Posts Tagged ‘congo drc’

Kidnappings of human rights defenders in DRC continue unabated

September 16, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedjust published two recent reports on kidnappings in DRC. The first is that on 13 September 2014, the corpse of human rights defender Mr Mutebwa Kaboko was found in a forest, eight days after he was kidnapped by an armed group. Mutebwa Kaboko was a training facilitator for the organisation Aide Rapide aux Victimes des Catastrophes – ARVC, created in 2008 to help disaster victims, especially women and vulnerable children. Now operating in the territories of Uvira and Fizi Walungu, the association has led a campaign against the phenomenon of forced marriage.  He was abducted by men suspected of belonging to an armed group known as Mayi Mayi Yakutumba. [On 20 June 2014, Mutebwa Kaboko was abducted in a similar way by elements of Mayi Mayi Yakutumba. He had apparently denounced their presence in the locality of Katete. They had held Mutebwa Kaboko in the open forest for five days before releasing him.]

On 14 September two other human rights defenders, Ms Neema Bitu and Mr Jacques Muganga, were found back after being kidnapped and held for two days by members of a rebel group. The two defenders are investigators of l’Action des Femmes Contre la Torture – AFCT (Action for Women Against Torture), an organisation defending the rights of women based in the village of Mwaba Kangando/Kiliba, tens of kilometers from the town of Uvira near the border between Burundi and the DRC. The perpetrators are this time  suspected of belonging to Forces Nationales de Libération du Burundi, a rebel group composed mostly of Burundian combatants and operating in parts of South Kivu in the DRC. On the night of 13 September 2014, the two defenders were able to escape from their captors while they were firing on the government army. Their colleagues found them at dawn on 14 September 2014 at approximately. During their captivity, they reportedly suffered terrible beatings and now require emergency medical treatment.

This follows the abduction and detention on 1 September 2014, of human rights defenders Mr Célestin Bambone, Ms Marie Amnazo and Ms Kongwa Tulinabo [from the Action Paysanne pour le Développement et la Promotion des Droits de l’Homme (Peasant Action for the Development and Promotion of Human Rights – APDPDH), a human rights organisation based in Mugutu, in the South Kivu province and specialising in the monitoring of human rights violations in Mugutu and surrounding villages].

 

Intimidation of human rights defender Didier Kalemba in DRC

February 17, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped reports that on 12 February 2014, human rights defender Didier Kalemba addressed a formal complaint to the public prosecutor’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo in connection with a series of intimidatory acts that he has recently been subjected to. Didier Kalemba is a lawyer who has been acting as a protection officer for the Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice – ACAJ (Congolese Association for Access to Justice). His work mainly focuses on following up on cases of arbitrarily detained persons, particularly political prisoners or prisoners of conscience. Didier Kalemba received several calls from the same telephone number demanding him to halt his visits to the Ndolo military prison, or his family would regret his “stubbornness.”

[This is not the first time Didier Kalemba has received threats]

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

Recent situation of human rights defenders in Africa; overview by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

April 19, 2013

Intervening at the 53rd ordinary session of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, on  18 April 2013, the FIDH and the OMCT, in the framework of their Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, expressed their grave concern about the situation of human rights defenders in Africa, which they stated had not observed an improvement. Violations of human rights targeting defenders have continued, notably in Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Judicial harassment based on false accusations, accompanied by arbitrary arrests and detentions, remains the most common harassment technique, especially in Algeria and Zimbabwe, but also in Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, The Gambia and Sudan. In several countries, including The Gambia and DRC, defenders have also been subjected to threats and smear campaigns. In late December 2012 / early January 2013, the presence in Goma in the Kivu region of non-State armed groups notably led to increased threats against local defenders, forcing many of them to hide or flee into exile. The targeted defenders are, inter alia, members of NGOs and lawyers in Chad, DRC, Zimbabwe, journalists in Djibouti, trade unionists fighting against impunity in Algeria, Djibouti, DRC, Zimbabwe or defending land rights and the right to a healthy environment in Cameroon; defenders of the right to work in Algeria and the right to health care in Sudan; advocates for the abolition of the death penalty in The Gambia, women’s rights in DRC, The Gambia, and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe; and activists campaigning against arbitrary detention in Egypt. Some excerpts follow but the reference to the full report is below:logo FIDH_seul

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