21 February 2014

Congo-Kinshasa: UN Peacekeepers in Eastern DR Congo Meet With Injured After Political Rally Turns Violent

The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today expressed concern after a political rally in South Kivu turned violent, leaving dozens of people injured, including several who have detailed their stories to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

"Such events appeal to everyone's conscience," said Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN mission, known by the French acronym MONUSCO.

"I wish to remind the shared responsibility of political actors as well as administrative and security officials," he added. "Preserving peace and security for all as well as respect for human rights is everyone's responsibility."

According to information from MONUSCO, the incidents occurred yesterday during a rally organized by the Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC) at Independence Square in Bukavu.

Nearly 50 people have reportedly been injured, according to health and police officials who spoke with the Mission. UN staff have been able to visit 20 civilians and police to hear their testimonies.

In its statement today, MONUSCO, which among its primary tasks is mandated by the UN Security Council to protect civilians in the country, noted that the freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration are enshrined in the Congolese Constitution.

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