Alternative report on Democratic Republic of Congo: Situation of liberties and human rights at the dawn of transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo

ASADHO, Groupe Lotus, Ligue des Electeurs,
Member organizations of the FIDH

Report in French

Executive summary

At the dawn of democratic transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the hope triggered by the announcement of the government of national union is mixed with concerns linked to the growing insecurity in the Western part of the country, to the persistence of flash points of violence and grave violations of human rights in the East. In spite of the global and inclusive agreement of all the parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue of March 2003, the situation of liberties and human rights in DRC has not improved.

In the Western part of the country, violations of the freedoms of opinion, expression and peaceful demonstration are widespread: demonstrators are repressed, citizens are harassed on grounds of their alleged sympathy to rebel movements, freedom of the press is being restricted, and human rights defenders are being arrested.
In the province of Katanga, peaceful citizens are arrested, detained and tortured by the relatives of the president in total impunity.
NGOs also express their concern about the selective application of the amnesty law published by the President of the Republic in April 2003, in accordance with the transitional Constitution, as well as the inhuman conditions of detention. They have noted that the growing insecurity in the country is for the most part created, organised and planned by members of the police and the army: summary and extra-judicial executions, and other violations of physical integrity, illegal appropriation of personal belongings, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions.

In spite of substantial progress with regards to peace agreements, the war has been rekindled in the Eastern part of the country, specifically in the territory under the control of the RCD-Goma and the RCD-ML, leading to massive displacements of civilian populations and the massacre of hundreds of people. Testimonies reveal the existence of recruitment networks for armed groups operating in the East, with the assistance of neighbouring countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.
Moreover, in spite of efforts for internal pacification, the different rival/opposing groups are not making visible headway towards cohabitation. Thus in Bunia, massacres and extra-judicial executions are widespread, and several mass graves have been found. Furthermore, human rights activists and independent journalists who speak out on these human rights violations are frequently threatened, intimidated and arrested in order to discourage them.
In the whole Eastern part of DRC, populations are confronted by various violations: attacks on personal belongings, summary executions, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape of women, children and men, recruitment of children into armed militias.

In the whole country, there had been no positive evolution with regard to the administration of justice and the right to a fair trail is blatantly disregarded: confessions based on torture; absence of the right to legal assistance, violation of the right of the defence, slowness of procedures, interference of the executive and the army into the judiciary.

The Asadho, the Ligue des Electeurs and the Groupe Lotus recommend that the African Commission of human and peoples’ rights:

Condemns massacres and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law perpetrated in DRC and states that the authors of these acts will not go unpunished;
Calls on the creation of an independent investigation Commission under the African Union to shed light on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in DRC;
Calls on the transitional government to identify, prosecute and bring before national and international jurisdictions, the authors of any kind of human rights violations in DRC;

Demands that the transitional government respects international and regional human rights and humanitarian law treaties;
Pressures the authorities of Rwanda and Uganda so that they immediately put an end to their support for armed groups in RDC.

(Only in french)

Alternative report on Democratic Republic of Congo: Situation of liberties and human rights at the dawn of transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo


Read more