A prominent human rights group has called on the United Nations and the Democratic Republic of Congo to disarm rebel Rwandan armed groups in eastern Congo.

In a report Wednesday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) also said that the safety of civilians must be ensured during the operations.

The rights group said efforts to disarm the rebels, mostly ethnic Hutus, in early November failed after they refused to cooperate.

The rebels, generally called Ex-FAR (members of the former Rwandan army) and Interahamwe, are mostly responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide that killed about 800,000 people during a three-month period.

Human Rights Watch's senior Africa advisor, Alison Des Forges, says disarming Rwandan rebel groups is crucial for regional stability.

Rwanda has threatened to go after the rebels if they are not disarmed.