UN human rights boss to visit RD Congo and Burundi

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Staff writer

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, will visit Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo starting Monday, 30 April 2012, to strengthen cooperation on human rights with the two countries his office has announced.

During his three-day mission to Burundi, 30 April to 2 May, Šimonović will encourage national efforts to establish a truth and reconciliation commission in line with international standards and practices.

The government drew up last year a draft law on the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission following the 2009 national consultations on transitional justice.

Šimonović will also apprise himself of the general human rights situation and discuss with senior government and UN officials, the national independent human rights commission and civil society representatives national efforts to advance human rights, the rule of law and accountability.

At the conclusion of his mission to Burundi, Šimonović will hold a press conference at the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) in Bujumbura on Wednesday, 2 May at 11.30 am.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2 May to 9 May 2012, Šimonović will seek stronger cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the new government, national and international actors to promote and protect human rights throughout the country.

Šimonović will visit North Kivu, Kasai Occidental and Kinshasa to hold discussions with Congolese authorities, officials of the UN peace operation in the DRC (MONUSCO), UN agencies, international and local NGOs. Issues to be discussed include the current human rights situation, MONUSCO’s efforts to protect civilians and fight impunity, and national transitional justice processes.

In a field trip to the Angolan border of Kasai Occidental, Šimonović will look at the situation of the DRC nationals expelled from Angola and discuss the issue with UN officials and international and local NGOS.

The visit of the UN’s most senior human rights official in New York takes place ahead of the expected renewal by the Security Council of MONUSCO’s mandate, which will expire on 30 June 2012.

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