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Rare praise given to DRC on fighting torture

July 10, 2013 at 10:38 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 10 (UPI) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo is being recognized for taking its international obligations to prevent abusive behavior seriously, a U.N. envoy said.

Juan Mendez, U.N. special envoy on torture, praised the DRC for its effort to deter abusive behavior in the African country. The DRC government has charged at least 12 national security officials for practicing or encouraging torture since a national law criminalizing abusive behavior was passed in 2011.

DRC has been embroiled in rebel conflict since the March 23 Movement mutinied last year. The rebel movement is suspected of committing human rights abuses and its leader, Bosco Ntagadna, is awaiting trial at The Hague in the Netherlands for war crimes.

Mendez said he was encouraged by the DRC government's commitment to human rights, calling for a sustained effort to put an end to a cycle of violence and impunity.

He said in a statement Tuesday the government needs "to make sure that every allegation of torture or of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is investigated by law enforcement officers and that those responsible are held accountable for their acts."

Violence has escalated in DRC this year. Rebel forces have responded aggressively to the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping brigade mandated to use force to quell the violence in the DRC.

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