Zeid calls for international probe into DRC violations

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The development comes after the UN rights chief urged the Government of the DRC in early May to carry out a credible, transparent investigation into alleged rights violations in the Kasais. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Massive rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) including the discovery of mass graves should be the subject of an international probe following government inaction, the UN's human rights chief said on Friday.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's appeal follows violence in the country's Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces dating back to August last year.

At least 42 mass graves have been uncovered that are linked to clashes between national troops, the FARDC, and local militia.

Daniel Johnson has more.

At the UN Human Rights Council earlier this week, High Commissioner Zeid gave the DRC until Thursday to announce an inquiry into the Kasais bloodshed between government and Kamuina Nsapu militia.

Spokesperson for the rights chief Ravina Shamdasani said that the UN has documented reports of summary executions and of other killings – including children – and reports of sexual violence.

"This call for an international investigation by the High Commissioner does not come out of the blue. The High Commissioner has been engaging with the authorities and offering to do joint investigations. Unfortunately their response has fallen short. They have accepted our offer of support and assistance but it has fallen short in terms of what we were expecting in terms of a proper, transparent and meaningful investigation into these allegations. So this is why the High Commissioner is calling for an international investigation and we have every hope that the government of the DRC will cooperate."

Ms Shamdasani said that the government had investigated alleged crimes by the Kamuina Nsapu militia but not those reportedly linked to its own forces.

The violence in the Kasais has displaced 1.3 million people and pushed tens of thousands more into neighbouring Angola.

Meanwhile, UN Children's Fund UNICEF said that the violence in the Kasais had destroyed more than 600 schools and left many more closed for more than 100 days.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’13″



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