DR Congo: UN Should Investigate Kasai Violence

Published: 1 Jun 2017


The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today. The 35th session of the Human Rights Council begins June 6, 2017, in Geneva.

Between 500 and 1,000 people have been killed in the Kasai region since large-scale violence between the Congolese army and the Kamuina Nsapu movement broke out in August 2016, according to the UN. Human rights activists and UN monitors have had difficulties reaching parts of the region, so the actual number of dead may be significantly higher. Congolese army soldiers have used excessive force in violation of international law, killing scores of suspected Kamuina Nsapu members and sympathizers, including large numbers of women and children. Members of the group, armed largely with sticks and other crude weapons, have recruited children and carried out targeted attacks on the government, killing police officers, soldiers, and local officials.

Over 1.3 million people in the region have been displaced from their homes in recent months, including over 23,500 who fled to neighboring Angola. Two members of the UN Group of Experts on Congo, Zaida Catalán, a Swede and Chilean, as well as Michael J. Sharp, an American, were killed in March 2017, while investigating widespread human rights abuses in the region. It remains unclear who was responsible. The four Congolese who had accompanied them – their interpreter, Betu Tshintela, and three motorbike drivers – are still missing. UN investigators have confirmed the existence of at least 42 mass graves in the greater Kasai region since August 2016.

Download English version of the joint letter here: DR Congo Kasai Violence 20170531 – EN

Pour la version française de la lettre conjointe: DR Congo Kasai Violence 20170531 – FR

Programmes: Responsibility to Protect R2P
Regions: Democratic Republic of Congo
Type: Open Letter