Congo Seeks to Expel UN Rights Official on Killings CommentMalcolm Beith
The Democratic Republic of Congo declared a United Nations human-rights official unwelcome in the country after a UN report claimed the nation’s police force executed at least nine people in the capital, Kinshasa.
Interior Minister Richard Muyej told reporters in the city yesterday that Scott Campbell, director of the UN Joint Human Rights Office in Congo, must leave the country immediately.
The report on the executions, which took place from November 2013 to February 2014, was conducted in a “partisan manner with the intention of discrediting the Congolese national police and demoralizing the republic’s institutions,” Muyej said.
The UN mission in Congo, known by its French acronym Monusco, didn’t have a response to the accusations, spokesman Carlos Araujo said by phone. No action will be taken until the government formally issues a statement about Campbell, he said.
The UN has about 20,000 peacekeepers and other personnel in Congo that have helped President Joseph Kabila defeat rebel groups that operate in the country’s mineral-rich eastern region. Monusco has supported Congolese forces in repelling and containing insurgents, Lambert Mende, spokesman for the government, said by phone today.
The human-rights official “contradicts the relationship we have with the UN,” Mende said. The administration won’t investigate the claims made in Campbell’s report, he said. “To investigate the investigation is impossible.”
The Congolese government should “investigate and prosecute the killings and disappearances documented in the Monusco report,” Ida Sawyer, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mailed statement. “Expelling a senior UN official for speaking out about human-rights abuses would send a worrying message for freedom of expression in Congo.”