First peaceful transfer of power in DR Congo ‘an extraordinary opportunity’ for advancing rights

© UNHCR/Pumla Rulashe Congolese women and children arrive at a border point in Chissanda, Lunda Norte, Angola after fleeing militia attacks in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2 May 2017.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The election of President Felix Tshisekedi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), marks “an extraordinary opportunity” for the country to advance civil and political rights, said a senior UN official, on Tuesday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights (OHCHR), Andrew Gilmour, welcomed Mr. Tshisekedi’s inaugural speech in January, in which he made a “clear commitment” to respect citizens’ rights and end discrimination.

The president’s recent decree ordering the release of all political prisoners was also to be welcomed, Mr. Gilmour said, in anticipation of their actual release and the closing of all unofficial detention centres.

Mr. Tshisekedi’s unexpected election win on 30 December, despite a week’s delay due to logistical concerns, coming on top of a two-year delay due to former President Joseph Kabila’s reluctance to leave office, marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the country of more than 80 million, since independence from Belgium, almost 60 years ago.

Mr. Kabila governed DRC for 18 years, before agreeing to step down last year, although his former ruling coalition has a majority in the legislature.

In his inaugural speech in late January, according to news reports, the new president said he and his party were committed to building a modern, peaceful, democratic State, and pledged then to release all political detainees.

Mr. Gilmour said that “such measures, if fulfilled, would represent an exceptionally positive development towards the opening up of democratic space, which has been increasingly restricted in recent years.”

“During the electoral process, such restrictions were obvious. In the weeks just before and after the elections, the Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC documented the killing of at least 36 civilians in elections-related violence” said the OHCHR official, “most killed by security forces using disproportionate use of force, including the use of live ammunition.”

The Assistant Secretary-General’s comments coincided with the publication of a report into DRC violence and rights abuses, in 2018.

It found that more than 1,100 people were killed in conflict-related violence, almost 900 were subjected to sexual violence in a war-setting, including 279 children.

On the continuing inter-communal violence in the province of Mai-Ndombe, around Yumbi town, that left hundreds dead last December following an orchestrated and well-planned massacre, Mr. Gilmour urged the authorities to extend the rule of law throughout the country.

There is an urgent need to take measures to defuse tensions and promote reconciliation in the region and avoid further bloodshed, he said, and to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted.

In reply, Marie-Ange Mushobekwa, Minister of Human Rights in DRC, said that those responsible for the Mai-Ndombe killings, in the west of the country, on the banks of the Congo River – and earlier massacres in the Kasais – would be prosecuted.

And she confirmed that 36 people have been convicted in association with the killing of UN experts, Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan in Kasai on 12 March 2017.

The highly-regarded experts on the region, were brutally murdered while investigating reports of mass atrocities in the Kasais, around conflict between the Kamuina Nsapu militia and Government forces. The fallout from the case continues, with a Congolese army colonel, reportedly arrested in connection with the killing of the two UN monitors, early in December.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

EU ready to relinquish its internal tax havens

FROM THE FIELD: West Africa’s wishful gold diggers

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Without tackling ‘gross inequalities’ major issues will go unsolved, warns UN rights chief Bachelet

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

How farms are getting closer to consumers in the pandemic

What makes a great CEO? The people they surround themselves with

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

Young people are key to defusing unrest and restoring public trust

Review on ethics and technological development

Gender inequality in the medicine field: two commonly issues

JADE Spring Meeting 2015: a step forward for Youth Entrepreneurship

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

European Business Summit 2014: Sting Report, Day I

What makes us happy? AI scanned 700,000 journal entries to find out

Why Italy will not follow the Greek road; Eurozone to change or unravel

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

These are the world’s safest cities

More than 3,400 classrooms damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, says UN Children’s Fund

Day of the Seafarer: Commissioner Vălean supports the rights of seafarers and their vital role

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Failing to agree climate action would ‘not only be immoral’ but ‘suicidal’, UN chief tells COP24

My disability, my identity

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

Three ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping geopolitics

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

The European Union’s Balkan Double Standard

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

Mental Health in the COVID-19 era

Israeli security forces’ response to Gaza protests ‘a recipe for more bloodshed’, says UN expert

7 ways the ‘biological century’ will transform healthcare

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Africa’s Sahel: Act now before the crisis ‘becomes unmanageable’, urges Grandi

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

How the technology behind deepfakes can benefit all of society

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Using ‘leprosy’ metaphors in political rhetoric ‘fuels public stigma’ and discrimination: UN rights expert

The digital building blocks of better communities

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

Monsanto lawsuit ruling a ‘significant recognition’ of victims’ human rights, say UN rights experts

UN condemns ‘cowardly’ attack on Libya’s national oil corporation headquarters

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Promoting ‘a healthy sustainable future’, the UN health agency engages young and young at heart to ‘Walk the Talk’

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

UN honours fallen colleagues and friends who ‘risk all to promote peace’

Hostages to a rampant banking system

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s