Harper expresses concern about rights in DRC, won't boycott summit

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DAKAR, Senegal - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has concerns about human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Canadian government will express those concerns during an upcoming summit.

He says he's worried about abuses in a country where sexual assault is frequently used as a weapon in conflict between the military and rebel groups.

There were also allegations of myriad irregularities in the election that kept Joseph Kabila's government in power.

Still, Harper doesn't appear to have considered boycotting this week's Francophine summit in Congo.

He has already threatened to skip the upcoming Commonwealth conference in Sri Lanka unless that country makes progress on human rights.

But asked at a news conference why that same standard wouldn't apply to Congo, Harper sidestepped the question.

He was asked about his imminent visit at a news conference during the first stop on his African tour, in Dakar, Senegal.

Geographic location: Democratic Republic of Congo, DAKAR, Senegal Sri Lanka

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