RAPAPORT… United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concerns for reports of serious mistreatment of detainees belonging to the rebel group known as M23 by the national armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to reports, M23 detainees have not just been victims of human rights violations, but their corpses have also been desecrated by members of the national armed forces, known as FARDC.
The peacekeeping unit, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO), raised the issue of mistreatment of detainees with the FARDC and is now also reviewing its support to army divisions that are suspected of violating detainees’ rights.
“The Secretary-General calls on the DRC to bring the perpetrators of these reported acts to justice and underlines that mistreatment of detainees is a violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” according to Ban’s spokesperson.
Fighting recently broke out close to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, between the FARDC and the M23 after a two-month lull. MONUSCO has remained on high alert and stands ready to step in with force in order to protect civilians.
Since March, tensions in the region have been increasing, leading the Security Council to deploy an intervention brigade within the existing UN peacekeeping force in DRC (MONUSCO) to carry out targeted offensive operations with or without the FARDC, against armed groups that threaten peace in the eastern part of the country.