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Cessation of hostilities agreement between Dinka Bor and Murle “first step to dialogue and engagement” (12.06.2017)

David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, was speaking during a visit to Bor and Pibor in former Jonglei State in the east of South Sudan.

JUBA, South Sudan, June 12, 2017 – A cessation of hostilities agreement between warring ethnic groups in the Jonglei region is a “first step to dialogue and engagement but we now need to build on that and show that there is a real dividend for peace,” the head of UN peacekeeping in South Sudan, UNMISS, has said.

David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, was speaking during a visit to Bor and Pibor in former Jonglei State in the east of South Sudan.

“My hope is that the parties will follow through on their commitments,” Mr Shearer said. “Only through dialogue and engagement can there be any durable peace and then development.”  

“From our side, my visit has strengthened my view that we need to step up the patrolling of the key highway between Bor and Pibor. We will also increase our engineering work to improve roads and infrastructure in the Pibor and Bor region.

“Roads are the lifelines of communities in the area. They stimulate trade and economic activity and jobs. Some are closed because of insecurity, others through disrepair. We can help with both.”

Fighting has “disrupted trade, further degraded the economy causing real suffering for the people here,” Mr Shearer said. “I’ve visited markets in the towns of Bor and Pibor, where people told me that prices are high and produce scarce. That won’t help peace to take root.” 

The agreement between the Dinka Bor and Murle leadership to end hostilities between the two communities was agreed in May and witnessed by Mr Shearer. It outlined clear next steps; the establishment of an investigations committee and a peace conference to address the many grievances on both sides.

Jonglei region has a long history of fighting between ethnic groups which has centered around cattle raiding and child abductions.

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South Sudan: Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the Youth of Dinka Bor and Murle Communities (23.05.2017)

Democratic Republic of the Congo defence and security forces committed serious human rights violations in December 2016 (01.03.2017)

drc-al-jazeera

According to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO (UNJHRO), at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 1, 2017 -Defence and security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo used excessive, disproportionate and at times lethal force to prevent and contain demonstrations in December 2016, a UN report published today has found.

According to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO (UNJHRO), at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi.

The findings of the UNJHRO investigation show that 28 individuals were killed by soldiers of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), six by agents of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and the remaining six during joint PNC and FARDC operations. All but two of the victims were killed by live ammunition.

During the same period, at least 147 individuals were injured by State agents, including 14 women and 18 children, and at least 917 individuals, including 30 women and 95 children, were arrested by defence and security forces. The report also notes that some protesters carried out acts of violence, including the killing of at least one PNC agent in Kinshasa on 20 December 2016.

The report indicates that most of the victims were unarmed civilians wounded by live ammunition on upper parts of the body, suggesting an excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces in operations to contain the demonstrations.

“Such serious incidents are worrisome, particularly in the current context. The Government bears the primary responsibility to implement the confidence-building measures provided for under the 31 December 2016 Global and Inclusive Political Agreement to defuse tensions and create an environment conducive to the holding of peaceful elections. MONUSCO will continue to support efforts by the Government to achieve these objectives, including through investigation and strong sanction for all those responsible for serious human rights violations,” said Maman Sambo Sidikou, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC.

“MONUSCO remains committed to accompanying the DRC towards peaceful, credible and inclusive elections,” Sidikou stressed.

The report also condemns the fact that while the PNC is normally in charge of crowd control operations, during the period under review, FARDC soldiers, including those of the Republican Guard and of the Military Police, were deployed to control crowds, functions for which they are not adequately equipped nor trained. The lack of accountability for past human rights violations, including those committed during the demonstrations in Kinshasa on 19 and 20 September 2016, may have encouraged a sense of impunity, and defence and security forces to commit further violations in December 2016.

“Once again we see serious human rights violations being committed blatantly and with complete impunity by the security forces, who employed excessive use of force against unarmed demonstrators, in flagrant violation of international human rights law and standards,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

“I urge the Government to ensure that those responsible for such violations committed in the context of events that marked the end of President Joseph Kabila’s second constitutional mandate are held accountable and brought to justice.  Measures should also be taken, at all levels, to ensure that the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms by the population will not lead to loss of lives and other serious rights violations,” Zeid said.

“I therefore call on the DRC Government to urgently adopt the law on freedom of peaceful protests and the law on human rights defenders. This is hugely important for the coming months as the DRC should move towards implementing the 31 December political agreement and preparing for the next presidential election,” Zeid stressed.

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