GENEVA, May 8, 2019 — Nation after nation lined up at the UN yesterday to shower praise on the human rights record of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a notorious abuser of human rights, during a mandatory review that all UN member states undergo every five years at the UN Human Rights Council. DRC is itself a member. (See quotes at bottom.)
While the review is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens, 76 out of 99 countries that abused the opportunity by showering praise on the country, according to a count by UN Watch.
Another 12 countries expressed some praise for DRC’s alleged achievements while also applying scrutiny in their statements. If one includes these statements, then 88 out of 99 countries, or 89%, expressed praise for the DR Congo government.
Only a small minority of countries challenged DR Congo—an elected member of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council—with the criticism and questioning it deserved based on its well-documented record of human rights abuses.
A 2018 UN investigation suggests that abuses by DRC security forces amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Some abuses include deliberate killings of civilians, use of child soldiers, mass rape, and widespread torture.
Unfortunately, some countries praised the country’s recent elections as evidence for the government’s progress in the realm of human rights, despite the fact that several international election observers have cast doubt on the integrity of the election results.
Representing DRC at the UN session was Marie-Ange Mushobekwa, the country’s human rights minister, who boasted of several strides in the realm of human rights since their last review five years ago.
“It’s a great privilege for us to sit in the Human Rights Council, and we shouldered the commitment to behave in an exemplary fashion,” she said.
PRAISE OF DRC AT UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
May 7, 2019
North Korea: “We commend [DRC’s] steadfast commitments and sincere efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights.”
China: “We welcome [DRC’s] efforts and focus in terms of promotion and protection of human rights.”
Libya: “We commend the Democratic Republic of Congo for promoting gender equality and protecting human rights.”
South Africa: We are “encouraged by the [DRC’s] reduction of child involvement in conflicts.”
Venezuela: DR Congo’s “internal legal order is in line with human rights commitments.”
Russia: “We support the Congolese authorities and their efforts to improve the situation of human rights.”
Eritrea: “My delegation congratulates the government [of DRC] for progress made.”
Zimbabwe: “The DRC adopted a number of legislative measures to enhance the realization of the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.”
Iraq: “The organization of elections had its effect strengthening democratic principles in the country.”
Burundi: “The [DRC’s] elections were democratic, transparent, free, and took place peacefully.”
Egypt: “We take note with satisfaction [DRC’s] efforts taken linked to human rights.”
Mauritania: “Our country hails progress made [by DRC].”
Myanmar: “Myanmar commends efforts of the [DRC] government.”
Chad: We commend “true political will [of DRC] to promote human rights.”