Statement: Investigation needed into human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

35th session UN Human Rights Council
Statement on situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 
20 June 2017

CIVICUS shares the concern of the High Commissioner over the widespread human rights violations committed in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces of the DRC since August 2016. 

Extrajudicial executions of civilians and other atrocities have been systematically carried out forcing over 30.000 people to flee to neighbouring countries and leaving approximately 1.27 million others internally displaced.

We are concerned by the threats and increased violence targeting journalists including those who covered the massacres in the Kasai region.  We express alarm over the closure of private media outlets deemed critical of the government.

Mr. Vice President, peaceful protests held recently were violently repressed and security forces carried out widespread arrests of people suspected of organising or participating in such protests.  

We are also concerned about the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders for exposing failures of the national economy, the provision of social services and democratic reform. 

Sadly, some of these human rights defenders are being held in undisclosed locations without access to family members and lawyers. Others have been tortured while in detention.  

We urge the Council to launch an independent  international investigation into the atrocities committed in the Kasai region and for all perpetrators to be held accountable for their actions.