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UN expert calls for international community to address impunity in DRC

A top UN official specializing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Saturday emphasized the need to address the issue of impunity [press release] for those involved in human rights violations over the past year. The DRC has seen an increase in violence in the last year as a result of continuing sectarian conflict in the region. Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson insisted that those responsible for rights violations must be held accountable. She said that the international community must take a multifaceted approach in order to resolve the conflict, employing both political and military means to achieve their goal. Robinson's comments followed a four-day tour through Goma, where she was joined by several other UN representatives. Violence in the DRC has displaced over 100,000 people over the past year, adding to the 2.6 million already displaced in the nation. Robinson continued to emphasize the need for a more holistic approach to ending the violence.

Human rights and humanitarian concerns continue to be a concern surrounding the violence in the DRC. Last month, UN rights experts emphasized [JURIST report] the importance of respecting human rights in the DRC. In July Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that the rebel group 23 March Movement (M23) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] is receiving assistance from Rwanda [JURIST report] despite continued human rights abuses by the M23, including rape, executions and forced recruitment of young boys. In May a UN report found that DRC troops committed rape and murder [JURIST report] as they retreated from an advance by M23 rebels last November. In February HRW reported that during the siege of Goma, M23 forces summarily executed 24 individuals [JURIST report], 21 of whom were civilians, and raped 36 women, including a 10-year-old girl.

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