News Releases - On the 22nd of March, the Human Rights Council carried out an interactive dialogue with NGOs and States on the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights violation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
At the opening of the session, Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General displayed the results of the special procedures in Congo. He underlined the deterioration of the situation in DRC these last months. Human Rights violations increase of 30% in 2016 compared to 2015. This intensification of violence and human rights violation can be explained by two factors: the presidential elections were postponed moreover there was a resurgence of armed groups. The Assistant Secretary General stressed the disproportioned use of the force by the military which is sometimes aimed to women and children. Furthermore, DRC makes difficult for the OHCHR bureau on the ground to monitor these violations by giving them only limited access to morgue and hospital. The office of the High-commissioner of the human rights points out that they do not take any side. Every perpetrators of crime should face fair trial.
The special representative of the Secretary General and head of the MONUSCO, Mr. Maman Sambo Sidiku, presented their observations. The evolution of the situation on the ground is critical and the safest way to progress is the implementation of the agreement concluded on the 31st January 2017. An agreement implementing a framework of action until new elections can be held in December 2017.
One represent of the civil society Mr. Fred Bauma Melbre from Lucha (The struggle for change) emphasize the aggravation of the situation stressing on Impunity as the main issue. In his word, “Les rares cas en cours de jugement et même devant la CPI ne pourront apaiser la soif des congolais pour la justice” which is trandlatable as “the rare case before the different court (national and the ICC) won’t be able to calm down the thirst for justice of the Congolese people”.
Her Eminence, Ms. Marie Ange Mushobekwa Minister for Human Rights in the DRC, delivers a speech: the increase of the violence in the Kasaï region are the results of the militias’ existence, precisely an armed group called Kamuina Nsapu which actions can be assimilated to terrorist’s actions.
Some “undisciplined elements” of the military forces of the DRC may be found guilty of some of these human rights violation. However these “undisciplined elements” acted alone. They violated the principle of the military forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Concerning the restriction of the freedom of speech and the freedom of peaceful demonstrations the government stress again that these interdictions are linked to the current violent atmosphere in DRC. The DRC still is a model of freedom: there is in DRC around 500 political parties according to Her Eminence-, and independent TV and radio channel more than anywhere in the world.
The member states of the Human Rights Council expressed their views on the reports concerning the RDC during a two minutes speech for each delegate.
Most of the countries reiterate the need of a situation’s amelioration. Furthermore the government needs to put an end to the interdiction of peaceful demonstrations and encourage the efforts of the government of the DRC. The European Union group, without putting the blame on any forces expressed serious concerns about the situation in the RDC. Tunisia speaking in the name of the Union of African Countries congratulated the government on its progress and maintained his attachment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial unity of the DRC.
Following the intervention of the member states, the NGOs have addressed their speeches. The CIRAC accusing Her Eminence Ms. Marie-Ange Mushobekwa of lying about the fact that violations of human rights were the results of independent “undisciplined elements” as reports shown that the orders were given by the Chief of the Congolese Army. Dunenyo association’s representative expressed with strong words the situation of the DRC. According to the association the DRC has become a “vast concentration camp were the public authority can act recklessly”. Overall a majority of NGOs expressed their worries about the situation.
To wrap up the session, Her Eminence Marie Ange Mushobekwa repeated that the restriction of peaceful demonstration’s freedom is the consequences of the current violence in the country and an exceptional measure. The government wants to punish the perpetrators of the crimes. The progress made by the government can’t be denied and what was wrongly done will be reviewed with the help of the international community and the civil society. She stressed the audience that justice will be done and the government has nothing to do with some “undisciplined elements” of the army committing these crime.
EF - Research Assistant at CIPADH