Human Rights in the DRC

December 30, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Darell Maurice

During November 2015, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) documented 338 violations of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This represents a decline from the month of October 2015 in which 407 violations were documented. The most affected provinces are those of the eastern DRC, namely North Kivu (139 violations), the former Eastern Province (115 violations) and South Kivu (seven violations).

In November 2015, state agents (PNC, FARDC, ANR and administrative authorities) are responsible for 46% of the total number of violations. For example, they were responsible for 10 cases of extrajudicial killings.

Among the agents of the state are those of the Congolese National Police (PNC), which were responsible for the highest number of violations of human rights, namely 90 violations with 166 victims. The elements of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) were, in turn, responsible for 44 violations of human rights with 60 victims.

The combatants of armed groups were responsible for 183 violations, having killed at least 377 victims. Among the armed groups, the fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were the main perpetrators of violations of human rights documented by the UNJHRO (54 violations and 141 victims), followed by fighters of Resistance Forces patriotic Ituri (FRPI) responsible for 48 violations with 48 victims.

In November 2015, the UNJHRO documented 51 violations of human rights related to the electoral process throughout the Congolese territory. They are as follows: Kinshasa province (19 cases), East (10 cases), Katanga (six cases), Eastern Kasai (five cases), North Kivu (four cases), Bandundu (three cases), Ecuador (two cases) and South Kivu (two cases).

The most violations reported are violations of freedom of opinion and expression (15 cases), violations of the right to liberty and those with human security (14 cases) and to freedom of peaceful assembly (nine cases). This brings to 215 the total violations of human rights in connection with the electoral process documented since 1 January 2015.

Like previous months, the UNJHRO remained deeply concerned about the shrinking of democratic space in the DRC, especially as the number of violations related to the electoral process in November was the highest since the beginning of 2015. The political party members are the main victims of those violations (27 victims in total). Excessive use of force by the security forces, especially during the repression of demonstrations, but also the exploitation of young people and the use of violence by those who seek to express their views or to exercise their rights remains a concern.

In November 2015, the UNJHRO documented 33 adult victims of sexual violence. State agents have been responsible for six victims of sexual violence in November 2015, mainly FARDC (four victims). The combatants of armed groups were in turn responsible for 27 victims of sexual violence, mainly FRPI combatants and FDLR (both nine victims).

As part of the fight against impunity, UNJHRO supported the activities of military courts. At least 18 FARDC and nine PNC officers were convicted for acts constituting violations of human rights on the extent of the territory of the DRC.

As part of the campaign of 16 days of activism against violence against women, the UN office organised a series of activities throughout the Congolese territory. On 26 November 2015 in Mbuji Mayi, Kasai Oriental Province, sixty primary and secondary schools were ‘sensitized’ by the UNJHRO to end impunity for sexual violence.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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