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Congo-Kinshasa: Human Rights Monthly Assessment - March 2008


 

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United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)

DOCUMENT
14 May 2008
Posted to the web 14 May 2008

Human Rights Division

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

• The UN Human Rights Council decides not to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC;

• During a meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Matadi, Bas-Congo Province, the Government imposed a ban on Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK);

• The UN Security Council has demanded that all the Rwandan armed groups, operating in the eastern DRC lay down their arms, and present themselves without any further delay or preconditions to Congolese authorities and MONUC for their disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR).

• Attacks, threats and arrests of journalists and human rights defenders increased during the month in review;

• In North and South Kivu, UNHRO opens investigations into allegations that between 1 and 12 March 2008, thirteen (13) civilians were allegedly arbitrarily executed by elements of the PARECO armed group;

• The UNHRO has observed serious violations of fair trial standards in the Serge Maheshe appeal trial in Bukavu, South-Kivu;

• Three police officers and five FARDC soldiers were sentenced to 20 and 10 and 5 years' imprisonment respectively for rape;

• Law enforcement personnel and judicial officials have continued to engage in out-of-court settlement of sexual violence cases despite very clear provisions of the new laws on sexual violence;

• Eighty (80) inmates escaped from the prisons and detention centres across the country in March 2008.

I- Political, Social and Security Developments

1. The period under review was marked by major political, social and security recommendations, resolutions and decisions taken by the Government of the DRC, the National Assembly and the UN Security Council. On 20 March 2008, President Kabila presided over a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Matadi, Provincial capital of Bas-Congo.

Among the several decisions taken by the Government figured that of the withdrawal of the authorization that had been granted to the politico-religious movement Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) to function as a cultural and non-profit organization. The Government used the opportunity to address pressing issues affecting the Bas-Congo Province, including lack of proper communication and transportation infrastructures, inadequate water and electricity supply and unemployment, particularly among the youth.

2. Through its Resolution 1804 on the situation in the Great Lakes region, adopted unanimously on 13 March 2008, the UN Security Council demanded that all Rwandan armed groups, including FDLR, ex-FAR/Interahamwe, operating in the eastern DRC lay down their arms, and present themselves without any further delay or preconditions to Congolese authorities and MONUC for their disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration.

It also demanded that the Rwandan arms groups stop recruiting and using children, release all children associated with them, and put an end to gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence, and stressed the need for those responsible to be brought to justice

3. In Bas-Congo, reports suggest that a large number of BDK adepts as well as some PNC elements lost their lives during PNC operations launched against the BDK on 28 February 2008. Prior to the PNC intervention, BDK members had taken control of several localities in the province and carried out several attacks against civilians, Christian church representatives and members, State representatives and symbols.

4. From 17 March to 28 March 2008, a MONUC multidisciplinary Investigation Mission conducted investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations committed by the PNC during operations against the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) as well as into criminal acts committed by BDK members in the Bas-Congo province. A report is being prepared.

5. On 15 March 2008, the two chambers of Parliament held official ceremonies to mark the opening of their ordinary sessions, which will last from 15 March until 15 June. During its three-month ordinary session, the Parliament is expected to examine or adopt a number of draft laws, inter alia, the draft laws on the Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Court, the amnesty law, the law to abolish the death penalty, the law on the Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature, the law on the implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

II- Human Rights Developments and Concerns

Relevant Links

The UN Human Rights Council ends the mandate of the of Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC

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