Posts Tagged ‘Congo’

Breaking News: see which other awards the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates won already

October 5, 2018

The Nobel Prize for Peace 2018 winners: Yazidi survivor Nadia Mural (L) and Denis Mukwege
Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape activists Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege – Image copyright EPA

You do not have it hear it through me as most mainstream media carry the news (here the BBC with elaborate information) that the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has gone to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege. After the controversy created around some of the recent laureates, these two are safe bets as both have been recognized widely:

Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people. She found recognition from at least two earlier awards:

Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims. He received wide recognition with 8 international human rights awards:

  • 2008   United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights
  • 2009   Olof Palme Prize
  • 2010   Wallenberg Medal (University of Michigan)
  • 2011   King Baudouin International Development Prize
  • 2013   Civil Courage Prize
  • 2013   Human Rights First Award
  • 2013   Right Livelihood Award
  • 2014   Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/12/profile-denis-mukwege-democratic-republic-of-congo-courageous-doctor-rape-women/

Ms Murad, 25, dedicated the award to her mother, who was killed by the Islamic State (IS) militants who overran their home in 2014. Ms Murad described her escape in a BBC interview in 2016, detailing how the women who were held captive were treated by IS.

Dr Mukwege was operating at his hospital when he heard he had won the prize. He dedicated his award to all women affected by sexual violence. He lives under the permanent protection of UN peacekeepers at his hospital and has also previously called for a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45759221

 

see also: https://dansmithsblog.com/2018/10/08/the-nobel-peace-prize-and-sexual-violence-in-war/

Indictment in Senegal a breakthrough in the Congolese Chebeya-Bazana case?

January 13, 2015

Paul Mwilambwe, a major suspect in the Congolese Chebeya-Bazana case was indicted by a Senegalese court and placed under judicial supervision in Dakar on 8 January 2015. This decision was taken following a criminal complaint based on universal jurisdiction filed on 2 June 2014 by lawyers of the FIDH Litigation Action Group (LAG) and the families of Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana, the two Congolese human rights defenders who were assassinated in June 2010. FIDH hopes that these efforts of the Senegalese judicial authorities contribute to identifying the persons responsible for these assassinations and the disappearance of these two human rights defenders.logo FIDH_seul

That Paul Mwilanbwe has been indicted and heard by an independent investigative judge is a fundamental step on the road to truth and, we hope, to the justice which has not been available to the victims’ families in DRC” , said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President. “This is the first time since the Hissène Habré case that a case based on extra-territorial jurisdiction is being tried in Senegal, a step which sends a strong, positive signal showing that the Senegalese judiciary intends to play an active role in the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes committed in Africa”.

Since the Democratic Republic of Congo did not provide for equitable judicial proceedings, we initiated the proceedings in Senegal to ensure that an impartial and independent investigation would be carried out and that full information would be obtained on the murder and the enforced disappearance of the victims, Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana. We wanted an independent judge to hear Paul Mwilambe, an actor in this tragedy, and this has happened today,” said Assane Dioma Ndiaye, a lawyer for the FIDH LAG and for the Chebeya and Bazana families.

Paul Mwilambwe, a major in the Congolese National Police force (PNC), was in charge of security for the office of General John Numbi, Head of the PNC at the time of the events, in the premises where Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana were killed. Shortly after these killings, Paul Mwilambwe fled to a country somewhere in Africa before going to Senegal. In a filmed interview with France 24 (in French), whilst still on the run, Mwilambwe testified and denounced his own participation and the role and involvement of senior members of the Congolese police, including General John Numbi in the enforced disappearance and murder of the two human rights defenders.

“For us, this indictment gives us great hope to obtain the truth and justice that was refused to us in Congo where the justice system is bogged down. I want to know where my husband was buried. I want someone to tell me where he is. And I want to be able to bury him with dignity” , said Marie-José Bazana, the wife of Fidèle Bazana whose body has still not been found.

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/death-of-floribert-chebeya-and-fidele-bazana-in-drc-still-unresolved-after-3-years/

[Background: On 2 June 2010, Floribert Chebeya, Executive Director of the NGO Voix des sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless – VSV), was found dead in his car in a suburb of Kinshasa. His close associate Fidele Bazana was reported missing. The day before, the two human rights defenders had shown up at PNC headquarters to meet with its Director, the Inspector-General, and General John Numbi. They did not emerge from this meeting alive. Faced with the public outcry triggered by the murder of Mr. Chebeya and disappearance of Mr. Bazana, the Congolese authorities were obliged to open an investigation. This investigation culminated in the precautionary suspension of General John Numbi and the imposition of murder indictments for eight police officers, including Paul Mwilambwe, who fled.

On 23 June 2011, following a trial marked by numerous incidents the military court on 23 June 2011 in Kinshasa acknowledged the civil responsibility of the Congolese state for the murder of Mr. Chebeya, as well as in the abduction and illegal detention of Mr. Bazana by several of its officers. The court convicted five of the eight police officers accused. Four were sentenced to death and one to life imprisonment. Three of those condemned to death are still on the run, and three of the police officers found to have played a role in the disappearance of Mr. Bazana, have since been acquitted. On 7 May 2013, the Military High Court, sitting as a court of appeal, declared itself incompetent to investigate the procedural issues in the case and decided to turn the proceedings over to the Supreme Court, operating as a constitutional court. In practice, this decision suspended the appeal proceedings, which remain deadlocked in DRC to date. In addition, Congolese authorities have never instituted proceedings to investigate the role played by General John Numbi, who has since been replaced as Head of the PNC, despite evidence and the complaints filed by the families of the two human rights defenders.]

The Chebeya-Bazana case: indictment of Paul Mwilambwe in (…).

DRC: Human Rights Defender shot and NGO office closed

May 30, 2014

The Democratic Republic of Congo remains a terrible place for human rights defenders. These two recent events reported by Front Line make it abundantly clear:

1. Attempted murder of human rights defender Mr Leonard Lusimba 

On 22 May 2014, human rights defender Mr Leonard Lusimba was shot in an attempted killing by a member of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo – FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). He underwent surgery on 25 May, and a second operation will be necessary in the coming days. Leonard Lusimba is the regional representative of Collectif d’Actions pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme – CADDHOM, an organisation which, since the 1990s, has worked to promote human rights and peace education in different regions of the DRC, in particular in the Eastern provinces of the country where a number of armed groups are still active.

[Over recent years, numerous Congolese human rights defenders have been killed as a result of targeted attacks. In the rare cases where serious investigations have been undertaken, they have often failed to lead to results, favouring impunity.]

2. Closure of the office of human rights organisation Solidarity for Social Advancement and Peace 

On 21 May 2014, the Congolese human rights organisation Solidarité pour la Promotion Sociale et la Paix – SOPROP (Solidarity for Social Development and Peace) was closed by the Direction Générale des Impôts – DGI in relation to an investigation into allegations of tax fraud. The DGI declared that it needed time to reach a compromise with SOPROP, and proposed a settlement to SOPROP of 20% of the amount it allegedly owed in unpaid taxes. SOPROP rejected the proposal on the grounds that there was no basis for the amount originally demanded. The same day, SOPROP brought a complaint to the local Prosecutor’s Office, which identified irregularities in the procedure and ordered that the medical centre be reopened. The office, however, remains sealed, and it is unknown when it will be reopened

[SOPROP is an organisation which, since its foundation in 1994, has supported victims of torture and other violence through medical, social and legal assistance. The organisation is also known for its activities in human rights education, particularly in schools, as well as for its investigations into human rights violations and corruption. In 2011, SOPROP had published a report on the corrupt practices of state companies in Kinshasa, which highlighted agencies of the DGI, amongst others.]

For previous posts on DRC: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/congo-drc/

Congo Rebels Execute Human-Rights Worker in Katanga

August 14, 2013

Business Week reports on 14 August that rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga province murdered a human-rights investigator who criticized their movement for committing abuses against civilians. Armed men from the secessionist Kata Katanga group [whose name means “cut out Katanga” in the Swahili language] forced their way into the victim’s house on 7 August  before killing him,  according to Scott Campbell, the director of the UN’s joint human-rights office in Congo. The UN mission, known as Monusco, wouldn’t release the victim’s name or organization for security reasons, Campbell said. “Monusco is gravely concerned by the arbitrary execution” of the activist, it said in a separate e-mailed statement that also called on Congolese authorities to protect human-rights defenders and their families.  Almost 370,000 people have been displaced in the province as of July, mainly because of the violence, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

via Congo Rebels Execute Human-Rights Worker in Katanga Province – Businessweek.

 

Death of Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana in DRC still unresolved after 3 years

June 10, 2013

It has been 3 years since Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana were killed at the hands of the Police of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after been summoned by the Head of the Police, General John Protection Int'I_logo_final_vertical_72dpiNumbi. To date, the Congolese Military Justice, who deals with this matter, has refused to prosecute General Numbi and has merely judged his accomplices even though it knows the truth, thereby showing total allegiance to the political and military regime. Specific and detailed revelations of one of the protagonists on this case, Commander Paul Mwilambwe, leaves no doubt about on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Short video with summary portraits of the winners of the Tulip award

January 11, 2013

A short documentary about the five winners of the Human Rights Tulip Award, the award of the Dutch government for human rights defenders. The winners are from Honduras, Congo, Iran, China and India. The films were done by the True Heroes Foundation (THF).

 

preview of the documentary The Negotiators

January 10, 2011

Ross Mountain was, for five years, the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General in the UN Mission in the DR Congo. He strove to end the cycle of violence that has gripped the country for over a decade. A Human Rights Defender at high UN level. You can see him at work in the preview of the film The Negotiators on http://vimeo.com/18283149