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UN Human Rights Office says credible reports suggest at least 890 killed in western DRC violence in mid-December

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GENEVA (16 January 2019) – The UN Human Rights Office said Wednesday that according to allegations from credible sources, at least 890 people were killed between 16 and 18 December in four villages in Yumbi territory, Mai-Ndombe province in the west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in what appear to have been clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities.

Reports suggest that at least 82 people were also injured in the attacks, but the actual number of casualties is expected to be higher. Some 465 houses and buildings were burned down or pillaged, including two primary schools, a health centre, a health post, a market, and the office of the Commission Electoral National Independante (CENI). Most of the population of the affected villages has reportedly been displaced, including an estimated 16,000 people who sought refuge by crossing the Congo River into the Republic of Congo. The UN Human Rights Office has launched an investigation into these alarming reports. National judicial authorities have also initiated an investigation.

“It is crucial that this shocking violence be promptly, thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said. “This is essential to ensure justice for the victims of these horrific attacks, but also to prevent new episodes of intercommunal strife, and to address the anger and feelings of gross injustice that may otherwise lead to repeated cycles of violence between communities.”

The High Commissioner offered the advice and support of the UN Human Rights Office in the conduct of investigations, as well as in efforts to prevent the recurrence of such violence, and to work towards justice and reconciliation.

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.orgor Ravina Shamdasani - 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org
2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948.

The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

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