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Democratic Republic of Congo

    July 09, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) conviction of Bosco Ntaganda, former leader of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa welcomed the conviction, saying:

    “We can only hope that today’s verdict provides some consolation to those affected by the grotesque crimes perpetrated by Ntaganda and paves the way for his victims and their families to finally obtain a measure of justice and reparations.”

    “Every day of the seven years that Ntaganda freely roamed the streets of Goma after the International Criminal Court issued his arrest warrant increased the torment that the victims and their families had to endure - to the shame of DRC authorities and the international community.

    “But today, the 2,123 victims in the case can at last begin the process of reparations for all the harm inflicted upon them by Ntaganda.”

    Background

    July 02, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following reports that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) army has deployed hundreds of soldiers to forcibly remove an estimated 10,000 artisanal miners from the Tenke Fungurume mines in Lualaba Province to the south of the country from 2 July, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Sarah Jackson said:

    “Given the long history of excessive use of force by the Congolese army and its lack of appropriate training in managing public order, the DRC government must immediately withdraw its armed forces from the mines to avert unlawful killings. These artisanal miners are merely trying to eke out a living and sending in the army against them would be completely irresponsible.”

    Background

    March 14, 2019

    Following last night’s presidential pardon of about 700 people, including many detained solely for expressing their political views or participating in peaceful protests over the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said:

    “President Tshisekedi’s decision to pardon prisoners of conscience and other people arbitrarily detained is to be applauded as a crucial first step towards restoration of human rights in the country. It must now be followed by their immediate and unconditional release from prison.

    “While their release will fulfil a promise he made to free political activists [from the opposition] in his first 100 days in office, his administration must now go further and guarantee that no one else is arrested, detained or prosecuted simply for expressing their opinions or for peacefully exercising their human rights.

    January 09, 2019

    As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) braces itself for the long-awaited results of national elections, Amnesty International warned that a human rights crisis is looming in the country that could force countless people to flee if protests turn violent. More than 20,000 people have already fled the country since mid-December 2018.

    “After multiple delays and prolonged waiting for the results of the election, the mood in the DRC is tense. The authorities appear to be preparing to escalate crackdown on protests, with many parts of the country under heavy military guard and many media outlets already shut down and muzzled,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “In the last few days police across the country have threatened and warned people not to take part in protests after the results are announced, sparking fears that demonstrations against the results will be dealt with brutally. The Congolese people are on a knife edge.”

    Soldiers on the streets

    In many parts of the DRC a heavy military presence is contributing to the tense mood.

    November 30, 2018

    Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain. 

    Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure. 

    The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.

    The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

    We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    November 28, 2018

    Responding to reports that the United Nations “covered up” information implicating senior Congolese military and security officers in the killing of UN investigators Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp in March 2017, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “These allegations are deeply disturbing. It is beyond belief that the UN may have deliberately buried information that would have been critical for bringing to justice those responsible for the murder of its own investigators.

    “The suggestions of deliberate cover-up for political expediency must be fully investigated by the UN and any UN officials guilty of wrongdoing must be held to account. The UN must also disavow the findings of the Board of Inquiry and reopen the probe into the killings of Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp – this time independently and impartially.

    “If any high-ranking security officers or government officials bear responsibility for these horrific murders, they must be identified and brought to justice.”

    Background

    November 21, 2018

    Election campaigning will take place in a hostile political environment that leaves little room for people to freely and safely exercise their human rights, Amnesty International said ahead of tomorrow’s kick-off of political campaigns for the long-awaited elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    The government maintains a blanket ban on protests other than those organized by politicians close to outgoing President Joseph Kabila. Opposition supporters, as well as people calling for improvements to security and services, have faced threats, intimidation, harassment, arrests and violent dispersal often resulting in deaths and injuries.

    “The authorities’ determination to silence dissent couldn’t be more evident through their ceaseless silencing of any kind of criticism or public demand, whether it touches on the country’s dire security situation, social grievances or the ongoing electoral process,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 16, 2018

    Responding to the deaths of two University of Kinshasa students on Thursday 15 November following the unlawful use of lethal force by Congolese police against campus protestors, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “The use of live ammunition to disperse student protests on university campuses in the DRC is abhorrent and illegal. No one should have to die because they exercised their right to freedom of expression or took part in a peaceful protest.

    “The government must immediately launch a thorough and impartial investigation into these student deaths and bring to justice those found to be responsible.

    “The authorities must ensure that all students injured in these protests receive comprehensive medical treatment. We also urge the leadership of the university to listen to student concerns and allow future student protests to take place, without involving the police in settling disputes on campus.” 

    Background

    June 22, 2018

    Amid persistent human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International wants the government to ensure that everyone can exercise their freedom of expression and association as the country prepares for the long-awaited December elections.

    DRC authorities must open up the civic space by lifting the ban on peaceful protests, releasing dissidents and stopping the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.

    “All unlawful measures that prevent or limit citizens’ participation and engagement, including the blanket ban on demonstrations, must be removed immediately, and freedom of expression – including press freedom - fully restored ahead of the elections,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher for the DRC.

    The country’s Electoral Commission is expected to announce the elections on 23 June, six months before the polling date, 23 December 2018.

    May 26, 2018

    A group of Amnesty volunteers will deliver a big box of letters to Microsoft Canada's headquarters at the end of May.

    Help them fill the box with letters to Microsoft! Continue reading for more information. 

    Amnesty is concerned about the strong possibility that there is child labour in Microsoft’s supply chain. Amnesty researchers have discovered that cobalt, a metal used in the rechargeable batteries of portable electronics such as laptops, tablets and cell phones, is being mined by children and adults under hazardous condvolunitions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Amnesty researchers traced the cobalt supply chain and determined that the cobalt is very likely used in batteries in products sold by Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others. We urged these companies, and others, to investigate their cobalt supply chains, publish the names of their smelters, and address any human rights issues, in accordance with international business and human rights guidelines.

    March 26, 2018

    The international community must ensure justice for the deaths of two UN experts killed while investigating human rights abuses in Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International said one year after their bodies were discovered.

    The remains of Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean, and Michael Sharp, an American, were discovered on 27 March 2017, two weeks after they disappeared as they investigated human rights violations in the wake of clashes between the Congolese army and supporters of a local chief who had been killed by government security forces.

    “Michael and Zaida were murdered while pursuing justice for the families of thousands of people, killed by militia groups and government security forces,” said Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Justice for them is overdue, and the DRC authorities have failed to credibly investigate the murder and other serious human rights violations perpetrated in the Kasai region. They must never be forgotten and their deaths must not be in vain.”

    March 02, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government that it is launching a new drive to tackle child labour in cobalt and copper mines, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Child labour and other human rights abuses have tainted the mining industry in the DRC for far too long, and we welcome the news that the government finally appears willing to tackle the problem.

    “When we first revealed that children were risking their lives doing back-breaking work in cobalt mines for products like smartphones and car batteries, there was outrage and rightly so. But child labour is not an isolated problem. The reality is that adults are risking their lives in hazardous conditions and earning a pittance to mine one of the world’s most lucrative minerals. If the DRC government is serious about eliminating human rights abuses in cobalt mines, it must address the root causes.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 22, 2018

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must promptly and thoroughly investigate and hold to account those suspected to be responsible for killing and injuring dozens of peaceful protesters in the capital Kinshasa on 21 January, said Amnesty International.

    Thousands of peaceful protesters rallied across the country in protests called by the Catholic Church to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down ahead of elections in December. The protesters were countered by security forces who shot live rounds at them killing at least six and injuring at least 49, according to the UN’s mission in the country.

    “This brutal response by the security forces to peaceful protests goes to show once again that repression has become the norm in the DRC, in blatant violation of the country’s constitution and its international human rights obligations,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the DRC.

    December 01, 2017

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo must investigate the heavy-handed police crackdown on yesterday’s protests in which at least one man was shot dead and dozens more injured, said Amnesty International today.

    Police also arbitrarily arrested more than 200 protesters in cities across the country. While many were released later in the day, at least 100 remain in detention, including 45 in Goma and 12 in the capital Kinshasa.

    “This wanton disregard for protesters’ lives and the unlawful use of force cannot be tolerated. The use of firearms against unarmed protesters contravenes DRC’s obligations under international law,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The DRC must promptly launch an effective and independent investigation into the killing and injuries and bring all those responsible to justice. The ongoing pattern of repression against peaceful protesters and its associated impunity must stop.”

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