Press briefing notesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
DRC: killings in a demonstration in Goma
01 September 2023
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
We are extremely alarmed that at least 43 people were killed, including a policeman, and 56 injured during demonstrations on Wednesday in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. We have received information indicating that the death toll may be higher.
The demonstrations were organised against the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), the Regional Force of the East African Community, other UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations.
We note the Government’s announcement that an investigation has been opened into this incident and call for it to be thorough, effective, and impartial. Such an investigation must also comprehensively examine the use force by the security forces. Those responsible for violations must be held to account, regardless of their affiliation.
At least 222 people were reportedly arrested, including women and children.
We are concerned that the risk of human rights violations in such a charged context is high. It is crucial that the rights of those arrested are fully respected, including their due process rights; and for relevant authorities to ensure continued access to detained individuals by the UN Joint Human Rights Office.
People have a right to express themselves freely and to assemble peacefully, even if in protest at the United Nations and other actors. Authorities must facilitate the right to peaceful assembly.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk calls on the authorities to ensure that future law enforcement actions in the context of the policing of public assemblies fully adhere to international human rights norms and standards. Our Office stands ready to continue our work with national authorities in this regard.
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