Ngetha in Democratic Republic of Congo
Human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of Congo are at risk of killings, threats, intimidation and judicial harassment. The risks are especially common for Women Human Rights Defenders and those working on land and environmental rights who are often seen as a threat to economic interests.
In the past few months alone, Ngetha Media Association for Peace have documented several cases of attack and violence, intimidation by human rights defenders at the hands of governments, corporate interests, security and military institutions and rebel groups. Here are a few recent examples of direct threats and illegal actions that we have documented in North Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Ituri province specifically:
- In Beni (North Kivu Province), and in Djugu Territory (Ituri Province) two human rights defenders were violently assassinated at the end of May 2020.
- In Beni, Freddy Kambale, a member of the citizen movement Lutte pour le changement (Fight for Change – Lucha), was shot in the head by a Congolese police officer during a peaceful demonstration to protest against repeated killings in Beni and its surroundings.
- On 26th May, police arrested at least seven Lucha activists in Ruthsuru who were organising a peaceful demonstration in memory of their murdered colleague in Beni.
- In the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri insecurity is currently on the rise with civilian populations paying the highest toll. Between October 2019 and April 2020, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) has documented at least 296 people killed, 151 others wounded and 38 people raped in Ituri Province alone, including several women and children.
- On 22nd May, human rights defender and president of the civil society organization of Walendu Djatsi Sud in Ituri, was killed by militia members of the Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (Cooperative for the development of the Congo – CODECO).The victim was abducted on 21st May and then murdered the next day in unclear circumstances while he was in the midst of a peace awareness campaign about 10 km from the centre of Bambu, where he was calling on the population to dissociate themselves from armed groups.
- Human rights defenders who criticized government policies, including on social media are intimidated and threatened, beaten, arrested, and in some cases prosecuted. They are particularly targeted by authorities and armed forces, journalists faced threats and harassment, and some broadcast programs or outlets were shut down upon instructions from officials. Congolese authorities cracked down on activists, journalists, and politicians, while using state of emergency measures temporarily imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to curb protests.
- Armed groups, and in some cases government security forces, attacked civilians, killing and wounding many. Some of the worst violence took place in Ituri, where ethnic Lendu-led militia have killed hundreds of mostly Hema villagers and forced hundreds of thousands out of their home. Three girls were raped and then killed with machetes by Djugu-based armed assailants during an incursion in a village in Mahagi territory, Ituri province. The humanitarian situation in the country remained alarming, with 5.5 million people internally displaced.
The above cases demonstrate the increasing number of violations against human rights defenders in the Ituri province North Eastern DR Congo.
Our work in Ituri Province of DR Congo includes:
- Support to human rights defenders and indigenous leaders facing persecution because of their activism;
- Investigating human rights violations, including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations.
- Carrying out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence.
- Empowering women and girls in Mukambu ,Angal and Mahagi-port chiefdoms to address Gender based Violence GBV
- Forest changes and deforestation monitoring in Mambasa, Djugu,Mahagi and Irumu territories in Ituri Province
Discover our work in DR Congo
Land grabbing and human rights violations- Emerging issues from Ngetha Media Association and Lake Albert Social Network Radio Talk show.
Ngetha Media Association for Peace held radio Talk shows to educate the communities in Albertine graben on the challenges and impacts that oil discovery and drilling has and will continue to cause to the surrounding communities and also proposing ways on how they can be mitigated. The talk shows were part of Ngetha Media Association …