cooperation by the government with the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office, including the provision of unimpeded access to all regions in order to allow the Office to carry out its work.

We remain concerned by reports of increasing restrictions on democratic space and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly. We are also troubled by the recent killing in Kasai of an electoral official by armed militia. In the approach to elections, we urge the Government of the DRC to enable a peaceful, inclusive and transparent political environment in which the rule of law and human rights are respected.

High Commissioner,

Addressing impunity for violations of human rights in DRC has been identified as a challenge in many of your most recent reports. In your view, has there been any progress in addressing this challenge, and providing justice to victims, by the relevant Congolese authorities and what can be done to address the challenge of addressing impunity?