UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] called [statement] Tuesday for an independent investigation into the human rights situation in Kasai. Kasai province is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has been the subject of UN scrutiny for three months. The High Commissioner condemned the establishment of an armed militia supported by the authorities and allegedly accompanied by state security forces and police. Zeid stated that serious abuses have been committed, including summary executions and rape. He said that mass graves have been discovered across the providence. The UN believes these mass graves were being investigated by two UN experts who were found murdered in March.
Violence in the Congo has plagued the nations for years. In May the President of the DRC’s electoral commission warned [JURIST report] that the presidential election may be postponed due to sectarian violence. In April a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency said [JURIST report] that more than 11,000 refugees from the Kasai province had escaped to Angola due to violence in their province. The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement [JURIST report] in April alleging that recent acts of violence in the DRC could amount to war crimes. In March UN Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed [JURIST report] that the remains of two human rights investigators were found in the DRC.