AFRICA/DRCONGO RD - 56 protestors killed between April and October in DR Congo: report

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 violence   episcopal conferences  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - 56 people were killed during public demonstrations and meetings in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April and October this year. This is what the report "monitoring events and public meetings" denounces, which was drawn up by 200 observers on behalf of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO).
"Organized public demonstrations and meetings of political opposition, civil society organizations and civic movements that are not part of the government were stifled, prevented, banned and dispersed by the police with the use of tear gas. It turns out that at least 56 people were killed, 52 were shot dead, one other died from tear gas", said don Donshen Nshole, Secretary General of CENCO, on November 20 in Kinshasa, presenting a report to politicians and the clergy.
CENCO denounces a violation of human rights, in a Country which still finds itself in the United Nations Human Rights Council. "There is an ambiguity in the law on the organization of public demonstrations and meetings, because those organized by the interlocutors of the government have always been at peace", added the Secretary General of CENCO.
In the same period, 355 arrests of protesters and organizers and several acts of vandalism were recorded: a police sub-station was burned, a shop owned by a Chinese citizen was looted, 4 police jeeps were burned, and 3 policemen were killed by protesters.
Lambert Mende, Minister of Communications and Media, and government spokesman reacted stigmatizing the lack of identity of the victims because, according to him, the figures alone do not help the government to undertake any investigation. Mende accuses CENCO of engaging in a "Discredit Policy".
Yet the violations cited by CENCO are well-known. On November 15, police arrested Binja Happy Yalala, a 15-year-old girl, in a peaceful demonstration in Idjwi, in the east of the Country. Last week, the United Nations and several States, including Canada and Switzerland, urged Congolese authorities to respect the fundamental freedoms, as envisaged by the Congolese Constitution, including freedom of assembly and demonstration. (MFA) (LM) (Agenzia Fides, 22/11/2017)