GROHE Minta Touch – cleanliness at your fingertips

Ushering in a new era of convenience around the kitchen sink, Minta Touch from GROHE (www.GROHE.com) is unique in that it can be operated in two different ways. Being a touch-sensitive faucet, it can be operated simply by touching the spout or the faucet body. This highly hygienic, extremely reliable and impressively water-saving way of drawing water is made possible by the innovative EasyTouch technology. At the same time, Minta Touch can also be operated using its conventional lever. The bottom line: a hybrid faucet offering an all-new level of everyday convenience.

Available with an elegant C-shaped spout with extensible spray or with a stylish L-shaped spout with extensible mousseur, GROHE Minta Touch delivers a perfect flow of water in any situation. Dirty, greasy, sticky or messy fingers? No problem at all – a light touch with the back of your hand, wrist or lower arm is all it takes. This way the faucet and the rest of the kitchen are sure to stay clean and uncontaminated. With your hands clean, the faucet can also be operated using the ergonomic lever which benefits from GROHE SilkMove® technology for precise and comfortable handling.

Minta Touch is perfectly child proof as well. Its EasyTouch functionality rules out the risk of scalding, given that it releases only the cold water flow. Users who do not want to do without warm water can add the Grohtherm Micro upgrade which features a customisable temperature preset function while at the same time ensuring 100 percent protection against scalding.

The advanced functionality of GROHE Minta Touch is complemented by its aesthetics. The GROHE StarLight® chrome plating process ensures that the finish will stay brilliant and soil-repellent for many years to come. In addition, the tall spouts make light work of filling tall pots and vases. This latest incarnation of Minta once again demonstrates the enormous potential inherent in this successful line of kitchen faucets.

GROHE Minta Touch – the next level of convenience at your fingertips.

Distributed by APO on behalf of GROHE.

For media inquiries please contact:
Lina Varytimidou
Varytimidou@GroME.com

About GROHE:
GROHE (www.GROHE.com) is the world’s leading provider of sanitary fittings and a global brand, dedicated to providing innovative water products. For many decades, GROHE has been committed to the brand values of technology, quality, design and sustainability that all illustrate GROHE’s commitment to creating exceptional experiences and to delivering “Pure Freude an Wasser”. With its engineering, innovation and design activities firmly anchored in Germany, GROHE products bear the badge of quality “Made in Germany”, ultimately strengthening the customers’ confidence in the brand. All plants of the GROHE manufacturing network make use of high-precision production engineering to ensure compliance with consistently high GROHE standards. This way GROHE ensures that its products live up to the most uncompromising demands in terms of workmanship and functionality. Over the past ten years alone, the success of GROHE has been confirmed by more than 240 design and innovation awards as well as several top rankings as one of “Germany’s most sustainable major companies”. Numerous high-profile projects around the globe are fitted with GROHE products, testifying to architects’, designers’ and developers’ preference for the brand. GROHE is part of the LIXIL Group Corporation, a publicly listed company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. LIXIL is the global market leader in the sanitary ware industry, managing a broad portfolio of well-known household brands such as GROHE, American Standard, and INAX. It is also Japan’s leading provider of housing and building materials, products and services.

About LIXIL:
LIXIL (www.LIXIL.com) is the most comprehensive and connected global company in the housing and building industry, delivering human-centric innovation that enhances people’s living spaces – we call this Living Technology. Delivering core strengths in water, housing, building and kitchen technologies, our brands including LIXIL®, GROHE®, American Standard Brands, DXV, INAX® and Permasteelisa® are leaders in their industries and regions. Operating in more than 150 countries and employing more than 80,000 people, we bring together function, quality and design to provide better living solutions to the world today and for future generations. Learn more at www.LIXIL.com and follow us at www.Facebook.com/lixilgroup.

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UNHCR Representative’s message to South Sudanese refugees in Sudan on World Refugee Day

Marking World Refugee Day with South Sudanese refugees in Al Nimir camp in East Darfur State, UNHCR’s Representative, Noriko Yoshida, called on the South Sudanese who fled to Sudan not to lose hope for the future.

Over 400,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Sudan since December 2013. Many have faced harsh circumstances on their journeys to find safety in Sudan.

Speaking to refugees in Al Nimir camp, Yoshida said: “Today, I am asking you to believe in the future. You must not lose hope that peace will return to South Sudan and that you will finally be able to return home. Until such a time comes, we will do our best – UNHCR and Sudan – to stand with you”.

She urged refugees: “Strive to create new opportunities in the places you have settled in. I urge you to continue to contribute positively to Sudan while respecting its laws. UNHCR’s experience demonstrates that refugees bring a positive contribution. I am sure South Sudanese in Sudan refugees will prove this true”.

Yoshida thanked local host communities in Sudan, their leaders, state governors, and Sudan’s authorities at all levels, including the Commission for Refugees: “Without your support and efforts, the lives of countless refugees would be much harder. Your generosity certainly does not go unnoticed”, she said.

Yoshida has called for greater donor support for refugees in Sudan, specifically for host communities that have generously extended their assistance to new arrivals even with often limited resources.

She commended the Government of Sudan for working closely with UNHCR. She also praised the work of sister UN agencies, including WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, and IOM for their contribution to the refugee response in Sudan.

Speaking in Al Nimir camp alongside the United States of America’s most senior representative in Sudan, Steven Koutsis, she welcomed the support of the American people.

“America’s presence here in Al Nimir camp on World Refugee Day is symbolic of the international community’s stand with refugees. The American Government and its people have been a key contributor towards the UN High Commissioner’s refugee programme globally, including support for refugees in Sudan for a long time. I sincerely thank you for your efforts on behalf of all refugees in Sudan”, Yoshida said.

The United States of America is the largest contributor to UNHCR in Sudan having provided USD 28.4 million in 2017, including support for the response for South Sudanese refugees in states affected.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Council Discusses Côte d’Ivoire and The Democratic Republic of the Congo under Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

The Human Rights Council in its midday meeting held an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on enhancing capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights. It then heard an oral update by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo followed by an interactive dialogue.

Mohammed Ayat, Independent Expert on the enhancement of capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, said that considerable progress had been made in Côte d’Ivoire, and the general situation in the country was on the way toward returning to normal. The most important thing was the Security Council’s decision to bring an end to its mission in the country, and that the Human Rights Council had decided to bring the mandate of the Independent Expert to an end. That showed the situation had returned to normal. The decisions that the Security Council and the Human Rights Council had taken were based on certain parameters. The objective parameters were for the moment valid and relevant, but the international community needed to take care and remain vigilant in the run-up to presidential elections in 2020.

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the Independent Expert for his support in aiding the country to improve its human rights record. The Government had taken measures to improve the living standard of citizens. On strengthening the rule of law and the fight against impunity, the Government reaffirmed its willingness to shed light on all allegations of human rights violations, and to establish a transparent, independent and impartial judiciary. A project to draft a law on the protection of witnesses was under way.

In the interactive dialogue that followed, delegations commended the progress made in the national reconciliation process and in improving the rule of law and the security situation, and welcomed the steps taken to fight sexual violence, including by the army. Speakers noted that the cases of mutiny since January 2017 had brought urgency to the need to implement security sector reforms and urged the Government to address the impunity for the post-electoral violence. It was of concern that the closure of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire and the simultaneous end of the mandate of the Independent Expert would reduce international support and scrutiny at a time when human rights challenges were increasing and the situation in the country remained fragile.

Speaking were Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, European Union, Benin, United States, Sudan, Togo, France, Algeria, Mali, Mozambique, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Kingdom, and Botswana.

Also speaking were the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions, and the following non-governmental organizations: International Service for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Human Rights Watch, International Catholic Child Bureau (joint statement), Espace Afrique International, Amnesty International, and Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in an oral update to the Council on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said the humanitarian and human rights situation had deteriorated dramatically and various actors were fuelling ethnic hatred, resulting in extremely grave, widespread and apparently planned attacks against the civilian population in the Kasais. Some 1.3 million internally displaced persons had fled. The Congolese Government had not fulfilled its obligations of protection and accountability. The Democratic Republic of the Congo could not be permitted to become a free-fire zone, where members of the security forces, armed groups and militias could kill with impunity. The High Commissioner urged the Council to deploy an independent international investigation on the human rights situation in the Kasais.

Marie Ange Mushobekwa, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking as the concerned country, reiterated the will of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the promotion and protection of human rights. She said that the undisciplined Congolese soldiers who had opened fire on civilians in several villages had been identified and brought before the courts. The Democratic Republic of the Congo deplored the barbaric murder of two United Nations experts, Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán, and two suspects had already been arrested. The international community should provide technical and logistical support to the authorities in the investigative work and in the prosecution of suspects in accordance with the criminal code in force.

In the interactive debate, some delegations expressed deep concern at the violations of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, condemning summary executions, grave violations committed against children such as killing and recruitment, sexual violence and attacks on schools. Those speakers also roundly supported the urgent creation of an international independent investigation to improve accountability on human rights violations. The presence of mass graves was also noted with extreme concern. Other speakers praised the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the efforts it had undertaken, while urging the international community to continue providing technical assistance and capacity building.

Speaking were European Union, Czechia, Greece, United States, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Sudan, Slovenia, Togo, Croatia, France, Venezuela, Egypt, Algeria, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Netherlands, Ireland, Botswana, China, Luxembourg, Burundi and the United Kingdom,

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: Human Rights Watch, World Evangelical Alliance, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Espace Afrique International (joint statement), CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International, International Catholic Child Bureau (joint statement) and Dominicans for Justice and Peace – Order of Preachers.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo spoke in right of reply.

The Council will at 3 p.m. hold its annual discussion on technical cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights, which this year is dedicated to the theme “A decade of technical cooperation and capacity building in the Human Rights Council: challenges and the way forward”.

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Independent Expert on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights (A/HRC/35/43).

Presentation of Report by the Independent Expert on the Enhancement of Capacity Building and Technical Cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the Field of Human Rights

MOHAMMED AYAT, Independent Expert on the enhancement of capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, said the report concerned the mission undertaken to the country. In the course of the trip, meetings had been held with authorities of the country. The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire would come to a final conclusion soon. Another recent indication of renewed confidence was the fact that the country had been elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Considerable progress had been made, such as the adoption of a decree bringing to operation a law on the protection of human rights defenders. Côte d’Ivoire continued to show encouraging rates of development, at approximately eight per cent. Human development indicators needed to rise alongside macroeconomic ones. Regarding security, the general situation was on the way toward returning to normal. Everybody had to ensure that the calm dialogue with workers making wage demands continued as the Government negotiated with them. Three elections had been held, which was a major step forward. There was a dialogue, truth and reconciliation commission, and its report had finally been published. The national commission for reparation and compensation to victims had recorded the names and numbers of victims of violence and instability.

Regarding justice issues, it was noted that the legal system needed time to get to the truth. Given the importance of bringing about national reconciliation, it should be given priority. Justice must be handed down in a balanced way. The National Human Rights Commission had just published its 2016 report; increased harmonization between that Commission and the Paris Principles was something that was yet to be seen. The regional committees had already been set up. In the course of Mr. Ayat’s last two visits, he said it seemed to him that the most important thing was the Security Council’s decision to bring an end to its mission in the country, and that the Human Rights Council had decided to bring the mandate of the Independent Expert to an end. That showed the situation had returned to normal. The decisions that the Security Council and the Human Rights Council had taken were based on certain parameters. The objective parameters were for the moment valid and relevant, but the international community needed to take care and remain vigilant in the run-up to presidential elections in 2020.

Statement by the Concerned Country

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the Independent Expert for his support in aiding the country in improving its human rights record. The Government had taken measures to improve the living standard of citizens. As for displaced persons, an evacuation operation to infiltrate the national park Mont Péko had been launched. With respect to refugees in Burkina Faso, the Government had initiated a policy to permit the return of 270,000 out of 300,000 registered refugees. On strengthening the rule of law and the fight against impunity, the Government reaffirmed its willingness to shed light on all allegations of human rights violations, and to establish a transparent, independent and impartial judiciary. A project to draft a law on the protection of witnesses was under way.

Interactive Dialogue

Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the progress made by Côte d’Ivoire, particularly in the post-conflict reconstruction and the overall political consolidation. The African Group fully supported Côte d’Ivoire’s membership in the United Nations Security Council and urged the international community to continue aiding the country to strengthen the rule of law. European Union welcomed the progress made since 2011 in establishing stability, security and transitional justice in Côte d’Ivoire. It was essential that those who allegedly committed human rights violations were brought to justice. Another priority was security sector reform. Benin noted the progress made in Côte d’Ivoire in political, security and macro-economic terms, as well as in the pursuit of a dialogue between all political actors. Benin urged the international community to continue providing assistance to Côte d’Ivoire.

United States recognized the progress made by Côte d’Ivoire since its peaceful 2015 elections. However, the Government had been slow to implement security sector reform and to work towards political reconciliation following the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis. Sudan applauded the cooperation of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire with the Independent Expert, and political and legislative developments in the country. Sudan noted efforts deployed by the Government to promote and protect human rights. Togo welcomed the excellent cooperation between the Independent Expert and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, which would help identify the country’s needs in the domain of technical assistance. It noted the economic progress of the country, and the establishment of a regional human rights commission.

France said that a challenge that remained was to fight impunity for the post-electoral violence and its importance for the lasting reconciliation in the country. The cases of mutiny since January 2017 had brought urgency to the need to implement security sector reforms and the international community should continue to support the authorities in the promotion and protection of human rights. Algeria commended the progress made in improving the rule of law and the security situation in Côte d’Ivoire, and especially in the area of national reconciliation and social cohesion. The international community should continue to provide support and assistance to this country. Mali welcomed the wisdom of the people of Côte d’Ivoire expressed in the elections in December 2016 and the setting up of the commission to combat sexual violence, but was concerned about the fragility of the national reconciliation process. Mali urged the Government to seek negotiated solutions with the army and the workers’ unions.

Mozambique commended the progress made in the reconciliation process with the support of the international community and hoped that it would continue to assist Côte d’Ivoire until it consolidated peace and security. United Nations Children’s Fund was worried about violence against children in Côte d’Ivoire, noting that 17 per cent of schoolchildren were victims of rape and 73 per cent were victims of physical violence. Civil status registration remained another issue of concern, given that over 2.7 million children and youth were not registered and were thus deprived of nationality. United Kingdom welcomed the progress that the Forces Armées de Côte d’Ivoire had made in combatting sexual violence but was concerned about the fragility of the progress in the country, as demonstrated by the recent military and civil service protests. How could the international community best support Côte d’Ivoire following the departure of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire? Botswana welcomed the considerable achievements of Côte d’Ivoire, notably national reconciliation and social cohesion, reform of defence, security and law enforcement sectors, and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants. Botswana encouraged Côte d’Ivoire to remain steadfast in the protection of human rights.

Network of African National Human Rights Institutions noted the improvement in the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the establishment of a national human rights institution. It called for further support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council, as well as other technical parties, to Côte d’Ivoire. International Service for Human Rights applauded the fruitful cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and the Independent Expert, voicing hope that it would contribute to strengthening the process of national reconciliation and the fight against impunity. It voiced concern over the security of human rights defenders in areas where there were military mutinies. International Federation for Human Rights Leagues noted that Côte d’Ivoire was still facing the consequences of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. Among those challenges, the fight against impunity, providing justice to victims, and the rule of law were the most essential.

Human Rights Watch noted that there was a long-standing weakness in Côte d’Ivoire, as exemplified by military mutinies in January 2017. The inability of the Government to hold some military officers accountable for the crimes committed during the 2002-2003 conflict and during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis had contributed to an impression that the military was above the law. International Catholic Child Bureau, in a joint statement with, Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and Mouvement International d’Apostolate des Milieux Sociaux Independants, stated that the Government of Côte d’Ivoire had to ensure the implementation of the National Action Plan for Legal Protection of Children and Youth. Another concern was the treatment of former child soldiers. Espace Afrique International stated that in order to manage the post-conflict situation in Côte d’Ivoire, the international community should be informed by good practices from similar situations in other countries. It called on the international community to continue supporting Côte d’Ivoire.

Amnesty International welcomed the progress made in the legal protection of human rights defenders. It was concerned that the closure of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire and the simultaneous end of the mandate of the Independent Expert would reduce international support and scrutiny at a time when human rights challenges were increasing and the situation in the country remained fragile. Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme said that Côte d’Ivoire remained fragile because of demobilized combatants who threatened the civilian population and urged the international community to provide financial support to human rights institutions to complete their mandates, not only in the country but in the region at large.

Concluding Remarks

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the Independent Expert, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council for their assistance to the country. Côte d’Ivoire took note of the concerns raised in the discussion and reiterated the commitment to continue to deal with the pending issues, including those related to human rights.

MOHAMMED AYAT, Independent Expert on the enhancement of capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, concluded by saying that considerable progress had been made in Côte d’Ivoire as an overwhelming number of delegations had acknowledged in the discussion today. This included the participation of the country in the Universal Periodic Review during which it had accepted the majority of the recommendations received. Côte d’Ivoire had further presented its report to the Human Rights Committee and had positively accepted its concluding remarks. Other achievements included the abolition of the death penalty, the legislation on the protection of human rights defenders, and peaceful elections had taken place on three separate occasions, which considering where the country was coming from, was a remarkable progress. There were civil society organizations, a national human rights institution and a coordination mechanism between the military and the National Human Rights Commission, particularly in the effort to combat sexual violence. Côte d’Ivoire had been taken off the red list of countries with regard to sexual violence in conflict.

The key question now was what needed to be done in light of the completion of the two mandates – that of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire and of the Independent Expert. This meant that the responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights was squarely on the shoulders of the Government. Côte d’Ivoire should continue to follow the path it had taken: develop the legislation on labour and rape and maintain the momentum on the reform and bring greater balance on the judiciary, above all. The international community should continue to aid Côte d’Ivoire, stressed the Independent Expert. Mr. Ayat thanked civil society organizations for their cooperation and support, and urged the civil society in Côte d’Ivoire to make the most from the new law on human rights defenders and make their work ever more visible. The Government and the international community should work together to put in place a focal point to coordinate the efforts to build capacity of national institutions to promote and protect human rights, and this would effectively mean that the international community would not abandon the country.

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Oral Update on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, recalled that three months ago, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had reported to this Council serious concerns about the human rights violations and abuses committed by the Congolese army and police, and the Kamuina Nsapu militia in Kasai, Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental. Subsequently, when two United Nations experts were killed, the Minister for Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo called for a joint investigation to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses to justice.

Since then, the humanitarian and human rights situation had deteriorated dramatically and various actors were fuelling ethnic hatred, resulting in extremely grave, widespread and apparently planned attacks against the civilian population in the Kasais. Last week, given the gravity of the allegations received and restricted access to parts of the greater Kasai area, the High Commissioner had deployed a team of Office of the Human Rights Commissioner investigators to interview recent refugees from the Kasais. Their reports were harrowing and indicated the situation in the Kasais had not only escalated but had become more complex.

The High Commissioner was appalled by the creation and arming of a militia, the Buna Mura, which had carried out horrific attacks against civilians from the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups. Refugees from multiple villages in the Kamonya territory indicated that the Bana Mura had shot dead, burned to death and mutilated hundreds of villagers. In the village of Cinq, dozens of men, women and children of the Luba and Lulua communities were reportedly killed with firearms or machetes, or burnt to death on 24 April. Similar attacks appeared to have occurred in more than 20 villages in Kamonya over the past two months and numerous victims and witnesses said the militia was organized and armed by local authorities. In several villages in Kamonya, Kamuina Nsapu had allegedly carried out targeted killings, including members of the police and the army. Witnesses indicated that the Kamuina Nsapu militia comprised many children, some as young as seven, many of them under the influence of drugs. Some 1.3 million internally displaced persons had fled this landscape of horror. Over 30,000 refugees had been registered in Angola and hundreds of refugees were currently arriving every week. Forty-two mass graves had been documented by the Joint Human Rights Office in the Kasais and there might be more.

High Commissioner Zeid deplored that to date, the Congolese Government had not fulfilled its obligations of protection and accountability. Progress had clearly been insufficient in view of the massive scale and horrific nature of the crimes that had taken place and, sadly, continued. The Democratic Republic of the Congo could not be permitted to become a free-fire zone, where members of the security forces, armed groups and militias could kill with impunity. Last year, of more than 5,190 human rights violations and abuses recorded, 64 per cent were committed by the Congolese army and police. The High Commissioner urged the Council to deploy an independent international investigation on the human rights situation in the Kasais.

Statement by the Concerned Country

MARIE ANGE MUSHOBEKWA, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking as the concerned country, reiterated the will of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the promotion and protection of human rights and said that the undisciplined Congolese soldiers who had opened fire on civilians in several villages had been identified and brought before the courts. The trials had started on 1 June, and were being observed by representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and human rights civil society organizations. The Democratic Republic of the Congo deplored the barbaric murder of two United Nations experts, Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán, and said that two suspects had already been arrested. At the request of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been involved in the discussions about the investigation, and the Government was open to the involvement of Swedish authorities as well. The trial of the suspects had started on 15 June and all would be done to bring to justice all those responsible for the murders of the two Experts and their Congolese colleagues.

The Minister said the Central Prosecution Office had been asking the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kananga for several weeks now to conduct a joint investigative mission. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights must deal appropriately with the issue of mass graves and with the phenomenon of the Kamuina Nsapu militias. The issue of mass graves must not become a slogan by some States which in 2003 had told the entire world that Iraq had been developing weapons of mass destruction, the evidence of which had not yet been found. The international community should provide technical and logistical support to the authorities in the investigative work and in the prosecution of suspects in accordance with the criminal code in force.

Interactive Dialogue

European Union was deeply concerned by the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had a negative impact on the whole region. In response to the escalation of violence in the Kasais, the European Union supported the urgent creation of an international independent investigation to improve accountability on human rights violations. Czechia expressed concerns about serious violations committed in the Kasais by both the local militias and national security forces. Czechia firmly supported the call of the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation into human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in the Kasais, including the existence of at least 42 graves. Greece was concerned by the ongoing violence in the Kasais and its catastrophic impact on local populations. The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must actively cooperate with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo MONUSCO to investigate the violations of human rights in this region. Perpetrators must be brought to justice. Greece also deplored the recruitment of children by militias.

United States supported the establishment of an international independent mission to investigate human rights violations and abuses in the Kasais, including the alleged targeting of civilians, women and children by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and militia groups. The United States also noted that uncertainty over the national government’s commitment to hold elections was fuelling violence. Germany was deeply concerned by the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its regional consequences. Germany outlined that compliance with United Nations Security Council resolution 2348 and the commitments made under the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016 were key to bring about transparent, peaceful and democratic elections.

Switzerland was seriously concerned about the increase and worsening of violence throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Noting that the Government had not taken adequate measures to address human rights violations, Switzerland urged the immediate establishment of a credible and independent international investigation into human rights violations in the Kasais region. Belgium was concerned about 40 mass graves and the displacement of more than 1.3 million civilians in the region, and supported the call to establish an independent international investigation into human rights violations. Belgium urged the full implementation of confidence building measures from the 31 December 2016 agreement, and for the registration of all voters in all regions, including the Kasais.

Sudan commended the efforts of the Government to investigate the events in the Kasais and supported the efforts to reform the legislation, and the establishment of a national human rights institution pursuant to the Paris Principles. Slovenia was deeply concerned by the continued violence and human rights violations in the Kasais and elsewhere in the country, and condemned summary executions, grave violations committed against children such as killing and recruitment, sexual violence and attacks on schools, and supported the credible and transparent investigation of all reports of human rights violations.

Togo expressed concern at the worsening situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the Kasais region. The efforts of the Government to protect the civilian population were commended, and should be stepped up; the United Nations should offer logistical and material assistance to Congolese authorities. Croatia expressed concern at the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noting that reports of human rights violations were appalling. The international community should do more for the peace process in the country. France condemned violence committed by all parties, some of which could be considered tantamount to war crimes. The authorities held the primary responsibility for human rights in the country. A robust resolution should be adopted establishing an international investigation.

Venezuela said technical assistance and capacity building brought about conditions to improve the human rights situation in a country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo should be supported as it improved human rights in the country; unilateral sanctions would violate the country’s rights. Egypt called on all national and international parties to help the country to protect its civilians, and expressed hope that negotiations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights would produce results. Algeria commended measures taken to bring to justice perpetrators of serious violations of human rights, and said the Democratic Republic of the Congo had shown great responsibility in conducting investigations. The international community should give the country the support it required.

Portugal was gravely concerned by reports of human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the Kasais provinces. Portugal was deeply worried about the recent discovery of 42 mass graves and underlined the importance of fighting against impunity and ensuring that the perpetrators of crimes were brought to justice. Angola urged the Congolese authorities to continue their efforts to avoid a further escalation of violence that had led to the displacement of more than 1 million persons. Angola noted that it had opened its border in order to receive refugees fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo and called on the international community to mobilise resources to support the Congolese Government with technical cooperation to strengthen the capacities of civil servants in the field of human rights. Mozambique deplored the deterioration of the security situation in the Kasais region and voiced concerns about the executions that were carried out, including of women and children. It was important to strengthen the cooperation between the Congolese authorities and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in Congo.

Netherlands was alarmed about the reports of massive destruction of schools and the killing of women and children in the Kasais provinces. The Netherlands called on the international community to take steps to put an end to those violations of human rights and to establish an independent mechanism to investigate all human rights violations. Ireland shared the concern of the High Commissioner about the increasing violence in the Kasais. Reports on the recruitment of children by militias and the abusive use of force by national security forces were extremely worrisome. Ireland urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to maintain its cooperation with the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the Congo.

Botswana expressed deep concern at developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saying regional and international efforts should be continued with the goal of the promotion and protection of human rights. The Government’s commitment to work with the Human Rights Council was encouraging. China had taken note of the report submitted and was concerned about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The parties in question should preserve the interests of the country and the people and take the opportunity offered by the agreement to continue to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations. Luxembourg expressed worry about the increased violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the growing number of displaced persons. Luxembourg supported the establishment of an independent international inquiry into serious human rights violations.

Burundi noted that the Congolese justice system had launched proceedings against persons suspected of having killed the two United Nations experts. The Universal Periodic Review was the best framework for constructive dialogue for the Human Rights Council to assess the human rights situation in any country. United Kingdom said the political situation pointed to a downward trajectory in the next months, with at least 42 mass graves found so far; it was vital that those events were properly investigated. Underlying much of the current tension was the failure to organize elections and the Government should allow elections to take place before the end of 2017.

Remarks by the High Commissioner

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, outlined that, after a meeting with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Minister of Human Rights on 5 May, an agreement had been reached on establishing a roadmap to implement an independent investigation on human rights violations in the country. This roadmap would provide the United Nations with full access to information, including on the situation of detainees and a strengthened cooperation with the Congolese authorities. Subsequently, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had set up a task force to implement the roadmap. However, there had been no agreement on what the roadmap would include. On 24 May, an alternative roadmap was transferred by the Congolese authorities. The High Commissioner reiterated his commitment to the first roadmap.

High Commissioner Zeid outlined that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was sharing information with the authorities through regular reports. The crimes committed by the Kamuina Nsapu militias had been condemned, and the cruelty of their crimes should not act as an excuse for the abuse of force by security forces. The High Commissioner underscored that it was the first time that the Office had heard that the excavations of graves had started. Some 42 mass graves still needed to be investigated so that justice could be done. On the death of the two United Nations experts, the High Commissioner outlined that the location of these crimes was known and that the United Nations was not in a position to conduct proper investigations. The High Commissioner deplored that not a single person responsible for the killings committed in December 2016 had been arrested. Several officers allegedly involved in human rights violations had been decorated which was an insult to the victims. Furthermore, investigations in security forces remained insufficient to enforce the discipline required for an army. The High Commissioner welcomed the recent signature of an agreement to fight against the use of children in armed conflicts. Finally, High Commissioner Zeid deplored that in spite of numerous requests, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had not been able to determine the needs of assistance of its population.

Interactive Dialogue

Human Rights Watch drew attention to the fact that hundreds and possibly thousands of people had been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since August 2016. Human rights teams had uncovered at least 42 mass graves, most of them believed to be the work of the Congolese army. World Evangelical Alliance supported the establishment of an international investigation on grave human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A study had shown that about 42 per cent of men and 39 per cent of women in the Nord Kivu region had been diagnosed with psychological problems due to their exposure to traumatic events. International Federation for Human Rights Leagues deplored the stagnation in the political process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Violence and human rights abuses by different armed groups had intensified in an alarming way in a number of provinces. The region of Kasais had become a theatre of unprecedented violence.

Espace Afrique International, in a joint statement with, Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs, Association Dunenyo, Comité International pour le Respect et l’Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (CIRAC) and Organisation Internationale pour le Développement Intégral de la Femme, stated that the Kabila regime had no credibility since 19 December 2016. The massacres in the Kasais and other regions showed that the regime was determined to stay in power through violence. Impunity reigned in Kabila’s Democratic Republic of the Congo. CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation expressed serious concern over the widespread human rights violations in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since August 2016. It urged the Council to launch an independent investigation into the atrocities committed there. Amnesty International noted that the human rights situation in the Kasais region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo required immediate action from the Council. More than 2,000 children had been recruited by Kamuena Nsapu, more than 600 schools had been destroyed, and 400,000 children were at risk of severe malnutrition.

International Catholic Child Bureau, in a joint statement with, Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Mouvement International d’Apostolate des Milieux Sociaux Independants, and Pax Christi International, International Catholic Peace Movement, denounced the malfunctioning of the juvenile justice system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saying custodial sentences were being resorted to. Provisions were taken to map the justice system’s provisions for children; the authorities should truly implement reforms of the justice system. Dominicans for Justice and Peace – Order of Preachers said there was generalized hunger and violence, and the growing insecurity in the Kasais regions were further destabilizing an already bad situation. The international community needed to bring pressure to bear, and establish an investigative mechanism.

Right of Reply

MARIE ANGE MUSHOBEKWA, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking in a right of reply, said there was no link between atrocities committed in the Kasais and the fact that legislative and presidential elections had not been held. There was no country in the world that would accept a militia starting activities and attacking State facilities. If such acts occurred in the West, they would be called acts of terrorism. The Democratic Republic of the Congo condemned all the killings in the Kasais, and reassured the Council that sanctions imposed would be commensurate with actions taken. Some police officers committed abuses in Western countries against some communities, especially in the United States. Those who were perpetrators of those crimes would be punished.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Mali

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack carried out at a hotel in the outskirts of Bamako on 18 June.

The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the bereaved and the families of the victims as well as to the people and Government of Mali and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General commends the rapid response by the Malian defence and security forces and the French forces, which MINUSMA supported.

The Secretary-General has offered his full support to the Government of Mali in its efforts to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. This act strengthens the United Nations’ determination to support the people of Mali, the Government and the signatory armed groups in their efforts to uphold the peace agreement, to counter terrorism and violent extremism and their quest for lasting peace and stability.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Mali

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