Threats and intimidatory acts against human rights defender Jean Pierre Muteba in DRC

April 22, 2013

On 17 April 2013, human rights defender Jean Pierre Muteba reported to the Katanga provincial office of the ANR (National Intelligence Agency), a day after receiving a written notice signed by the new director of that agency in Katanga, DRC. The notice followed incidents in which the human rights defender noted being followed by members of the same agency and complained to colleagues of receiving several threatening telephone messages from anonymous callers. However, on this occasion he was not questioned and left after two hours.

Jean Pierre Muteba is the spokesperson for the “Cadre de Concertation de la Société Civile du Katanga” (Coalition of Civil Society Groups of Katanga), a network of civil society organisations active on issues related to human rights and justice as well as social accountability for extractive industries in the DRC’s copper-rich Katanga region.

On several different occasions after 23 March 2013, the day on which a group of Maï Maï fighters known as “Bakata Katanga” invaded Lubumbashi (Katanga’s regional capital), Muteba reported receiving anonymous intimidatory messages on his mobile phone. Three days after this invasion, which caused up to thirty-five deaths according to UN sources, ten organisations affiliated with Muteba’s coalition issued a report on the incident in which they accused certain personalities within Katanga’s security, business and political spheres of being behind the violent incident. It is believed that the threats and intimidatory acts that Muteba has faced since are closely related to the role his organisation played in denouncing those who are suspected of being behind the attack on Lubumbashi and in demanding an independent investigation of the violence.

Front Line Defenders believes that the threats against Jean Pierre Muteba are directly related to his human rights work with the Coalition of Civil Society Groups of Katanga.Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

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