DR CONGO: 55 NGOs condemn killing of leading human rights defender, Floribert Chebeya

Date: June 9, 2010
Document id:ALRC-COS-14-11-2010
Speaker: ISHR
HRC section: General Debate, Item 4

A Joint Oral Statement by the International Service for Human Rights, CIVICUS, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Open Society Institute, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Democracy Coalition Project, Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to the 14th session of the Human Rights Council

DR CONGO: 55 NGOs condemn killing of leading human rights defender, Floribert Chebeya

Mr President,

I�m speaking of behalf of eight NGOs.

In a joint letter to President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 5 June 2010, 55 NGOs have expressed their shock and sadness at the killing of Floribert Chebeya, a prominent and courageous human right defender in the DRC.

We are also deeply shocked and saddened by the killing of our friend and colleague, Floribert Chebeya. The broad international and national condemnation of this appalling act, including by the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and several States in this Council has given us encouragement.

The Council should react to Floribert�s death by calling for concrete actions that ensure justice and accountability. There must be no impunity for attacks on human rights defenders. The Council must also help protect other Congolese human rights defenders and journalists who face intimidation, threats and harassment. We call for particular attention to the security of Floribert�s family and colleagues.

We therefore join many high level personalities including the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary-General in calling for a credible, impartial and independent commission of inquiry to investigate the death of Floribert and the disappearance of his driver, Fid�le Bazana Edadi.

Multiple announcements made about the start of investigations by various security services, the police and the public prosecutor�s office during the past few days lack credibility and impartiality. In light of the flaws that have characterised previous investigations into the death of human rights defenders and journalists, we do not believe the current efforts will expose the truth of what happened or bring justice for the appalling crime.

We urge all States to continue to show their concern for the situation of human rights defenders in the DRC and ensure an effective investigation into Floribert�s killing. We also strongly urge the Government of the DRC to accept the Secretary-General�s offer to assist in the investigation.

The Human Rights Council should stay informed about progress in the investigation, and the development of the situation of human rights defenders in the DRC. Building on the good practice of other Governments to inform the Council of measures taken to investigate and ensure accountability, we would welcome regular updates by the Government of the DRC on the results of the investigation. We suggest that you, Mr President, and your successor inform the Council of such progress.

Thank you

About ALRC

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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