Zaire: UN Human Rights Report, 03/16/'96

Zaire: UN Human Rights Report, 03/16/'96

Zaire: UN Human Rights Report

Date Distributed (ymd): 960316

Report on the Human Rights Situation in Zaire presented by Special Rapporteur Roberto Garreton, in compliance with resolution 1995/69 of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

E/CN.4/1996/66 January 29, 1996

Original in Spanish

Excerpts from full 35-page report

Unofficial translation by Africa Policy Information Center

I. Introduction

B. Activities of the Special Rapporteur

[consultations in Geneva, Brussels, and the United States; a visit to Zaire from the 10th to the 21st of December, 1995, including visits to Kinshasa, Goma and Bukavu]

5. In Zaire the Special Rapporteur interviewed the Prime Minister, the ministers of foreign relations, the interior, justice and defense and the vice-minister of foreign relations, the two vice-presidents of the High Council of the Republic-Transition Parliament (HCR-PT), the governor of Kinshasa and the president of the RDR (Rassemblement Democratique pour le Republique), the governor of South Kivu and the secretary-general of the recently created Zairian National Commission for Human Rights (CNZDH), which plans to be a "national institution" for promotion and protection of these rights. Also interviewed were the Bishop of Bukavu, ambassadors of several countries, the Apostolic Delegate, representatives of the European Union and representatives of UNCHR in Kinshasa, Goma and Bukavu.

6. Some of the non-governmental organizations interviewed were: Femmes chretiennes pour la defense et le development (FCDD); Groupe AMOS; Ligue des droits de l'homme (Zaire); Ligue zairoise des electeurs; Ligue nationale pour les elections libres et transparantes (LINELIT); Agence pour la diffusion du droit humanitaire (ADDIHAC); Ligue zairoise pour la defense des droits des etudiants et des elSves (LIZADEEL); Association des cadres penitenciares du Zaire (ACPZ); Universelle droits de l'homme (UDH); Prison fellowship; Commission justice, paix et sauvegarde de la creation de l'Eglise du Christ au Zaire; La voix des sans voix; Association zairoise pour la defense des droits de l'homme (AZADHO); Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH-Zaire); Comite pour la democratie et les droits de l'homme; Association des intellectuelles pour la defense de la democratie, Justice et paix catholique; Justice et paix de l'Eglise Kimbanguiste; and Avocats sans frontieres. Also interviewed were journalists from Umoja, La Renaissance, L'Observateur, Le Potentiel, Le Compatriote, L'Economica, Le Palmares, Le Groignon y Le Phare. In Bukavu there were meetings with members of the anti-Bwaki Committee, UGEAFI, SK, AFECEF, CRONGD, PADECO, GEAPO, Action sociale et d'organisation paysanne (ASOP), Heritiers de la justice, Commission justice et paix, CADDHOM, Baderka Kalemie de Shaba, ADIPET y Societe civile.


A. General Conclusions

1. Concerning the recommendations formulated by the Special Rapporteur in his first report

116. The Special Rapporteur, in accordance with paragraph 16 of resolution 1995/69 of the Commission of Human Rights, must evaluate the extent to which the Government of Zaire has taken its recommendations into account. Sadly, the results are disheartening.

117. In essence, there has been no progress on the following points: effective control over the security apparatus of the State by the Government and the HCR-PT and the end of impunity [of the security forces]; establishment of a common command over these bodies, separation of the functions of defense and police and concern for their training (E/CN.4.1995/67, paragraphs.257 and 258); real and sincere limitation of the powers of Marshall Mobutu (para. 260); clarification of the crimes of the journalists Kabeya and Kavula (para. 263); issuing of electoral laws and further prerequisites for the elections (para. 264); ratification of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatments or Punishments, including the declaration of article 21 (para. 265); strengthening the powers of the judiciary and the elimination of threats against judges, as well as the fulfilment, by the judges, of their role as guarantor of freedoms (para. 266); openness to the grievances of civil society (para. 267), and collaboration with the procedures of the Commission (para. 268). Moreover, there have been steps backward with regard to the independence of the judiciary and the protection of human rights by the judges.

118. The Government made important moves toward the regularisation of pay for civil servants, although it seems, from the grievances voiced, that it has gone back on its word (para. 261). And while Zaire presented reports to the Committee against Racial Discrimination and to the Committee against Torture--without specifying its own position as party to the Convention--its lack of cooperation with other organs and mechanisms of the Commission remains the same.

119. The Special Rapporteur is grateful for the invitation by the Government to visit its country, but he must report he did not receive the necessary cooperation with regard to the information sought after.

2. Concerning the democratic process

120. The present report must conclude that 1995 was a year lost for the process of transition. Neither the approval of the law nor the nomination of members of the CNE, nor the proposal for an electoral calender permits one to think otherwise. Nothing has changed in any substantive manner and the frustration of the Zairean population, which the Special Rapporteur had feared in his first report, has mounted:

a) The absolute power of the President is still in place; he administers politics; he controls the administration of the regions and the national bank and his deputies are the majority in the HCR-PT; the armed forces, the security services and the police follow his orders, with the result of impunity, contrary to the Sovereign National Conference agreements. A Government plan, which would create a Supreme Council of Defense and would revise the status of these bodies, is waiting for the response of the Armed Forces of Zaire, which on principle will not accept it.

b) Of the key requirements for the realization of the elections, only one has been met, that of the nomination of the National Electoral Commission, with strong objections from those sectors that do not belong to the political class; meanwhile leading members of the political family of the President insist on the inadvisability of the prerequisites for elections, saying that they "discourage the process" (the first vice-president of the HCR-PT, Anzuluni Bembe, and the governor of Kinshasa, Mungul Diaka).

c) There has been no effort to publicize the electoral law.

d) An acute legislative paralysis has been observed.

e) Serious issues which affect the whole population are not discussed: development plans; political participation of women; privatization of public enterprises; etc.

f) No political opening on public radio and television.

g) The State continues to be absent, which critically affects the enjoyment of civil rights and liberties and, moreover, economic, social and cultural rights. The absence of the State, denounced in 1994 (see E/CN/195/67, para.126 and para.255) was pointed to frequently by all the interviewees.

h) The proposed electoral calender is unrealistic and is already behind in all the activities foreseen for 1995.

3. Concerning respect for human rights

121. The picture described in resolutions 1994/87 and 1995/69, and in the first report of the Special Rapporteur, unfortunately remains unchanged. The right to life continues to be at the mercy of miltary bodies and the police, whose impunity is intact; judges impose the death penalty on a regular basis and the President does not decide on petitions for clemency; pillages, tortures, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, rape of detained women or victims of pillages have not stopped; public demonstrations are punished with disproportionate violence, the State continues to protect these abuses. Neither is there increased freedom of the radio or the television; prison conditions have not changed; there are no plans to establish the judicial equality of women nor to eradicate discrimination.

122. Especially serious is ethnic and regional violence, and the attitude of the authorities. All the testimonies spoke of instigation by the political forces of the president, and that which has occurred in Shaba since 1992, shows this clearly. Conflicts arise and develop without any intervention by the authorities to stop them, leading to the extreme in Shaba, where "regional cleansing" was completed unhindered.

123. The situation is worrying for those originating from Rwanda [prior to the 1990s], who were born and lived in Zaire and whose ancestors also made their life in this country, but who, due to a heightened nationalism, are not recognised as Zaireans. The international community has attempted to reduce the cases of repatriation and has established the principle of nationality of the country of birth for those who lack any other, but in Zaire, in the last thirty years, there has been instilled an anti-Rwandan feeling that calls for repatriation.

124. The Special Rapporteur cannot share the perspective of the Government of Zaire which seeks justification in the exception in point 2 of article 33 of the Convention on the status of Refugees, in order to proceed with the return (refoulement) of Rwandan refugees. This exception applies only in individual cases in which the refugee can be considered a danger to the security of the country he is in. The expulsions of August and those announced for 31 December, which seem to have been suspended, do not fit those criteria ... The Special Rapporteur hopes that the agreements of Cairo and Geneva represent the definitive decision of the Government of Zaire not to continue with the forced expulsions, and the international community has also understood the situation as such.

B. Recommendations

1.To the Zairean Authorities

125. Democracy and human rights. The Special Rapporteur must reiterate all the recommendations made in the first report, starting from two key concepts: a) there will not be respect for human rights as long as there is no real limitation on the powers Marshall Mobutu has exercised at his own discretion for more than 30 years; b) an end must be put to the impunity of the armed forces, intelligence services and the police. ...

126. Civil and political rights. Without prejudice to the reiteration of the recommendations of the first report, it is essential to insist on certain matters: a) real room for freedoms must be created in public radio and television, currently dominated by the political family of the President; b) the forces of order must be trained for humane and professional conduct with respect to public demonstrations, ...; c) there must be scrupulous respect for basic principles concerning the treatment of prisoners and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatments or Punishments.

127. Economic, social and cultural rights. The Government must not remain indifferent to the suffering of its population through lack of respect for these rights. It is imperative to adopt the necessary measures, up to the maximum of the resources available, to improve education, health, dwelling, in cooperation with civil society.

128. Civil society. Civil society frequently groups itself in informal bodies, whether or not they are recognized in judicial terms or by an act of authority. They must be allowed act with freedom, without being subjected to impossible demands, and they warrant being taken seriously.

129. Tolerance. The Government ought not see enemies where they do not exist. It must stop aggressive language against those originating from Rwanda and Burundi, and it must halt setting one ethnic group against others. If the political class does not give the example with a discourse of tolerance and coexistence, they should not be surprised at the conflicts mentioned in this report.

130. Nationality. The situation affecting all the Banyamulengue and Banyarwanda constitutes a serious violation of human rights, beginning with the right to nationality. Recognising their Zairean nationality is not only in conformity with minimum principles of humanity but it is also an international obligation. Moreover: it does not conflict with the Transitional Constitutional Act of the Transition of April 9 1994, whose article 7.2 prevents double nationality, since those originating from Rwanda have none. ...

132. Judgement of those accused of genocide. The international obligations undertaken by Zaire require it, in addition, not to give refuge to those who have committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity as defined in international organs (article 1, F, a) of the Convention on the Status of Refugees) as is the case of genocide. If the International Tribunal calls, to be judged, people who have invoked the status of refugee in Zaire without being so (those accused of genocide are not eligible for refugee status), they must be put at the disposition of this Tribunal.

133. Rights of women. A fundamental part of education in general, but especially that of the police, the armed forces and prison wardens, is that of respect for the dignity of woman, a matter in which the failings are enormous. The Governemt must prevent these abuses--an area in which the contribution of non-governmental organistions can be considerable--and sanction them in an exemplary manner. Futhermore, it must fulfil the Convention with respect to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against the woman, to which Zaire is party, and protect judicial equality of men and women.

134. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights. The Government must endorse the agreement of cooperation and make available facilities in the country for the installation of the office suggested in the first report (E/CN.4/1995/67, para. 277).

135. National Zairean Commission on Human Rights. Nothing is achieved by establishing a national institution which does not rely on the participation of civil society. The interest of Government in establishing this Commission, with a pluralist and tranparent character, must be mainfest from the start, must protect the possibililty of giving a public character to its reports and recommendations, the freedom to have recourse to it and in general respect for the Principles approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2. To non-governmental organisations

136. The rapporteur insists on the need for professionalization of the NGOs, the only way in which their dedicated efforts may be useful. These groups understand the message of the Special Rapporteur, and the reports this year were much more significant than in 1994. The call to international NGOs to assist the Zaireans with human rights, development, gender and victims must be reiterated.

3. To the International Community

137. The international community must maintain its vigilance over the already prolonged process of transition and the deteriorated situation of human rights, as was stated in the first report (para.272, para.273 and para.276). But also it must continue with its assistance for attention to the refugees. In 1994, the Special Rapporteur demonstrated that it "is necessary to look for a viable, safe, humane, dignified and urgent solution" for the refugees of Kivu. The desperation which was seen in Zaire with regard to this problem must be completely understood and assumed with the classic criterion of distributing of the load. If it is demanded, and with reason, of Zaire that it fulfils its obligation to respect the principle of non-refoulement, so too, must it be aided in search of a solution for the key aspects presented.

138. Also the necessity for an active and preventative diplomacy must be reiterated to avoid in Zaire the horrors of Rwanda and Burundi, and to which para. 274 of the first report refers. The concerns of the Special Rapporteur who is endorsing this brief are shared with the Special Rapporteur in charge of the question of the extrajudicial, summarary or arbitrary executions, Bacre Waly Ndiaye ( in his report E/CN.4/1996/4/Add 1, para. 121), likewise for the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burundi, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro ( para.170 of his report E/CN.4/1996/16), and those who have asked for a close cooperation between the Special Rapporteurs in charge of the human rights situations in Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire, coordination which calls for human and financial support.


Note: The prime minister of Zaire, Leon Kengo wa Dondo, is in the United States on a private visit to New York, Washington and San Francisco, from March 18 through March 22.


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Sat, 16 Mar 1996 19:54:19 -0500 Subject: Zaire: UN Human Rights Report