The situation in eastern DR Congo is a major human rights challenge for the international community, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, told a high-level segment of the Human Rights Council on March 2. The Minister virtually delivered his statement during the 52nd Session at the United Nations Office in Geneva's Palais des Nations. ALSO READ: DR Congo’s problems cannot just be wished away – Kagame The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. At the onset, Dr Biruta reiterated that Rwanda remains committed to upholding its human rights obligations, as enshrined in the Constitution, and other national, regional, and international standards. ALSO READ: We are going to make sure DR Congo is not Rwanda’s problem – Kagame “We need to renew our joint commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and discuss frankly the challenges of politicization of human rights frameworks,” he added, noting that the situation in eastern DR Congo is a major human rights challenge for the international community. However, he noted, the conflict eastern DR Congo was started by, and is the responsibility of, the Congolese government. Dr Biruta said: “It is a dishonest political stunt to turn a domestic conflict about the fundamental rights of Congolese citizens into an accusation against Rwanda, right here in the Human Rights Council.” The dishonest political stunt of turning a domestic conflict about the fundamental rights of Congolese citizens into an accusation against Rwanda, Dr Biruta noted, “is a political tactic that always comes up” in DR Congo before elections, to whip up populist support and silence opposition. ALSO READ: Congolese MPs pressure Tshisekedi to address FDLR presence Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on February 27 claimed that a conflict with rebels in the east of the country could disrupt preparations for general elections scheduled for December 20. Tshisekedi told a UN Human Rights Council session that: The persistence of the war in the east of our country risks jeopardising the electoral process, which is already underway, due to a massive displacement of people from combat zones, the insecurity and the inaccessibility of these areas.” ALSO READ: DR Congo crisis: Understanding FDLR’s source of funding Meanwhile, Dr Biruta said, the DR Congo has refused all peace plans from the regional processes. “We also object to the characterization of Congolese refugees as a ‘false pretext’. These refugees are people with rights, who fled because of the very governance problems which are at the root of the conflict, and who are targeted by constant hate speech and targeted killings incited by the DRC government because of their ethnicity. They are people who should be able to go home in safety and dignity,” Dr Biruta said. ALSO READ: Kagame questions silence on FDLR crime He, again, noted that the preservation of the genocidal militia FDLR by the Congolese government, whose army, FARDC, continues to arm and fight alongside the genocidal militia is a major cause of conflict and human rights abuses in Eastern DRC, and a serious threat to Rwanda’s security. Dr Biruta said the Human Rights Council “should not countenance the type of hypocrisy and double standards proffered by the DR Congo President.