Source: UK Government
25 September 2019 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
The UK thanks the United Nations Joint Office for Human Rights for their report and tireless efforts to improve the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The UK welcomes the reported decrease in the number of human rights abuses and violations since the last reporting cycle, in particular violations of civil and political rights. Whilst we recognise the opening up of democratic space and improvements in the freedom of the press, we also note with concern attacks and intimidation against human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society actors by state agents. We call on the Government of DRC to ensure the protection of freedom of expression, and of assembly and association.
We echo the Joint Office’s recognition of the Government’s efforts to combat impunity and sexual violence and note the increase in convictions of this area. Whilst we appreciate the challenges still facing the government in their efforts to reform the judicial system, we urge the Government to take steps to ensure that state agents operate according to the highest international standards, and to bring those responsible for human rights violations to justice, regardless of rank or affiliation.
Following the formation of the new government, the UK encourages early action to address the human rights situation.