21 March 2018

Congo-Kinshasa: Forces Hid Bodies of Murdered Protesters

Photo: Radio Okapi/Ph. John Bompengo
Riots in Kinshasa (file photo).

Kinshasa — GOVERNMENT forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have killed at least 47 people, including women and children, during protests against President Joseph Kabila this year.

There are indications security services attempted to cover up the violations by removing bodies of victims and obstructing the work of national and international observers.

The United Nations has documented the 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.

The report, published jointly by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) bemoans in dealing with public protests.

Increasing restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms, coupled with inflammatory speeches and threats against demonstrators, are also raised ahead of elections set for the end of the year.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, jointly stated, "We are seeing the quashing of dissent at all costs even at the cost of human life."

The envoys said for credible elections to be held at the end of this year, the beleaguered government has an obligation to ensure that people's civil and political rights are respected and their exercise was facilitated.

The Central African country of some 80 million people is beset by tensions since Kabila stayed in power despite the lapse of his term in 2016.

He has been in power since 2001.

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