KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on all parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to adhere to international human-rights laws.
The ongoing violence in the DR Congo's volatile eastern province of North Kivu has since August forced an estimated 250,000 to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. Officials are optimistic about the possibility of an end to clashes after the capture of rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, who was arrested by Rwandan authorities Friday.
The ICRC called on all rebel and government leaders Monday to follow international laws on human rights, the ICRC reported. The ICRC said in order to achieve peace, the lives and dignity of the civilian population must be preserved, and that international laws prohibit sexual violence and the recruiting of children into armed forces.
"Civilians have paid and continue to pay a heavy tribute to the armed conflicts in the region," Max Hadorn, head of the ICRC delegation in the DR Congo, said in a statement.
"Entire families have been overcome with grief and thrust apart. The suffering could be avoided if the parties to the conflict complied with international humanitarian law."