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Democratic Republic of Congo

    June 22, 2018

    Amid persistent human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International wants the government to ensure that everyone can exercise their freedom of expression and association as the country prepares for the long-awaited December elections.

    DRC authorities must open up the civic space by lifting the ban on peaceful protests, releasing dissidents and stopping the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.

    “All unlawful measures that prevent or limit citizens’ participation and engagement, including the blanket ban on demonstrations, must be removed immediately, and freedom of expression – including press freedom - fully restored ahead of the elections,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher for the DRC.

    The country’s Electoral Commission is expected to announce the elections on 23 June, six months before the polling date, 23 December 2018.

    May 26, 2018

    A group of Amnesty volunteers will deliver a big box of letters to Microsoft Canada's headquarters at the end of May.

    Help them fill the box with letters to Microsoft! Continue reading for more information. 

    Amnesty is concerned about the strong possibility that there is child labour in Microsoft’s supply chain. Amnesty researchers have discovered that cobalt, a metal used in the rechargeable batteries of portable electronics such as laptops, tablets and cell phones, is being mined by children and adults under hazardous condvolunitions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Amnesty researchers traced the cobalt supply chain and determined that the cobalt is very likely used in batteries in products sold by Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others. We urged these companies, and others, to investigate their cobalt supply chains, publish the names of their smelters, and address any human rights issues, in accordance with international business and human rights guidelines.

    March 26, 2018

    The international community must ensure justice for the deaths of two UN experts killed while investigating human rights abuses in Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International said one year after their bodies were discovered.

    The remains of Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean, and Michael Sharp, an American, were discovered on 27 March 2017, two weeks after they disappeared as they investigated human rights violations in the wake of clashes between the Congolese army and supporters of a local chief who had been killed by government security forces.

    “Michael and Zaida were murdered while pursuing justice for the families of thousands of people, killed by militia groups and government security forces,” said Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Justice for them is overdue, and the DRC authorities have failed to credibly investigate the murder and other serious human rights violations perpetrated in the Kasai region. They must never be forgotten and their deaths must not be in vain.”

    March 02, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government that it is launching a new drive to tackle child labour in cobalt and copper mines, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Child labour and other human rights abuses have tainted the mining industry in the DRC for far too long, and we welcome the news that the government finally appears willing to tackle the problem.

    “When we first revealed that children were risking their lives doing back-breaking work in cobalt mines for products like smartphones and car batteries, there was outrage and rightly so. But child labour is not an isolated problem. The reality is that adults are risking their lives in hazardous conditions and earning a pittance to mine one of the world’s most lucrative minerals. If the DRC government is serious about eliminating human rights abuses in cobalt mines, it must address the root causes.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 22, 2018

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must promptly and thoroughly investigate and hold to account those suspected to be responsible for killing and injuring dozens of peaceful protesters in the capital Kinshasa on 21 January, said Amnesty International.

    Thousands of peaceful protesters rallied across the country in protests called by the Catholic Church to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down ahead of elections in December. The protesters were countered by security forces who shot live rounds at them killing at least six and injuring at least 49, according to the UN’s mission in the country.

    “This brutal response by the security forces to peaceful protests goes to show once again that repression has become the norm in the DRC, in blatant violation of the country’s constitution and its international human rights obligations,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the DRC.

    December 01, 2017

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo must investigate the heavy-handed police crackdown on yesterday’s protests in which at least one man was shot dead and dozens more injured, said Amnesty International today.

    Police also arbitrarily arrested more than 200 protesters in cities across the country. While many were released later in the day, at least 100 remain in detention, including 45 in Goma and 12 in the capital Kinshasa.

    “This wanton disregard for protesters’ lives and the unlawful use of force cannot be tolerated. The use of firearms against unarmed protesters contravenes DRC’s obligations under international law,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The DRC must promptly launch an effective and independent investigation into the killing and injuries and bring all those responsible to justice. The ongoing pattern of repression against peaceful protesters and its associated impunity must stop.”

    November 23, 2017
    Responding to reports that the London Metal Exchange has launched an investigation into whether cobalt mined by children is being traded in London, following an Amnesty International report linking several major brands to human rights abuses in the DRC, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:   “Transparency is absolutely crucial for eradicating the scourge of child labour from cobalt battery supply chains and we welcome the London Metal Exchange’s pledge to shine a light into the dark corners of the cobalt trade.  
    September 29, 2017

    By Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher

    The Scottish government recently announced plans to, by 2032, phase out petrol and diesel vehicles. By 2040, the only cars on United Kingdom roads will also be electric, and petrol stations will be replaced by car charging points. Meanwhile, in the United States, Elon Muskhas announced the launch of the Tesla Model 3, which he hopes will become the world’s first mass-market electric car.

    September 26, 2017

    (Kinshasa, September 26, 2017) – Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately and unconditionally release nine Congolese human rights and pro-democracy activists wrongfully detained for their participation in peaceful activities, 45 Congolese and international human rights organizations said today. Four activists were arrested on July 14 and 15, 2017 in Mbuji-Mayi and five others on July 31 in Lubumbashi.



    “The Congolese authorities have thrown activists in jail for joining peaceful protests calling for elections and for Congo’s constitution to be respected,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should release them immediately and ensure that all Congolese have the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their political views.”



    September 01, 2017

    In response to the commitment made this week by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to eliminate child labour in the mining sector by 2025, Seema Joshi, head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “This commitment could mark a significant step on the road towards eradicating the scourge of children as young seven working in the mines of the DRC. If delivered, it means future generations of Congolese children won’t spend their childhoods mining materials for our smartphones and electric cars, in dark, dirty and dangerous conditions.

    “The government’s strategy responds directly to findings uncovered by Amnesty International and for the first time, they have acknowledged that children are working in artisanal cobalt mines.

    “These are encouraging developments, but the key now is implementation. Previous government promises on tackling child labour have come to nothing. We’ll be watching very closely to ensure this latest commitment isn’t another false dawn for children in the DRC.”

    June 01, 2017

    (Geneva, June 1, 2017) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today

    March 29, 2017

    In response to the killing of two UN experts in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “These deaths should not be in vain, but serve as a reminder of the urgent need to end the violence in Kasai Province that has so far claimed more than 400 lives, and which the two UN officials lost their lives trying to shed a light on. 



    “The DRC government must also investigate the killings itself, while facilitating the UN’s own investigation, and ensure that those responsible are held to account. It must also continue to search for the interpreter and three motorcycle taxi drivers who were kidnapped with them, and remain unaccounted for.”

    Background

    The remains of the two UN experts – Michael Sharp, a US national, and Zaida Catalan of Sweden – were found on 27 March, two weeks after they were kidnapped.

    March 24, 2017

    Responding to today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) order awarding reparations to victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Germain Katanga case, Solomon Sacco, Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Adviser said:

    “Today's decision by the ICC is an important step towards addressing the horrific suffering of the victims of the atrocities committed by Germain Katanga including murder, destruction of property and pillaging.”

    “Providing full and effective reparation will help the victims of these war crimes and crimes against humanity to rebuild their lives. But we must not forgot that there are hundreds of thousands of other victims of similar crimes in the DRC, and whom the ICC will not be able to assist.”

    “Today’s decision should be a catalyst to end this impunity and demand that the DRC government ensures justice, truth and reparation for all victims across the country.”

    Background:

    February 14, 2017

    Amnesty International sent this case as an Urgent Action on December 19 2016.

     

    Musasa Tshibanda, an activist from the youth movement Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was released on 8 February. He was not charged. He had been in incommunicado detention since 16 December 2016 when he was arrested together with another activist, Gloria Senga.

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