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Archive for the tag “Movement”

Unlawful, unjustified and disproportionate use of force against protestors in DR Congo – UN report (19.03.2018)

Between 1 January 2017 and 31 January 2018, at least 47 people, including women and children, were killed by security services and defence forces in the context of demonstrations.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 19, 2018 –  The right to freedom of peaceful assembly was severely restricted and often violently suppressed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017 and the trend continues so far this year, according to a UN report issued on Monday. The report* documents killings and other serious human rights violations due to the use of excessive force by security services and defence forces in relation to mass protests.

Between 1 January 2017 and 31 January 2018, at least 47 people, including women and children, were killed by security services and defence forces in the context of demonstrations and there are indications that Congolese security services have attempted to cover up these serious human rights violations by removing the bodies of victims and obstructing the work of national and international observers, the report states.

The report, published jointly by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)**, describes the lack of compliance with national law and international standards, in particular the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, precaution and accountability, related to the use of force by security services and defence forces during the suppression of peaceful demonstrations between January 2017 and January 2018.

The report is based on information collected during six main mobilization days and it states that while some people armed with sticks and broomsticks did attempt to perpetrate violence during some protests, the vast majority of demonstrators were peaceful. The use of excessive force – including lethal force – by the authorities was thus unlawful, unjustified and disproportionate.

The report also states that increasing restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms coupled with inflammatory speeches and threats against demonstrators are cause for deep concern at a time when it is particularly important to create an environment conducive to peaceful elections.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui, said the report highlights impunity gaps and a continued shrinking of the democratic space in the country observed since the beginning of 2015.

“This is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 31 December 2016 Agreement and its confidence-building measures. Demonstrations are intrinsically related to freedom of expression and it is absolutely necessary that all voices can be heard in the context of the forthcoming elections,” Zerrougui said.

“The creation by the Ministry of Human Rights of a joint commission of inquiry*** with representatives of the civil society is a positive step forward for accountability and reparation for the victims,” she added. Zerrougui welcomed the findings of the Commission and urged their full and swift implementation. She expressed the readiness of the UN to provide support in that regard.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the systematic suppression of demonstrations, including through the use of disproportionate force, is a serious breach of international human rights law and the laws of the DRC. There is an urgent need for a meaningful, transparent and independent judicial investigation into these violations and other allegations.

“It is particularly disturbing that security services and defence forces carry out this violence with almost full impunity which can be perceived as encouraging such repression,” he said. “We are seeing the quashing of dissent at all costs – even at the cost of human life – in the DRC by the systematic deployment of armed forces alongside the Police Nationale Congolaise to handle protests.”

Zerrougui and Zeid urged the Government to allow the exercise of the rights to peaceful assembly and expression, warning that repression would only breed frustration, could lead to serious deteriorations in the security situation in the country and could pose a threat to the electoral process. For credible elections to be held at the end of this year, the Government has an obligation to ensure that people’s civil and political rights are respected and their exercise is facilitated.

* The full report in French only can be accessed here: ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/CD/BCNUDH-Report_March2018.pdf

** The UN Joint Human Rights Office, which was established in February 2008, comprises the Human Rights Division of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC (OHCHR-DRC).

*** At the request of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the report of the joint commission of inquiry is annexed as an answer to the UN report.


The 758th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – (14.03.2018)

RDC: CLC – “Appel du Comite Laic De Coordination – Jusqu’Au Bout Nous Irons!” (12.03.2018)


RDC: PALU & MLC – Communique de Presse (09.03.2018)


RDC: Comite Laic de Coordination – Communique de Presse (07.03.2018)


RDC: Communique de Presse (07.03.2018)


UNHCR Briefing Notes – Rekindled tension in DR Congo’s Kasai region poses new threat to civilians, displaced (06.03.2018)

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Aikaterini Kitidi – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 6, 2018 –  UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, remains deeply concerned at the situation in the Kasai region of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where continuing instability poses a grave risk to civilian safety, including for several hundred refugees recently returned there from Angola.

Congolese government forces have regained control of large areas of the Kasai, nonetheless there is sporadic fighting between the armed forces and militia groups. Meanwhile, tensions remain high between different ethnic groups, threatening to plunge the region into new violence. UNHCR staff in Tshikapa, a city some 60 kilometres from the border with Angola, report that several internally displaced people, as well as those who have returned from Angola, have been unable to return to their communities because of inter-ethnic hostility.

In February, the tensions led to the internal displacement of over 11,000 people further north in the region, in Mweka Territory. These are in addition to the approximately 900,000 Congolese who have been internally displaced since the Kasai crisis erupted in 2016.

The Kasai conflict has also forced over 35,000 Congolese to seek refuge in Angola. Since September 2017 some of them have spontaneously returned to DRC – only to find that reaching their former homes is impossible. Many are today living in churches and mosques, while others were forced to move to different provinces.

Support for the returnees to rebuild their houses is often absent, as humanitarian funding does not at present allow for a major rebuilding programme. For 2018, UNHCR has requested US$ 368.7 million to help those affected by the DRC crisis. So far we have received just 1 per cent of this.

Among Congolese refugees in Angola, many say they are unwilling to return to their areas of origin at present, because of the fragile situation. UNHCR also believes that returns are not yet possible in a safe, dignified and sustainable manner, since peace and security are lacking.

UNHCR was therefore deeply concerned to learn a few days ago of the forced return of some 530 Congolese from Angola to the DRC between 25 and 27 February. Among them, 52 were registered refugees living in Dundo town close to the DRC border, and about 480 were unregistered refugees staying at the Cacanda reception centre in Dundo. The returns were carried out despite UNHCR’s requests to the Angolan authorities to undertake joint screening of the unregistered group.

UNHCR urges the Angolan authorities to refrain from further forcible returns of Congolese to their country. Should conditions change, UNHCR stands ready to assist the authorities in DRC and Angola in voluntary repatriation discussions.


MONUSCO chief condemns targeted attacks against civilians in Ituri (04.03.2018)

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 4, 2018 – The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui, remains gravely concerned by the violence in Djugu territory, Ituri province, that has resulted in the killing of dozens of people since January 2018.

The most recent attack occurred on 1 March 2018 in the village of Maze, in which at least 33 people have been killed.

“I am deeply shocked by this latest attack which has targeted civilians, and that the majority of the victims were women and children. I express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and those affected by this horrifying act”, said the Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

“I condemn all kinds of violence and I call on the authorities to swiftly investigate this attack and to ensure that justice if fully served. The perpetrators of these acts must be held to account”, added Mrs. Zerrougui.

The burning of huts, forced displacement and sexual violence directed against women have also been reported in recent weeks in the Ituri province, located in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In support to the Congolese Government-led efforts to address the deterioration of the security situation, MONUSCO has reinforced its presence in the area with the deployment of three temporary military bases in Djugu, Blukwa and Fataki and increased patrolling in Djugu territory since 10 February 2018. The Mission is also engaging all communities and authorities to prevent future attacks and stabilize the situation in the region.


RDC: Mise Au Point (03.04.2018)


RDC: Ministere des Mines lettre – “Objet: Vos Lettres addresses a Son Excellence Monsieur le President de la Republique relatives a la revison du Code de Minier de 2002 – Inviation” (02.03.2018)


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