UN rights chief appoints panel on DRC Kasais abuses

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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has highlighted widespread attacks against civilians in the Kasais. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Three international rights experts have been appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to examine grave abuses in the Kasais region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it's been announced.

The development follows the adoption of a resolution by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June.

At the time, Member States highlighted the existence of mass graves, serious sexual violence and the use of child soldiers in the vast central zone.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Violence in DRC's Kasais region between local Kamuina Nsapu militia and government troops dates back to August last year, and clashes are still happening.

Well over a million people have been displaced and many dozens of mass graves have been uncovered.

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has also documented reports of summary executions and other killings, including children.

Three international experts will now start to follow up on these allegations: Bacre Ndiaye from Senegal, Luc Cote from Canada and Fatimata M'Baye from Mauritania.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:

"So the team has been mandated to collect information to determine the facts and circumstances including by visiting the sites where these violations are alleged to have taken place, so we count on the cooperation of the government of the DRC to facilitate these visits and access to the country, to the sites and to the relevant people. And it's also very important that the government understands that this team of experts has been mandated to look into violations committed regardless of who the perpetrators are."

High Commissoner Zeid plans to present an update on the situation in the Kasais to the Human Rights Council in March next year.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’12″

 

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