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Human Rights Council adopts resolution on human rights in eastern Congo

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Human Rights Council - December 1, 2008

Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council today concluded its eighth special session on the situation of human rights in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adopted a resolution in which it condemned the acts of violence, human rights violations and abuses committed in Kivu, in particular sexual violence and the recruitment by the militias of child soldiers, and called upon the international community to seriously address the root causes of the conflict and to continue to contribute to the promotion of peace and stability, as well as provide the Government with assistance.

In the resolution, which was adopted by consensus, the Council expressed serious concern at the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in North Kivu since the resumption of hostilities on 28 August 2008 and called upon all concerned parties to comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law to ensure the protection of the civilian population and to facilitate the work of humanitarian agencies. The Council also called for the immediate end to all human rights violations and expressed concern at the deteriorating situation of refugees and internally displaced persons. The Council further urged all parties to allow and facilitate humanitarian assistance and to support the ongoing efforts to establish humanitarian corridors throughout the area so as to allow access and free movement of people and goods as well as to enable humanitarian agencies to provide the badly needed food, water, medication and shelter. The Council condemned the acts of violence, human rights violations and abuses committed in Kivu, in particular sexual violence and the recruitment by the militias of child soldiers.

The Council also underlined that the Government had the primary responsibility to make every effort to strengthen the protection of civilian population and to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of violations of human rights. The Council further expressed support to the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the conflict. It also emphasized the importance of strengthening the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a view to increasing its capacity to protect civilians and to restore peace. The Council also called upon the international community to seriously address the root causes of the conflict and to continue to contribute to the promotion of peace and stability, as well as provide the Government with assistance.

The special session opened on Friday, 28 November, called for by France on behalf of the European Union and 15 other countries. Following consultations, France withdrew its draft resolution and the Council adopted by consensus the resolution presented by Egypt on behalf of the African Group.

General Assembly Resolution 60/251 which created the Human Rights Council states in its operative paragraph 10 that the Council "shall be able to hold Special Sessions when needed at the request of a member of the Council with the support of one-third of the membership of the Council".

This was the eighth special session of the Human Rights Council. The Council has held special sessions relating to Israel; Darfur, Sudan; Myanmar and the global food crisis.


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