Security Council hears of "disturbing levels" of violence in DRC's Kasaï provinces

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Jean-Pierre Lacroix. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (file)

Despite efforts to protect civilians in the Kasaï provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), human rights violations and abuses continue to persist, UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The Kasais are located in western DRC where a militia known as Kamuina Nsapu has targeted and killed scores of civilians, customary chiefs, public servants and security officers.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Lacroix told ambassadors that the violence in the Kasaï provinces has reached "disturbing levels."

Besides the killings, there has been an "equally worrisome" increase in inter-ethnic violence, he said, while the UN also has received "disturbing reports" of summary executions and rapes committed by members of the security forces, the FARDC.

The UN mission in the country, MONUSCO, has deployed personnel to the region and is helping to restore stability through human rights monitoring, political outreach and other measures.

"Despite these efforts, disturbing reports of human rights violations and abuses continue to be received on a daily basis. Dozens of mass graves have been reported. So far, national investigations efforts are slow. The recent conviction by the military court in Mbuji Mayi of seven FARDC officers involved in the killing of civilians in Mwanza Lomba is a small but encouraging step in the right direction.  I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council requesting the appointment of international investigators to assist the authorities in this regard."

Mr Lacroix also reported on his recent visit to the DRC where he underlined the need to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of two UN investigators in the Kasais earlier this year.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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