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MONUC: One must not establish a climate of persecution against the opposition

MONUC - April 4, 2007 5:54 PM

MONUC - Kinshasa Congo

During the weekly press conference of April 4 2007, MONUC deplored the acts of intimidation and threats of March 22 and 23 last, aimed at many opposition members, including those considered to be associated to the MLC- Mr. Bemba’s political party.

“MONUC received information that the residences of 27 people, including 19 members of the opposition, as well as 8 journalists, were subjected to visits from the security forces, in which there was some looting,” explained MONUC spokesperson Kemal Saiki.

On the same issue, MONUC demanded of the highest authorities in the state to guarantee that the Congolese security forces act in conformity with the law, and not seek to establish a climate of persecution against people associated with the opposition, or those who originate from Equateur province, a stronghold of the MLC.

“It is crucial that the fundamental rights of individual security and liberty, as well as the liberty of opinion and expression, which are guaranteed by the DRC constitution, should be respected by all the security forces in relation to Congolese citizens, which includes members of the opposition and the press,” Mr. Saiki added.

In addition, MONUC has put in place a multi-disciplinary investigation team charged with verifying the allegations of human rights violations - summary executions, rapes, torture, illegal detention, looting and forced disappearances - which were committed by both sides in the recent Kinshasa conflict.

MONUC is relying on the collabouration of the Congolese government in order to gather all the necessary information for the investigation, and to have unlimited access to all detention centers.

In the presidential declaration dated April 3 2007, the UN Security Council underlined the ‘legitimate character of the new institutions created following democratic elections, and the necessity for these institutions to ensure the security of the population, and the importance for them to act within the law, as well as respecting international human rights laws, and to act against all unnecessary or disproportionate use of force.’

Furthermore, the Security Council appealed to the DRC government to respect the role and rights given to all parties by the constitution, with the aim of guaranteeing their effective participation in national political debate, and to encourage all parties to continue to adhere to the rules of political democracy.

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