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Switzerland deplores violence in Congo

The foreign ministry says it is "deeply concerned" by the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly by the humanitarian impact.

It has called on all parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue and commit themselves to the search for a political solution to the crisis.

In a statement, the ministry said the violence in the east of the country had led to massive displacements of the population and was seriously impeding access to humanitarian aid.

It said Switzerland was "very worried" about reports of collective rape. Such crimes had to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The ministry called on all sides to guarantee rapid and unimpeded access to all those giving humanitarian support and to take the necessary measures to guarantee their protection and freedom of action.

Switzerland's humanitarian aid has provided support to conflicts in the east of the country since 1999, during which it has contributed financial aid of SFr5–7 million ($4.3–6 million) annually.

This support goes mainly to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Programme and the United Nations refugee agency.

In view of the developments in the province of North Kivu, Switzerland intends to increase its contribution to these organisations.

Switzerland also contributed SFr17 million this year and provided three military observers to support the UN Observation Mission in its mandate to protect civilians.


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The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting