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May 18,2007
Congo prisons dismal
by UPI

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo - The Democratic Republic of Congo needs to act quickly to improve its dismal prison system, a United Nations commissioner said.

"Congo's prisons are overpopulated because there are many prolonged detentions as most detainees don't have access to justice," said Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Arbour spoke Thursday after visiting the penitentiary in Kinshasa, which holds 3,000 and was built to hold 1,500, said the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network.

Arbour also petitioned federal authorities to compile an inventory of serious human rights violations that occurred between 1992 and 2003, before the International Criminal Court was established.

Many former fighters, rebel chiefs and militia leaders now serve in the DRC's army and government, she said, emphasizing she opposes amnesty for any official who committed crimes in the past.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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