UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Wednesday welcomed the establishment of a national human rights commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [UN materials; BBC backgrounder] but said that rights abuses continue in the east. Pillay's report [text, PDF, in French] attributed the recent violence in the east [press release] to state security forces, the guerrilla group 23 March Movement (M23) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and other armed forces. Scott Campbell, director of the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, commented [official website], "[i]t is essential to establish reliable vetting mechanisms to ensure that human rights abusers are not maintained within or integrated into the security forces." The first proceedings against state abusers of human rights have yet to be established.
The report comes on the heels of the UN's call to diminish institutionalized impunity [JURIST report] in the war-torn nation. Last month UN rights experts emphasized [JURIST report] the importance of respecting human rights in the DRC. In July Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that M23 is receiving assistance from Rwanda [JURIST report] despite continued human rights abuses, including rape, executions and forced recruitment of young boys. In May a UN report found that DRC troops committed rape and murder [JURIST report] as they retreated from an advance by M23 rebels last November. In February HRW reported that during the siege of Goma,M23 forces summarily executed 24 individuals [JURIST report], 21 of whom were civilians, and raped 36 women, including a 10-year-old girl.