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Updated On: Friday, November 24 2017

UNHCHR Report on Congo Massacres

Content by: South-South News

7 August 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — The UN Human Rights Office in a report warns that the atrocities, which have seen more than 251 people killed in the Kamonia territory in Kasai provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a period of about four months, could amount to crimes under international law.

Scott Campbell of the UN Human Rights Office said, “Given the nature and scope of what has taken place, these are very widespread attacks – many of the attacks on the villages appear to have been well planned. The nature of the acts committed - widespread killings – these could constitute crimes against humanity under international law."

Between mid-March and 19 June, 251 people were killed, including 62 children, in Komonia territory in Kasai. More than 1.3 million have been displaced from the Kasai region due to the violence. The UN Mission in the DRC has identified at least 80 mass graves in the Kasais.

Campbell noted that the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called for a halt to the violence and urged the Government to hold accountable all groups responsible for the violence.

He said, “The High Commissioner is calling for credible investigations into who is responsible exactly for what is going on and calling for those individuals, be they members of militia, be they members of state agencies, to be held to account.”

The High Commissioner also calls for safe and unrestricted access to be granted to the team of international experts established in June by the UN Human Rights Council.

The report cites information from the victims which indicated Government forces’ complicity in the violence.

Campbell said “victims and witnesses again and again mentioned that when their village was attacked, the attackers coming from one ethnic group were often accompanied by the police, local officials or officials from the army. And that they claimed that local officials, Government agents had been involved in the planning and sometimes the actual carrying out of the attacks, or in providing arms to one of the ethnic groups.”

Campbell recounted information sourced by UN Human Rights investigators from victims and witnesses who have fled to neighboring Angola.

He said “our team they carried out interviews in refugee camps, in hospitals, with people that showed the signs of physical harm. Many of them had horrific stories to tell, including of children having their limbs chopped off, of people being hacked with machetes.”

The UN Human Rights Office has also expressed hope that the planned general and Presidential election will not be marred by the current violence.

An agreement signed between the Government and the opposition last December indicated elections would be held before the end of 2017.

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