UN Report — Global Problems

In findings published in a report by the Joint Office for Human Rights in DRC (UNJHRO) and the UN Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), the authors indicated that 93 percent of the 3,618 recorded cases of “torture, cruel , inhuman or degrading treatment” in which 4,946 were killed in conflict zones.

Of that total, over the period between April 1, 2019 and April 30, 2022, there were 492 cases of sexual violence, with 761 victims.

Torture can never be justified, regardless of the circumstances or context. The DRC authorities must act urgently and with determination to end this scourge,” acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif said in a statement.

Shared responsibility

According to the report, members of the DRC defense and security forces were responsible for 1,293 cases, while 1,833 cases were attributed to armed groups. “In certain contexts, (they) subjected victims to torture in collusion with members of the security forces,” it said.

Victims were tortured and ill-treated, either while in detention or “while exercising their fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, or while in detention,” the report’s authors continued.

The report highlighted the low number of complaints filed against perpetrators and the “widespread nature of torture” compared to the “scale of the violations”. only two army officers, 12 national police officers and 75 members of armed groups were convicted of torture during the reporting period.

MONUSCO

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, visits Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (January 2020).

‘Hate speech’ rises

The development stems from concerns that the DRC has been gripped by a ‘proliferation’ of hate speech just 12 months before the presidential election.

In a scheduled debate on Tuesday at the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights Agency, OHCHR, also expressed deep concern about the alarming security situation in the east of the countrywhere two provinces have been placed under military rule since May 2021.

The withdrawal of UN peacekeepers MONUSCO from the country “could have serious consequences for the human rights situation in the east of the country and the sub-region,” said Christian Jorge Salazar Volkmann, director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division at OHCHR.

Member States heard at the Geneva Forum that while armed groups committed the most human rights violations and abuses between 1 June 2021 and 31 May 2022, DRC security personnel were responsible for more than four in ten cases, out of a total of 6,782.

Military rule in Ituri and North Kivu provinces, which came into effect on May 6, 2021, “appears to have failed to stop armed groups from attacking civilians, particularly in IDP areas,” it said. Mr Volkmann.

Some 2,413 people – 1,778 men, 471 women and 164 children – were killed by armed groups in the first year of military rule in the two provinces, he said, compared with 1,581 people (1,076 men, 365 women and 140 children) in the previous 12-month period.

Nearly 5.5 million people had been displaced from their homes by the violence, amid a resurgence of the armed group M23 in North Kivu’s Rutshuru province, which targeted the DRC’s “defense and security forces, civilians and (UN peacekeeping mission) MONUSCO,” the OHCHR, has attacked. officially added.

Families displaced by conflict and violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are receiving UN humanitarian aid.

© UNICEF/Jean-Claude Wenga

Families displaced by conflict and violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are receiving UN humanitarian aid.

militia rule

Other attacks by militias the ADF and CODECO against civilians and humanitarians”can be serious crimes under international lawVolkmann said, calling for an end to violence and a nationally led demobilization and reintegration plan.

While he welcomed the life sentence handed down to Mihonya Chance Kolokolo, leader of militia group Raïa Mutomboki, for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the recruitment and use of children, rape, murder and the violation of nature reserves in South Kivu , the UN human rights official stressed the “slow pace” of justice for “almost all” priority cases committed by the Kamuina Nsapu armed group between 2016 and 2018 in the Kasai region.

To tackle hate speech, OHCHR recommended practical measures to authorities in the DRC.

These include the implementation of a bill on racism, tribalism and xenophobia, which is being discussed in parliament.

“One year before the next presidential election, it is important that the alleged perpetrators of these messages are brought to justice and held accountableand to prevent the security situation from deteriorating further,” said Mr Volkmann.

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