DR Congo 3500 exmilitia members in volatile district agree to disarm

21 August 2007Another 3,500 ex-militia members from one of the most volatile corners of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have agreed to disarm, demobilize and try to reintegrate into the community, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the vast African country has reported. The mission, known as MONUC, reported that three armed groups in Ituri district in the DRC’s far northeast provided lists of combatants by last Friday’s deadline to join the third phase of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme, which is run by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).The militias involved are the Mouvement Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC), the Front de Résistance Patriotique de l’Ituri (FRPI) and the Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes (FNI).Under the programme, the ex-militia members will be registered, asked to hand over their arms and then given assistance to reintegrate into either civilian life or the national armed forces. UNDP expects about 70 per cent of the former combatants will choose civilian life, while 30 per cent will retrain for the new integrated brigades of the armed forces.Combatants rejoining civilian life will receive $110 to help with transport costs and an entry card into the community reconstruction service, which will allow them to work on manual labour projects such as the rehabilitation of roads, schools and sanitary systems for $2 a day for up to 90 days. If they want to set up their own business, they will be given access to microfinance through local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Former militia members wanting to enter the integrated armed forces will be transported to the city of Kisangani for training before they can enter the brigades.Last week the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC – and MONUC chief – William Lacy Swing travelled with the mission’s force commander Gen. Babacar Gaye to the town of Bunia in Ituri for a two-day visit to evaluate the progress of the DDR programme.During his visit Mr. Swing stressed the need for participants to adhere strictly to the timetable of the DDR programme so that it can continue through all of its phases.He also emphasized the importance of the “one man, one weapon” concept, which is a requirement of the DDR programme’s third phase.“There are issues relating to registered troops who present themselves for DDR but do not have weapons, and others who come with a weapon but are not registered for the programme,” Mr. Swing said. read more

Lanka urged to decriminalize irregular departures

The Special Rapporteur also urged Sri Lanka to ensure that all persons, regardless of citizenship or migration status, enjoy the rights provided for in the Constitution of Sri Lanka without any discrimination, in accordance with international human rights law. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, has urged Sri Lanka to decriminalize irregular departures from Sri Lanka, as irregular migration should only be seen as an administrative offence.In a report to the UN Human Rights Council which begins meeting in Geneva on Monday, François Crépeau has also proposed that the Government refrain from detaining returned Sri Lankans who have migrated irregularly. He has also urged the Government to enhance cooperation with civil society organizations working on migration-related issues, and include them in all relevant discussions.The report is based on a visit he undertook to Sri Lanka last year. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants conducted an official visit to Sri Lanka from 19 to 26 May 2014, where he visited Colombo, Kurunegala, Kandy, Tangalle and Galle, and held consultations with government officials, the United Nations country team, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, diplomats, recruitment agents, trade union representatives, civil society organizations and migrants. The focus of the visit was labour migration from Sri Lanka and related recruitment practices, and their impact on the human rights of migrants. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Sri Lankan authorities to regulate labour migration and protect the rights of its citizens who migratee abroad, but notes the need to fully implement a human rights approach in that respect.The Special Rapporteur also looked into the situation of migrants in Sri Lanka. He notes the need to regulate and monitor the detention of migrants in Sri Lanka, and to revise constitutional provisions which discriminate against migrants. (Colombo Gazette) “Detain migrants in an irregular situation in Sri Lanka only as a measure of last resort, for as short a period as possible, and systematically apply alternatives to detention, particularly for families and children, who should never be detained; in that respect, consider the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur in his report on the detention of migrants in an irregular situation and alternatives to detention (A/HRC/20/24),” he said. read more