Democratic Republic of Congo: UN reports reveal clear use of excessive force, rife impunity for rights violations - African Business Magazine
Close
Democratic Republic of Congo: UN reports reveal clear use of excessive force, rife impunity for rights violations

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN reports reveal clear use of excessive force, rife impunity for rights violations

Congolese police, armed forces and the Republican Guard used excessive – including lethal – force during demonstrations in Kinshasa last month, when at least 53 people were killed over two days, 143 injured and more than 299 unlawfully arrested, according to a UN preliminary investigation report released today.

The preliminary investigation by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO* documented 422 victims of human rights violations, including violations of the right to life, to physical integrity, to the liberty and security of the person, peaceful assembly and expression. The figures do not reflect the full extent of the violations, as the UN teams were denied access to official records of some morgues and public hospitals as well as various detention facilities, including two key facilities where many of those arrested and many dead bodies were reportedly taken. Investigations are ongoing.

Of the 53 people documented killed, including seven women and two children, at least 48 were killed by State agents, including the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and soldiers of the Garde Républicaine (GR) and the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC). Perpetrators were not identified in the killing of four police officers and one woman.

The vast majority of the victims – 38 of them – were shot dead. Many of them were shot in the head, chest and back, including a five-year-old girl who was shot in the back, the report states. Others died after being burned, stabbed, beaten or attacked with machetes. Of the 143 documented as injured, 75 were victims of the excessive use of force by State agents while 68 were injured by unknown perpetrators.

The report documents the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of local and international journalists, as well as the destruction and looting of the premises of eight political parties. The report also documents reports of violence by demonstrators. Of the four police officers killed, three were beaten to death and one burned alive.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the DRC Maman Sidikou urged Congolese authorities to conduct prompt, thorough, independent, credible and impartial investigations into the very serious human rights violations documented in the report. Sidikou raised deep concerns about the widespread impunity that prevails in the country, highlighting the findings of another UN report ** released today which reveals that a very low number of State agents, especially senior officers, and leaders and combatants of armed groups, are prosecuted and convicted in the DRC for human rights violations.

“While there has been progress, and some 447 FARDC soldiers and 155 PNC officers have been convicted in relation to human rights violations committed between January 2014 and March 2016, widespread impunity continues,” Sidikou said.  

“Strong political will is needed to ensure justice and reparation to all victims of serious violations. This is particularly crucial in this volatile pre-electoral context,” Sidikou said. “Effective justice is a major deterrent for future violations of human rights and it is the cornerstone for peace and stability.”

The report on impunity cites the fragile legal framework and the lack of judicial independence and resources as major challenges to the prosecution of perpetrators. In light of the growing number of human rights violations committed by police officers, particularly in the pre-electoral context, the report calls on the Congolese authorities to urgently develop and implement a strategy to prosecute the perpetrators, and to send a clear “zero tolerance” message to end human rights violations by State agents.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed deep concern at the mounting number of very serious human rights violations by State security officers in recent months. He urged the authorities to prioritise justice and accountability for serious human rights violations and remedy for the victims.

“Impunity for serious human rights violations – including the shooting, hacking and mass arrests of protestors – has been a chronic problem in the DRC for decades now. This is clearly outrageous and serves to fuel an already explosive situation in the country. While the rate of prosecutions appears to be rising, new violations continue to be perpetrated with alarming frequency,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

“A clear message needs to be relayed from the highest levels of Government that security forces must operate in line with international human rights laws and standards, must refrain from the excessive use of force and that those who breach these laws and standards will be held to account regardless of the affiliations and rank of the perpetrator. As I emphasized during my visit to the DRC in July 2016, the Government urgently needs to take measures to defuse the tensions in the country, particularly by freeing all those detained for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression.” 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Media files
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Download logo

Rate this article

Author Thumbnail
Written by African Business Magazine

African Business and its award-winning team is widely respected for its editorial excellence. We provide the all important tools enabling you to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. Our special reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including Energy, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Agriculture to name but a few.

Related Posts

  • U.S. Condemns Terror Attack in Al-Arish

    The U.S. Embassy condemns the attack in Al-Arish today that killed several Egyptian police officers and wounded many others, including civilians. These officers gave their lives in the line of duty helping protect their fellow citizens. We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wish the wounded a speedy recovery. The Embassy stands with Egypt and the Egyptian people as they build a stable, secure, and prosperous country for all citizens.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

    Media files
    U.S. Embassy - Cairo
    Download logo

  • A world-class wheelchair basketball coach to train the team of South Sudan

    At the invitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jess Markt, a wheelchair basketball coach for people with disabilities is coming from the United States, and will arrive in Juba on January 10, 2017 to coach players, train coaches, classifiers and referees from Juba and Yirol.  
     

    Jess began playing wheelchair basketball at the age of 19 after suffering a spinal cord injury. He has been coaching wheelchair basketball since 2009, and has trained teams in Afghanistan, India, Palestine, Cambodia and in his home state of Colorado.

    “We are excited that Jess will coach the South Sudan team. They are very motivated and we hope that this training will enable them to participate in international competitions in future” says Venkatakannan Packirisamy, ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Project manager in South Sudan.

    In South Sudan the ICRC supports three physical rehabilitation centers that provide mobility devices and therapy. Together with the South Sudan Wheelchair Basketball Association (SSWBA) it organizes weekly wheelchair basketball games to promote social inclusion for people with disabilities. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Media files
    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
    Download logo

  • Finalists for the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017 announced

    Six African SMEs have been nominated as finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017, supported by the Rabobank Foundation. Out of the 51 projects from around the continent and following a few rounds of selection, the jury has selected these innovative projects from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania for their social, economic and ecological impact, and their potential for growth and job creation nationally and regionally. The winner will be announced during the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) 2017 (http://APO.af/y28Bux), which will be held in Nairobi from 13-16 February. 

    Official Finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017:

    • Aybar Engineering (Ethiopia) – The company has developed the “Aybar BBM”, a technology that prevents excess water from suffocating crops and stores it for later use. There is no other similar technology in the market.  
    • R n G Company limited (Kenya) – The company sells packaged Rhizo-fix (groundnut inoculum), a biofertilizer that ensures a more efficient groundnut production. It also collects the groundnuts from local farmers to produce affordable cooking oil.
    • EuroFresh Exotics (Kenya) – The company produces and exports fresh fruits and vegetables using innovative farming techniques. They also organise capacity building trainings for smallholder farmers.
    • First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics (Nigeria) – This company has developed the “Zenvus”, an intelligent solution to collect soil data using a system of electronic sensors. Its mission is improve farming productivity.
    • Kimolo Super rice (Tanzania) – The company is specialized in processing and marketing branded rice and sunflower oil. The project is environmentally friendly since smallholder farmers produce paddy using water run-off from nearby hills.
    • Eco Act (Tanzania) – The company was established to address the challenges of urban waste management, plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change. They recycle and transform post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber.

    The AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 aims to provide African-based innovative SMEs with support to grow their businesses. The six finalists will receive a free accreditation to join the AFIF 2017 full programme (http://APO.af/JM5nx8) (conferences, trainings, B2B meetings and networking opportunities). The award winner will receive cash prize and one year of national and international media promotion.

    “We are delighted to announce the finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 after a really difficult selection process. The innovation and creativity of African-based SMEs makes our job more difficult every year. We look forward to welcoming these and many more entrepreneurs at the AFIF 2017 in Nairobi” says Inês Bastos, EMRC (www.EMRC.be) Senior Project Manager.

    “I am now internationally known,” says Lazaro Mwakipesile (Raphael Group, Tanzania), winner of the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2015. He adds: “I have travelled abroad four times this year to present our company. I expect to travel to the United States soon for a meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.

    The new edition of the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will be held for the first time in the vibrant city of Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Strathmore University. In line with growing international trends, the AFIF will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance in key sectors such as energy, water, ICT, health and agriculture. Delegates (SMEs managers, investors, entrepreneurs…) will come from across the world to participate in the AFIF 2017.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of EMRC.

    For further information about the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017, visual material or interviews, please contact: 
    Aretha Francis 
    Media and Communications Manager
    AF@EMRC.be  
    +32 2 626 1510

    Press Accreditation AFIF 2017:
    If you wish to cover the Africa Finance and Investment Forum 2017 (13-16 February 2017, Nairobi), please send the request to AF@EMRC.be indicating Name, Country and Media Outlet by 23 January.

    Social Media – Follow us on: 
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/_EMRC_ 
    Facebook: www.Facebook.com/EMRC.International  
    LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/company/emrc   

    About EMRC:
    Established in 1992 in Brussels, EMRC (www.EMRC.be) is a non-governmental organisation composed of a network of entrepreneurs, financiers, consultants and officials based throughout the world. EMRC’s mission is to lead the private sector in Africa to sustainable economic development and to drive regional change via partnerships. 

    About AFIF:
    The Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) (http://APO.af/y28Bux) is an annual business event organized in the framework of EMRC International’s activities, aimed at strengthening the private sector in Africa, encouraging entrepreneurship and attracting investment to the African continent. AFIF has a double objective: to strengthen the financial capacities of Africa’s private sector and to promote the creation of new partnerships through the encouragement of joint projects and trade relations North-South & South-South.

    Media files
    EMRC
    Download logo

  • USAID Support to ISTEP Program Gets People with Disabilities into the Workplace

    Over the past three years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) Association to help hundreds of people with disabilities to prepare for and enter the workforce. The Inclusive Training and Employment Program for and by persons with disabilities, also known as ISTEP, was designed to bolster Ethiopia’s efforts to support disability inclusive development.

    Because the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce is a relatively new concept in Ethiopia, ISTEP addressed the challenges faced by both the prospective employees and potential employers. To better prepare prospective employees with disabilities, ISTEP worked with 21 mainstream Technical Vocational Education and Training institutes (TVETs) and universities to improve their institutional capacity to provide skills development training for people with disabilities and trained approximately 750 instructors and support staff. Several of these institutions are now making campuses more accessible to people with disabilities. With support from ISTEP, nearly 300 people with disabilities were enrolled in TVETs and received skills training in areas including food preparation, making leather products, construction and metal works. ECDD also helped job seekers with disabilities to be stronger job candidates by helping them to prepare resumes and get ready for interviews.

    ISTEP also worked with the City Administrations in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, as well as the regional administrations in Tigray and SNNPR to create a more enabling environment for self and formal employment of people with disabilities. The program then worked with more than 70 companies to encourage them to take on people with disabilities for internships and paid positions and to train their human resources staff on best practices for integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces. So far, 88 TVET and university graduates with disabilities have secured formal jobs with employers like the Mosaic Hotel and Kedir Yasin Metal Work PLC, while another 168 have received valuable hands-on experience through internship placements in private and public sector workplaces. In addition, 93 TVET graduates with disabilities received support to start their own individual or joint businesses.

    “Before I began work, people did not want to even shake my hand, as if my blindness would pass on to them. But the situation changed after I got employed – there was a complete change of attitude. I feel my pride restored and feel respect in the community because of what I have achieved.’’ Lukas Zida, Counselor at Otana High School in Wolayta Sodo and an ISTEP beneficiary.

    Companies or organizations interested in partnering with ECDD can contact Mr. Retta Getachew, the Executive Director of ECDD at: ECDD, P.O Box, 1530 Code 1250, Addis Ababa, Tel: +251-11-4700014. Email: info@ecdd-ethiopia.org, Retta-G@ecdd-ethiopia.org.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Media files
    U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Download logo

  • Latest News portal telling Africa’s story launches in Accra, Ghana

    A new pan-African news portal www.AfricaFeeds.com has been launched in Accra, Ghana.

    The portal will provide readers in Africa and beyond the latest and relevant news about Africa and the world in general.

    Readers of the site get at first hand, content on latest breaking news about Africa in all areas including entertainment, business and sports, with special focus on all the sub-regions on the continent.

    Founder and CEO of Africa Feeds Media, owners of the news portal, Isaac Kaledzi said the desire to tell the story of Africa the best way, motivated the establishment of the portal.

    He said in Accra that “I believe the story of Africa must be told and told better than we do currently. The African story must be told, not just the unfortunate happenings of war and hunger but the struggles and efforts by ordinary individuals to make this Continent great and that is exactly what we want to do with this news portal”.

    “African journalists work hard under challenging conditions and deserve an independent platform to share what they see and observe with the rest of the world in an unbiased and fair manner” Mr. Kaledzi added.

    Readers can access the portal via their mobile phones, tablets and desktops with 24/7 news services. An Africa feeds TV Channel is to be launched in the coming months to provide a 24/7 news TV content to Africans and the rest of the world at large.

    Mr. Kaledzi said “This is a huge project but we are confident that this is the way to go, we must provide a platform that enables the African to tell his or her own story and also for the African to know what is happening on his or her continent from the African perspective without perceived foreign influence”.

    AfricaFeeds(dot)com, a subsidiary of the Africa Feeds Media group is funded through commercial revenues and officially started operations on November 3, 2016.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Feeds.

    Media files
    Africa Feeds
    Download logo

  • Infertility is Not a Stigma: Merck More than a Mother championed by Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari continues its quest to empower more infertile women; this time in Nigeria

    Merck More than a Mother campaign launched in Nigeria was championed by the country’s first lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari. The launch held in Abuja, Nigeria is in partnership with Senate Commission on Health; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Future Assured organization.

    Merck More than a Mother continues its commitment to break stigma around infertility and empower infertile women by improving access to information, education, healthcare and change of culture and mind-set to de-stigmatize infertility.

    Her Excellency Mrs. Buhari pledged her support and the support of Nigerian Governors’ wives in the implementation of Merck More than a Mother’s activities in Nigeria focusing on eliminating infertility stigma and creating awareness and providing information and education on causes of infertility; facilitating access to healthcare; and economic and social empowerment of infertile women.

    The Nigerian women leaders also supported the empowering of infertile women who form a vulnerable part of the population. Infertile women in Nigeria and many other African countries who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through Empowering Berna initiative. Empowering Berna is part of Merck More than a Mother campaign.

    Helen Phillip, a Nigerian woman from the North shared her story of suffering from infertility stigma and expressed her gratitude to the support Merck more than a Mother provided her through establishing new business so that she can become an independent productive member in her community.

    Watch Nigeria’s infertile women sharing their stories of social suffering of infertility stigma and their transformation after the economic and social empowerment provided by Merck more than a Mother through Empowering Berna project:

    “In Nigeria we have been advocating for the end of harmful traditional practices including the stigmatization of women which is prevalent all over the country. Women have not been coming out openly because they are traumatized. With this campaign we will encourage them to speak out and we pledge our support and collaboration,” said Hon. Aisha Alhassan, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development. 

    Merck More than a Mother campaign is a great initiative to break the stigma around infertility and to empower an unprivileged category of women in Africa, women who suffer infertility. Infertile women have been neglected, mistreated and discriminated because they cannot bear a child, yet 50% of infertility is due to male factors. We can together improve access to education, information, awareness, health care and change of mind-set and culture to stop these women’s suffering,” said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

    Prof. Isaac Adewole Hon. Minister of Health emphasized: “We are responsible for policy at the Ministry level and this is where we can make a difference in improving access to fertility care in Nigeria. We will work through training institutions we are responsible for to strengthen fertility management by making it a sub-specialty. We will also as a Ministry work with private sector, the Senate and the National Assembly to improve governance and quality of care to provide standards to protect infertile men and women seeking treatment.”

    Merck More than a Mother was first implemented in Kenya in 2015 followed by Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

    To read more about Merck More than a Mother, visit www.MerckMoreThanAMother.com and www.Merck-CAP.com

    Distributed by APO on behalf of For Africa Forever.

    Media Contact:
    Lucy Kaaya
    Chief Editor 
    ForAfricaForever@gmail.com

    About the stigma of infertility in Africa:
    Jackeline Mwende, the recent victim of Infertility stigma tells us her story of suffering of Iterrible violence by her husband. Merck more than a Mother committed to work hard to ensure that no other woman would suffer the same way Jackeline did. Watch her story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niMNO-jz0yA&t=37s).

    Media files
    For Africa Forever
    Download logo

    Multimedia content

Join our mailing list

If you would like Independent, Informative and Invaluable news analysis on the African continent, delivered straight to your inbox, join our mailing list.

Help us deliver better content