from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – HATE speech and messages are on the increase in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), more than two years after divisive presidential elections.
Political party officials and activists, civil society actors and members of the Congolese diaspora are blamed for the trend.
Hate speech has taken the form of tribalist, sexist and misogynistic attacks.
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) disclosed between May and December 2020, it received allegations on 30 probable cases.
These messages have been disseminated in the context of political or partisan activities and armed conflicts, during private or public meetings and during interviews in the traditional press.
They have been widely exchanged and discussed on social networks and mobile messaging applications.
Messages have targeted individuals and groups by virtue of their gender, ethnicity or social background, particularly in the context of contesting the Congolese citizenship of certain ethnic groups.
UNJHRO denounced the trend.
“Hate speech is not only a violation of national law but is also contrary to human rights and constitute a real threat to national cohesion, lasting peace and security and the protection of civilians in the country,” said Abdoul Aziz Thioye, director of the UNJHRO.
He is also the High Commissioner for Human Rights in DRC.
DRC, the Central African country of more than 91 million people, has more than 250 ethnic groups.
It is beset by some ethnic clashes as well as banditry by some rebel groups.
The government of President Felix Tshisekedi, in power since 2019, has struggled to contain the militancy.
– CAJ News