EU calls for an urgent investigation into mass grave discovered in DR Congo

April 13, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

2014_DRC_Massgrave

 

By

Sylvain Muyali

Following the recent discovery of a mass grave in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the European Union have joined the international community in expressing their concern and have requested that an urgent investigation is undertaken.

Given the many questions it raises both in the DRC and abroad, the EU calls for the investigation to be transparent and credible, stating that they are ready to provide support with all means at their disposal.

 

According to the authorities of the Congolese province of Kinshasa, there are 421 bodies buried at the Maluku grave (80km away). This number consists of 300 stillborn babies, 23 abandoned bodies, 34 destitute and 64 unidentified. These were reportedly buried there on March 19th to relieve the general morgue of the capital at Kinshasa.

The authorities have denied rumours that the pit housed the victims of the January disorders where dozens of people were killed, mostly in Kinshasa, during protests against a draft revision of the electoral law.

 

Belgium, alongside Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and numerous Congolese organisations have echoed the EU’s call for a “credible” and “independent” investigation into the mass grave.

 

According to an official document made available to the press, a criminal investigation was opened into the mass grave at the request of the UN Joint Office for Human Rights (UNJHRO) in the DRC. The authorities agreed to exhume bodies “if necessary.”

Ghislain Mwehu Kahozi, Prosecutor at the Kinshasa district of Kinkole, stated “Earlier this week, the burial site was accessible to all, but we have now made arrangements and have secured the site.” This was also confirmed by the UNJHRO, stating that local police were protecting the site.

 

In Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that it continued to support the Congolese government in ensuring that the judicial inquiry is carried forward promptly and is transparent and credible. The UN agency also stated that it will conduct its own independent investigation into the mass grave.

Lambert Mende, spokesman for the Congolese government said that it was “natural that the discovery of the pit at Maluku raised questions.” “Nevertheless” he stated “we believe that certain statements heard here and there about these mass burials are beyond reasonable” lamenting that “despite the information and explanations provided by the municipal authorities, there will be no exhumation of bodies.”

 

 

Related article in Tuck Magazine 09/04/15

http://tuckmagazine.com/2015/04/09/over-400-bodies-found-in-dr-congo-mass-grave/

 

 

sylvain muyali

Sylvain Muyali

Sylvain Muyali is a Journalist, Photographer and Filmmaker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has reported previously for the Associated Press and his words and images can also be found at ‘Vivons Positivement

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