[JURIST] The UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) on Tuesday welcomed [press release] the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) progress in the fight against torture. According to the UNJHRO, the DRC has convicted at least five soldiers of the Congolese armed forces, five agents of the Congolese National Police, one agent of the national intelligence service and one administrative official for practicing or encouraging torture. The sentences ranged from six months to life imprisonment. The DRC enacted a law criminalizing torture, for the first time in the history of the country, on July 9, 2011. The UNJHRO called on the government to investigate every allegation of torture. The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Juan Mendez [official profile] said, "I am pleased with the considerable progress which has been accomplished by the government in order to ensure conformity with national law and international standards and to put an end to the cycle of impunity which prevails for acts of torture."
Torture and ill-treatment of individuals remain problems through the international community. In June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] urged member states [JURIST report] to intensify measures against torture in commemoration of the UN's 15th annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (IDSVT) [official website]. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called on member states to "fulfill their obligations" with respect to ensuring that torture victims can obtain "redress and rehabilitation for the suffering they have endured."