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UN Human Rights Chief alarmed by reports of violations in Congo


New York  –   The UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Al Hussein, on Wednesday expressed concern over what he described as very alarming reports coming out of the Republic of Congo regarding government security operations.

Al Hussein said in a statement that since the March 20 presidential election, there have been reports that security operations have been conducted against opposition leaders and supporters.

He said that they allegedly attacked a police station and areas in the southern part of the capital on April 4.

He noted that the government had announced that 17 people died in security operations, including three members of security forces, and several others wounded.

“There have been reports of mass arrests and torture in detention, as well as the killing and displacement of people from the Pool.

“The reports have been difficult to verify, given the lack of access to the area by independent actors,’’ he said.

He, however, urged the government to ensure that humanitarian actors access the Pool and that security forces act in full accordance with the Republic of Congo’s obligations under international human rights law.

Al Hussein also stressed the need for any incidents involving the use of force, particularly lethal force; by the security forces must be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated.

“All those arrested and detained must not be ill-treated, and they should either be charged and brought before a judge, in line with international due process standards, or be swiftly released,’’ he added.

He further called on the government, political leaders and their supporters to endeavour to resolve all differences peacefully.

Al Hussein urged that resolution must be within the law and they should eschew violence in the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. (PANA/NAN)

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