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Democratic Republic of Congo: Human Rights

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her most recent assessment is of the observance of (a) human rights and (b) women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (125177)

The human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is still poor. Congolese civilians, particularly in eastern DRC, continue to suffer abuses committed by members of the Congolese armed forces and militia groups. A climate of impunity prevails.

Widespread sexual violence is still prevalent, especially in the east. It is perpetrated mainly by the armed forces and frequently goes unpunished. Representation of women in Government, Parliament and the commercial sector is still low, despite strong assertion of equal rights in the new constitution. The UK is continuing its efforts to mainstream gender in its development assistance, but the most immediate impact will be felt through bringing about army reform and strengthening the justice sector.

The UK will continue to remind the DRC authorities of the need to protect the rights of all vulnerable groups and to bring to justice all perpetrators of abuse.