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Enforced Disappearance of Human Rights Defenders in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Banjul , 12 July 2007: The Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Me Reine Alapini-Gansou, expresses her profound concern following information she has received regarding acts of violence against human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Special Rapporteur expresses particular concern following reports of alleged enforced disappearance of human rights defenders in DRC; particularly in Kivu, where in recent months a number of human rights defenders have either been allegedly harrassed, arrested, abducted, tortured or assasinated.

The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to take all necessary measures to guarantee the freedom of human rights defenders in the DRC to carry out their work as human rights defenders. The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders.

The Special Rapporteur wishes to remind the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo of its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and its responsibilities under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The government is also respectfully reminded of its obligations under the Grand Bay and Kigali Declarations and other international human rights instruments ratified by the DRC.