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Democratic Republic of Congo

    March 30, 2015

    Released Monday 30 March 2015 00.01am GMT (01.01am BST)

    Amnesty International today launched a new campaign for the release of Congolese youth human rights activists held incommunicado in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for 15 days. The activists were arrested on 15 March when security forces stormed a press conference on youth civic engagement in political processes in the run up to the country’s elections.

    “Through this campaign, Amnesty International members and the public will stand in solidarity with activists experiencing the brunt of Congo’s continued crackdown before next year’s presidential election,” said Christian Rumu, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for the Great Lakes Region.

    “We hope this public outcry will persuade the Congolese authorities to comply with their obligations to release the activists held incommunicado in Kinshasa, and send a clear message that infringement of fundamental rights to liberty and freedom from torture and ill-treatment are not acceptable.”

    March 18, 2015

    The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must immediately and unconditionally release human rights activists arrested on 15 March in the capital, Kinshasa, for holding a meeting. Those suspected of criminal responsibility for the arbitrary arrests must be brought to justice in a fair trial.

    Five youth activists are among a group of civil society activists detained since 15 March following their arrest at the Centre Eloko ya Makasi, a cultural centre in Masina, Kinshasa. They were attending a press conference after a workshop on youth civic engagement in political processes.   A DRC journalist who was also held alongside the activists was released yesterday evening.

    “The DRC government must immediately release activists detained for peaceful assembly and free expression,” said Christian Rumu, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for the Great Lakes Region.

    “These arrests show the government’s continued crackdown on peaceful assembly before next year’s presidential election.”

    November 24, 2014

    Released 10am GMT 24 November 2014

    A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has denied justice to those affected, said Amnesty International today in a new report. 

    Bulldozed: How a mining company buried the truth about forced evictions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provides satellite imagery and other new evidence, exposing how the company’s subsidiary, Entreprise Général Malta Forrest (EGMF), supplied bulldozers that were used to unlawfully demolish homes and forcibly evict hundreds of people living next to the company’s Luiswishi mine in Kawama, Katanga in 2009. It also details how the companies and the Congolese government have obstructed attempts to achieve justice for the villagers ever since.

    “There is now overwhelming and irrefutable evidence showing that the forced evictions that Groupe Forrest International has denied for years in fact took place,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s’s Global Issues Director.

    October 31, 2014

    UN peacekeepers and the Congolese authorities must act urgently to protect civilians from a spate of sporadic attacks by armed rebels which has left at least 100 dead in the last month said Amnesty International today.

    In the most recent attack, on the night of 30 October 2014, it is reported that 18 civilians were killed and seven seriously wounded by the armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), in Kampi ya Chuyi approximately 75 kilometres from Beni town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    “The ADF and other armed groups must renounce their unlawful campaign of violence against civilians. The Congolese authorities and UN peacekeepers must ensure civilians in peril are protected,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa.

    “These acts of unlawful killings and abductions of civilians must not go unpunished. The Congolese authorities should ensure that prompt impartial and independent investigation is conducted to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    July 05, 2014

    The Congolese authorities and the International Criminal Court (ICC) must do everything in their power to ensure that three men due to be returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this weekend do not face the death penalty, torture or other serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International believes the three former ICC witnesses face a real risk of persecution and reprisals in the DRC because of the testimony they submitted to the ICC accusing President Kabila of involvement in serious crimes.

    “Amnesty International has protested against the return of these detained witnesses and calls on the ICC and the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that all necessary protective measures are in place when they arrive in Kinshasa,” said Evie Francq, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the DRC.

    “The ICC has a duty to monitor the wellbeing of these men when they return home and to ensure the local authorities live up to their promises to protect the men from human rights violations. The Congolese justice system must cooperate,” said Evie Francq.

    March 07, 2014

    The International Criminal Court has convicted Germain Katanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for his part in a vicious attack on a village in eastern Congo where civilians were massacred.

    “The verdict will provide victims with a measure of some justice and we hope that this will spur the DRC to tackle other cases that have so far escaped justice,” said Stephanie Barbour, Head of Office, Amnesty International’s Centre for International Justice.

    Katanga was convicted of murder as a crime against humanity, murder as a war crime, deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population, destruction of property as a war crime and pillage as a war crime.

    However, he was also acquitted of five counts of rape and sexual slavery as a crime against humanity and a war crime and the use of children under the age of 15 taking direct part in hostilities as a war crime.


    February 25, 2014

    Amnesty International has called on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and surrender him to the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

    The ICC has issued arrest warrants for President Bashir for his alleged involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.
    "The Democratic Republic of Congo should not shield President Omar al-Bashir from international justice," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Regional Director for East Africa at Amnesty International.

    “His visit to the country is an opportunity to enforce the arrest warrants and send a message that justice must prevail."

    If the DRC does not arrest President Bashir, it will violate its obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    President Omar al-Bashir flew to Kinshasa this evening to take part in a meeting of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).  

    December 15, 2013

    Released 00.01 GMT 16 December 2013

    Death threats and intimidation by armed groups and state security forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the past year have made it extremely difficult for human rights defenders to carry out their work, Amnesty International said today. 

    A new report “Better to die while telling the truth”: Attacks against human rights defenders in North Kivu, DRC details the heightened clampdown on human rights defenders by armed groups and the national security forces since the crisis escalated last year.

    “The whole population is vulnerable to human rights abuses in North Kivu and those speaking out to protect these people are deliberately targeted from all sides,” says Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director.

    “Members of armed groups and the national security services have been attempting to silence human rights defenders throughout the country for too long. And this cannot go on.”

    August 23, 2013

    Warring parties in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo must step up efforts to protect civilians from attacks, Amnesty International urged after a small child and a woman were killed and nearly two dozen wounded amid shelling on Thursday.

    The shelling attack hit three areas of the eastern town of Goma on 22 August, resulting in 21 civilians and one soldier being treated for injuries. An eight-year-old child and a woman among the wounded later died. The origin of the attack is not yet known.

    “Such loss of life is tragic and a violation of international humanitarian law,” said Lucy Freeman, Deputy Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.  

    August 15, 2013

    By Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International

    I have just left Katanga in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where my colleague Lisa Tassi and I were following up on Amnesty International’s work on mining and human rights in the region.

    In some ways this is easy to do. Besides mining – mostly of copper and cobalt – precious little happens in southern Katanga. But two very different methods are employed to extract these minerals. Industrial mining, involving large multinational companies, is managed from air-conditioned offices and carried out with heavy equipment; small-scale artisanal mining is frequently done in sweltering heat by men (and in some cases boys under the age of 18) working with basic tools.

    Artisanal mining can be a desperate business. On top of suffering harsh work conditions, many creuseurs – meaning “diggers”, as the miners are known locally – are ruthlessly exploited by traders who buy from them along a largely opaque supply chain. In theory the state has some oversight of the system, but the reality is quite different.

    June 19, 2013

    Chinese mining companies operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need to do more to prevent their operations from leading to human rights abuses, Amnesty International warned today in a new report.

    Profits and Loss: Mining and human rights in Katanga, examines the impact of the mining industry in south-eastern DRC. 

    The report documents a number of serious abuses involving local and foreign companies including forced evictions – illegal under international law – and dangerous and exploitative working conditions.

    The report pays particular attention to the role of Chinese companies, which are on course to become the most influential and powerful foreign economic actors in the extractive sector in the DRC – a country with some of the world’s most important mineral reserves.

    China also imports significant amounts of cobalt and copper from the DRC, much of which continues to be extracted by small-scale miners – also known as artisanal miners – using handheld tools, and often working in terrible conditions.

    March 19, 2013

    The United States and Rwandan governments must move quickly to ensure the safe surrender of Bosco Ntaganda, to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International said today.

    The US State Department confirmed that Bosco Ntaganda – who heads a faction of the M23 armed group - arrived at the US Embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on 18 March 2013 and requested to be transferred to The Hague. The US pledged to facilitate this request.

    Amnesty International is calling on the US and Rwandan authorities to ensure that Bosco Ntaganda’s rights are protected pending his transfer to the ICC, where he can face a fair trial with full respect for his rights.

    “Surrendering Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC should act as a strong deterrent to others and help break persistent cycles of impunity that wrack eastern DRC,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa Director.

    “Bosco Ntaganda is accused by the ICC of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, eastern DRC in 2002 and 2003. Crimes that caused untold suffering to the people of eastern DRC.”

    Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) inhale toxic dust as they mine the cobalt that powers the batteries we rely on for our phones, tablets and laptops. Yet electronics manufacturers – global brands including Microsoft – won’t tell us if their cobalt supply chains are tainted by child labour. They have a responsibility to do so –to check for and address child labour in their supply chains, setting an example for the rest of the industry to follow.

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