from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – CRITICS believe the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not changed much a year into the reign of new President Felix Tshisekedi.
He succeeded longtime leader, Joseph Kabila, at a time the country suffered some of its worst human rights violations.
Amnesty International said insecurity and impunity had persisted under the new leader amid failure to hold perpetrators of violence to account, brutal crackdowns against protesters as well as armed insurgencies and communal clashes east of the country.
“Although President Tshikedi has taken some positive steps such as pardoning political prisoners, and allowing exiled critics to return, his government failures on accountability means warlords and suspected perpetrators of appalling violations and abuses remain at large,” Amnesty regional director, Deprose Muchena, stated.
Last week, government banned meetings called by opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, in six cities.
Five people were injured when security forces violently dispersed meetings in the capital Kinshasa and Kindu.
Ten protesters were shot dead after Congolese and United Nations security officers opened fire on demonstrators irked by civilian killings in the eastern city of Beni in November.
Muchena said Tshisekedi’s government must fulfill its constitutional obligation to deliver accountability for all crimes.
“Pursuing peace at the expense of justice is an illusion the DRC authorities must not fall for.”
Formerly Zaire, the minerals rich but impoverished country of over 80 million people has suffered instability since independence in 1960.
The inauguration of Tshisekedi represented the first peaceful transfer of power.
Meanwhile, thousands have succumbed to Ebola and measles over the past 18 months.
– CAJ News