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Violations of human rights common - Arbour

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Photo: IRIN
Louise Arbour, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner
KINSHASA, 15 May 2007 (IRIN) - Serious human rights violations take place almost daily with total impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, on a visit to the country this week.

Arbour is scheduled to stay five days in the DRC, where she will meet the Congolese authorities as well as human rights activists, local and international non-governmental organisations, diplomats and the special representative of the UN Secretary-General, William Swing.

These discussions will focus on the fight against the culture of impunity and the implementation of the means to protect fundamental freedoms, and on the efforts towards reconciliation and reconstruction.

"Grave human rights violations occur almost every day in DRC as the perpetrators are encouraged by a climate of impunity that reigns virtually throughout this country," said Arbour.

She regarded the timing of her visit to Kinshasa as critical because "we have seen some advances ? towards stability - as witnessed with the recent elections - as well as a strong determination among the Congolese people to see the consolidation of a state of rights in a peaceful country".

However, there were still considerable obstacles on the way towards peace and the complete respect of human rights. Among these, Arbour pointed to human rights violations and the culture of impunity.

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