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House of Commons Hansard
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Democratic Republic of Congo: Armed Conflict
11 March 2010
Volume 507

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the merits of making the provision of assistance to the Congolese army conditional on progress towards the release from its ranks of those under the age of 18 years and the removal of individuals suspected of having committed human rights abuses. [321661]

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The UN Peacekeeping mission, MONUC, has a conditionality clause in its mandate that support will be withdrawn from Congolese army units (FARDC) which commit human rights abuses.

We fully support this approach and will continue to maintain pressure on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to take appropriate action against perpetrators of human rights abuses and uphold the rule of law. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa visited DRC last month and raised the issue with President Kabila, urging progress on security sector reform and implementation of his “zero tolerance” policy on human rights abuses. The Minister also met with FARDC officers and UN Peacekeeping troop commanders in South Kivu, in eastern Congo, and was encouraged by their considered approach to the newly mandated operation, Amani Leo, where they have created a method for vetting FARDC commanders before collaborating with them, shifted emphasis to predominantly civilian protection and developed a robust message on zero tolerance and the need to maintain professional standards. We will continue to monitor the mission through our staff on the ground as well as UN, non-governmental organisations and independent reporting.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of providing assistance for accountability mechanisms in Democratic Republic of Congo in respect of reported human rights abuses, with particular reference to the participation of children in armed conflict. [321662]

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Accountability is essential for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) armed forces to be able to provide civilian protection. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa raised the issue of impunity for human rights abusers with Prime Minister Muzito and President Kabila when in the country last month. We have lent support to developing the justice sector in DRC. We are providing about £80 million over five years to increase accountability of the security sector through strengthened oversight mechanisms, technical assistance and training.

Through the EU advisory and assistance mission for security reform in the DRC we are funding a biometric census project which provides accurate personnel figures for the military of the DRC regiments and allows child soldiers to be successfully identified and removed.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the merits of extending the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1698 (2006) to include all political and military leaders responsible for the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo. [321663]

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UN Security Council Resolution 1698 states that political and military leaders recruiting or using children in armed conflict in violation of applicable international law, and individuals committing serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction and forced displacement be subject to sanctions. We fully support this measure as stated in the declaration.