Human Rights Day celebrated in Baraka, DRC

December 17, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Darell Maurice

The Office of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), MONUSCO in Uvira – yesterday chose Baraka, in the Fizi Territory in South Kivu, to celebrate the International Day of Human Rights 2015.

On the menu: the evaluation of the human rights situation in the territory of South Kivu, in addition to the launch of an awareness campaign on the International Covenants on Human Rights.

This choice was anything but a coincidence: in ten years of the Office of the United Nations Joint Human Rights, it was the first time that this activity took place in the town, about a hundred kilometers from Uvira. Besides the classic manifestations (different speeches, dances, etc), this activity first allowed the UNJHRO to conduct an assessment of the situation of human rights in this part of Congo.

It is recognised from this that the human rights situation is improving a little more every day. There are however recognised several cases of violations of human rights that still persist in Fizi Territory. These range from rape to extortion, through the erection of illegal roadblocks and forced disappearances.

The political and administrative authorities, police and military present at the ceremony welcomed the decline in human rights violations in Fizi Territory, although security incidents and common rights violations remain in increasing numbers, including attacks on civilians by unidentified armed men and rape by civilians. They have also undertaken not only to work more with NGOs defending their human rights but also to ensure better protection of the rights of the population.

 

 

Following this exercise, UNJHRO found that 95 % had insufficient knowledge regarding the human rights they are supposed to defend and disseminate. Furthermore, it was found that the majority do not know the difference between a violation of human rights (which is committed by a public official), abuse of human rights (which can be committed by a member of local or international armed groups against civilians) and a breach of law (which can be committed by a citizen against another citizen). Finally, 95% did not know the sources of human rights (Constitution, various laws passed by Parliament, Penal Code, various international treaties, etc.)

The participants expressed their joy for the received teachings. They wished for further capacity building sessions in order that they better contribute to the fight against impunity for human rights.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.

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