Agenda Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
30th Session of the Human Rights Council
September 29, 2015
As delivered by Jessica Carl
Mr. Vice President,
The United States expresses our appreciation to the High Commissioner for his thorough and substantive report on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The United States recognizes the efforts made by the Government of the DRC to improve its human rights record in certain areas, such as its efforts to eliminate child soldiers from its military.
We remain deeply concerned by the significant human rights problems that persist across the country. The noticeable curtailing of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and increased pressure on civil society are ongoing concerns. So too are violations and abuses by security forces and numerous armed groups. The international community must remain focused on these problems.
We note with concern the expulsion of the Director of the UN Joint Human Rights Office in October 2014. We denounce the government’s ad hominem attacks against this UN staff member; they were a pretext to divert attention from its human rights record. We call for the Congolese government to receive a new director immediately.
We share your concerns about human rights violations and abuses in this pre-electoral period. Recent events, particularly the government’s harsh crackdown on protestors, which resulted in extrajudicial killings and the continued arbitrary detention of many, are deeply troubling. Past elections in the DRC have been accompanied consistently by spikes in violence and instability. As a result, we urge the Office of the High Commissioner and this Council to remain focused on human rights in the DRC throughout the election period.
We would like to pose some questions:
Rule of Law and Elections:
- What steps will the government take to ensure national elections are held on time in 2016, consistent with the DRC constitution, including its provision on term limits?
- What immediate next steps do you recommend the government take to ensure that the elections are as fair, free, and participatory as possible
Accountability for Security Force Abuses:
- What steps is the DRC taking to address recent reports of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, including reported extrajudicial killings associated with Operation Likofi and the January 2015 electoral law protests in Kinshasa?
- What concrete steps can the international community take to help strengthen accountability mechanisms in the DRC?