HRW reports executions and disappearances in the Democratic Republic of Congo News
HRW reports executions and disappearances in the Democratic Republic of Congo

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday released a report [report, PDF] which accuses police officers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of executing 51 youths and causing the disappearance of 33 others. The police action was carried-out in furtherance of an anti-crime campaign between November 2013 and February 2014. The campaign, Operation Likofi, was initiated to identify and reduce the presence of ‘kuluna’ gang members in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa. The report describes repeated instances of police officers forcibly removing suspected gang members from their homes and executing them in front of family and friends. The report [press release] accuses the police officers of committing extrajudicial executions and targeting youths arbitrarily. The findings contain numerous witness accounts which detail the public executions. HRW asserts that the action by police officers was both ruthless and illegal. The report calls for legal accountability for the human rights violations committed by the police officers and public officials responsible for enforcing the campaign.

The DRC [BBC backgrounder] has been the site of considerable human rights abuses committed by both government forces and various rebel groups. The UN issued a report [JURIST report] in October which addressed the human rights violations taking place in connection with Operation Likofi. In July the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict presented a report outlining the situation of the child in the DRC, which found the recruitment of child soldiers [JURIST report] persists. In June the head of the UN Mission in the DRC strongly condemned [JURIST report] an outbreak of deadly violence in the eastern areas of the DRC, sparked by a confrontation over cattle. In April a coalition of 146 Congolese and international human rights organizations released a joint declaration urging the DRC to create new mechanisms in its national justice system [JURIST report] for prosecuting war crimes.