GENEVA / DRC HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS KASAIS

09-Jun-2017 00:02:02
The top United Nations human rights official called on Friday for establishing an international investigation into massacres and other crimes committed in Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where mass graves have been found. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / DRC HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS KASAIS
TRT: 2:02
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 9 JUNE 2017 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation into the widespread human rights violations and abuses that have occurred in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the existence of at least 42 mass graves.”
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“According to information gathered by the UN Human Rights teams, soldiers from the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) reportedly dug many of the graves after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu militia over the past several months. Reports of summary executions and other killings – including of children – as well as allegations of sexual violence have been documented since August 2016.”
6. Close up, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“It is the sovereign duty of the Government of the DRC to carry out judicial investigations into human rights violations committed on its territory and we will continue to support the Government by providing advice and support towards its fulfilment of these obligations. However the crimes committed in the Kasais appear to be of such gravity that they must be of concern to the international community as a whole, and in particular the Human Rights Council.”
8. Close up, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“What we are calling for is investigations that investigate these crimes regardless of the perpetrators. What we have seen so far that there are investigations on the crimes allegedly committed by the Kamuina Nsapu milita, but we have not seen the same kinds of investigations for crimes allegedly committed by the army and the police.”
10. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
The top United Nations human rights official called on Friday for establishing an international investigation into massacres and other crimes committed in Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where mass graves have been found.

Speaking to media today (9 Jun) in Geneva, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ravina Shamdasani said that the “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation into the widespread human rights violations and abuses that have occurred in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the existence of at least 42 mass graves.”

Since August 2016, some 1,3 million people from the Kasais have been internally displaced by the violence while some 30,000 refugees have fled to Angola. OHCHR has documented 42 mass graves, although the actual number might be even higher.

Shamdasani informed the media “according to information gathered by the UN Human Rights teams, soldiers from the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) reportedly dug many of the graves after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu militia over the past several months. Reports of summary executions and other killings – including of children – as well as allegations of sexual violence have been documented since August 2016.”

High Commissioner Zeid in early May urged the Government of the DRC to take a series of steps to ensure a credible, transparent investigation, respecting international standards and with the involvement of OHCHR to be established by 8 June. However, the Governments response to date falls short.

Shamdasani said that “it is the sovereign duty of the Government of the DRC to carry out judicial investigations into human rights violations committed on its territory and we will continue to support the Government by providing advice and support towards its fulfilment of these obligations. However the crimes committed in the Kasais appear to be of such gravity that they must be of concern to the international community as a whole, and in particular the Human Rights Council.”

The flare-up in the Kasais occurred in August 2016 when a customary chief was killed by the FARDC. The Kamuina Nsapu militia, named after the chief, sought to avenge his killing by targeting police and members of the army, state symbols and institutions, such as government buildings, police stations and churches, recruiting children to join its ranks.

While a number of national investigations have been launched into the alleged crimes committed by the Kamuina Nsapu, the Government has failed to conduct meaningful investigations into the conduct of the FARDC and the Police Nationale Congolaise.

Shamdasani said, “What we are calling for is investigations that investigate these crimes regardless of the perpetrators.” She added, “What we have seen so far that there are investigations on the crimes allegedly committed by the Kamuina Nsapu milita, but we have not seen the same kinds of investigations for crimes allegedly committed by the army and the police.”
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