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22-03-2021 | Edited News

Human Rights Council Violations in DRC

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  1. Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying, a cloudy day. 
  2. Wide shot, Assembly Hall in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations. 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: “The scale of the violence in the east of the DRC is alarming. In 2020, the Office verified the killing of at least 2,945 civilians, including 553 women and 286 children. During 2020, 21 per cent more human rights violations were documented than in 2019. Violations were committed by a range of armed groups, operating in vast areas where there is little or no presence of Congolese authorities, as well as by the Congolese military and police force”.
  4. Medium shot, Vice-President of Human Rights Council
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: “Given the context of escalating bloodshed, and the country’s history of intercommunal violence, I am deeply concerned that the current widespread increase in hate speech could further inflame conflict. From May to December 2020, our Office documented hate speech and messages inciting hatred in 15 provinces, as we reported two weeks ago in a public report.” 
  6. Medium-wide shot, podium with speakers, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 
  7. SOUNDBITE (French) —Représentante Spéciale du Secrétaire Général et Cheffe de la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO), Bintou Keita: “Je reviens d’une première visite de plusieurs jours à Goma, Bukavu, Beni et Bunia où j’ai eu des échanges directs avec les autorités militaires et civils, les membres de la société civile sur la détérioration préoccupante de la situation sécuritaire, humanitaire et des droits de l’homme dans les provinces affectées par le conflit armé, où la MONUSCO a documenté une augmentation inquiétante des attaques des groupes armés contre la population civile, en particulier dans les provinces de l’Ituri, du Nord-Kivu et du Sud-Kivu ».

        “I have just returned from a first visit of several days to Goma, Bukavu, Beni and Bunia, where I had direct exchanges with military and civilian authorities and members of civil society on the worrying deterioration of the security, humanitarian and human rights situation          in the provinces affected by the armed conflict, where MONUSCO has documented a worrying increase in attacks by armed groups against the civilian population, in particular in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu”.

8. Medium-wide shot, podium with speakers, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 

9. SOUNDBITE (French) —Représentante Spéciale du Secrétaire Général et Cheffe de la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO), Bintou Keita: « Outre le renforcement de la lutte contre l’impunité, la mise en place d’un processus de justice transitionnelle crédible et holistique, d’un programme crédible de démobilisation, désarmement, réintégration communautaire et la stabilisation, ainsi que l’adoption de politiques socio-économiques, sont essentielles pour infléchir les violences et bâtir une paix et une sécurité durables.” 

 “In addition to strengthening the fight against impunity, a credible and holistic transitional justice process, a credible demobilisation programme, disarmament, community reintegration and stabilisation programme, and the adoption of socio-economic policies are essential to curb the violence and build lasting peace and security.”

10. Medium shot, podium with speakers, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations

Scale of violence in eastern part of DRC has continued to worsen”, UN Human Rights chief 

A shocking number of civilians  – some three thousand -- were killed in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last year, UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

The number of violent deaths verified by the United Nations was “at least 2,945”, and was only one indicator in the 21 per cent increase in documented human rights violations since 2019, according to figures published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The scale of the violence in the east of the DRC is alarming”, Ms. Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

“In 2020, the Office verified the killing of at least 2,945 civilians, including 553 women and 286 children. During 2020, 21 per cent more human rights violations were documented than in 2019,” Ms. Bachelet said.

 ”Violations were committed by a range of armed groups, operating in vast areas where there is little or no presence of Congolese authorities, as well as by the Congolese military and police force,” she added.

Over the last 12 months, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office has issued five public reports on the deteriorating situation in DRC. 

One recent report focused on the eastern province of Ituri and verified the killing of 647 civilians in intercommunal violence between May and December of last year. One culprit, experts say, has been the increase in hate speech.

“Given this context of escalating bloodshed, and the country's history of intercommunal violence, I am deeply concerned that the current widespread increase in hate speech could further inflame conflict”, Ms Bachelet said.From May to December 2020, our Office documented hate speech and messages inciting hatred in 15 provinces, as we reported two weeks ago in a public report,” Ms Bachelet added.

In an update on a study of the area targeted by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the eastern DRC province of  North Kivu,  468 civilians were reported  killed between July and December 2020. The ADF were also responsible for at least 457 enforced disappearances last year.

Bintou Keita, the recently-nominated  Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), noted that in recent months the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had been marked by political upheavals leading to major changes within the institutions of the country. 

“I have just returned from a first visit of several days to Goma, Bukavu, Beni and Bunia, where I had direct exchanges with military and civilian authorities and members of civil society on the worrying deterioration of the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the provinces affected by the armed conflict, where MONUSCO has documented a worrying increase in attacks by armed groups against the civilian population, in particular in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu,” Ms Keita said.

Violence has plagued the eastern part of DRC for many years, but in 2020, fighting spread and intensified with the involvement of a several  armed groups.  In North Kivu and southern Ituri, military operations by the Government  forces were followed by retaliatory attacks on civilians by the ADF that resulted in hundreds of deaths, abductions of children and the destruction of schools and hospitals.  In South Kivu, dozens of civilians were killed, and a number of  women and children raped by armed groups in intercommunal conflicts.

“In addition to strengthening the fight against impunity, a credible and holistic transitional justice process, a credible demobilisation programme, disarmament, community reintegration and stabilisation programme, and the adoption of socio-economic policies are essential to curb the violence and build lasting peace and security, ” MONUSCO’s chief Bintou Keita said.

Investigations into the violence in eastern DRC have to date failed in bringing accountability and justice for the summary executions of two United Nations investigators, Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, along with their Congolese interpreter Betu Tshintela, killed in 2017 while documenting rights abuses in the Kasai region.

Only last month, on February 23, world attention focused briefly on violence in eastern DRC as the Italian ambassador to the country, Luca Attanasio, his bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Mustapha Milambo were killed in the North Kivu region.


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