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DR Congo: UN mission begins sensitization training for Government troops

20 June 2008 – Government forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are being given a week-long training course in child protection, human rights, sexual violence and military justice by the United Nations mission in the country (MONUC).

Nearly 1,800 soldiers from the national armed services, known as FARDC, are receiving the training in South Kivu province in the east of the country as part of a new zero tolerance campaign on the recruitment of children into armed groups, which was launched by the head of MONUC, Alan Doss, last week.

Earlier this week MONUC released a report that found that the FARDC was among the main violators of human rights in the country with its members accused of rapes, acts of torture, armed robberies, extortion and arbitrary arrests.

The human rights course is part of 12 weeks of professional training that includes courses in military tactics, weapons handling, logistics and professional ethics.

On completing the training the troops will be deployed in South Kivu with the aim of reestablishing state authority in an area that sees frequent attacks by Congolese militia and foreign armed groups.

Meanwhile MONUC, in its weekly report on the security situation in the country, said that the west was relatively calm, although there had been several violations of the ceasefire in the north east, as well as a wave of forced recruitment of children by various armed groups.

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