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Date: Mon, 2 Dec 96 18:58:31 CST
From: Amnesty_International@io.org
Organization: ?
Article: 1692

This News Service is posted by theInternational Secretariat of Amnesty International, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ (Tel +44-71-413-5500, Fax +44-71-956-1157)

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Killings, turture and arbitrary arrests persist amidst international indifference

Amnesty International, 2 December 1996

KINSHASA -- Torture and arrests are taking place in the capital and massacres are taking place in areas of intense fighting in Zaire in the growing climate of insecurity and lawlessness, Amnesty International's Deputy Secretary General Herve Berger said today at the end of a two-week investigation trip to the country.

"Despite the authorities' tight control on travel to the country's trouble spots, reports of killings, torture and arbitrary arrest cannot be silenced," Mr Berger said.

"Zairian authorities have created a climate of intimidation, where questions demanding the truth about the role of the authorities in the current crisis are repressed. People are afraid to talk about recent events such as the persecution of members of Tutsi and Hutu minorities and the role of the Zairian Armed forces in Eastern Zaire. Meanwhile the armed groups in Kivu are committing deliberate and arbitrary killings of Zairians and refugees."

The Amnesty International team has documented violent human rights abuses committed by both the Zairian armed forces and the armed group who control much of North and South Kivu in eastern Zaire in a report released today in Kinshasa, (Zaire:Violent persecution by State and armed groups).

"We have received reports about the slaughter of hundreds of Rwandese refugees and displaced Zairians by Tutsi-led armed groups last week," Mr. Berger said.

The organization has obtained reports of hundreds of deliberate and arbitrary killings of Zairian civilians and refugees by members of the Tutsi-led armed groups, now known as L"Alliance des forces democratiques pour la liberation du Congo-Zaire (AFDL) in Bukavu, Uvira and Goma as well as the forcible repatriation of refugees to Rwanda and Burundi.

According to Amnesty International's information, about 500 Rwandese refugees and displaced Zairians were massacred by AFDL members on or around 18 November. The massacre took place at Chimanga refugee camp, about 60 km south of Bukavu. The AFDL have also rounded up and forcibly expelled refugees from Burundi, handing them over to Burundi government troops at the border. Hundreds of the returned refugees have been slaughtered by Burundi government soldiers.

The AFDL has also attacked the refugee camp of Mugunga, near Goma, causing the mass exodus of refugees to Rwanda. Hundreds of bodies have been found and buried in Mugunga camp.

"Today amidst international indifference, hundreds of thousands of Zairian civilians and refugees from Rwanda and Burundi are fleeing violence in eastern Zaire; they are without food, water or medicines," Mr Berger said.

The delegation also fears that severe human rights violations, such as extrajudicial executions are occurring in Kisangani, north central Zaire, which has recently become an operational zone as a result of the conflict in eastern Zaire. The delegation requested authorisation to carry out research in Kisangani, and though the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Interior assured Amnesty International access, the authorisation was never delivered, raising questions as to whether the authorities had reasons to fear the delegation's presence in Kisangani.

"Reports have been received by the organisation about killings, raping and pillage being carried out by the Forces Armees Zairoises ( FAZ), including violent attacks on families including beating and raping women and girls as young as 12 in Kisangani," Mr Berger said.

Amnesty International has continued to call on the Zairian authorities to end continued human rights violations committed by its own forces.

The organization has called both on the FAZ and on the AFDL to adhere to the principles of international humanitarian law through the respect of vulnerable persons (civilians and other persons hors de combat) and by giving access to the victims to humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC.

Investigations carried out by the delegation during the last two weeks reveal that the Zairian authorities are responsible for detaining dozens of political prisoners in detention centres throughout the capital. The prisoners are held without charge or trial and are denied access to visits by lawyers, doctors or family members. Some of them are believed to have "disappeared".

Amnesty International is further concerned that the Zairian authorities continue to arrest persons exercising their right to freedom of expression. Over the last two weeks the delegation has interviewed dozens of victims including parliamentarians, trade unionists, lawyers, journalists and members of NGOs. They told us of beatings, rapes and imprisonment for exercising basic rights. The organization has identified 10 possible prisoners of conscience currently being held in Kinshasa alone. Three human rights activists, Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, Harouna Mbongo and Bashi Nabukili, members of a human rights group La voix des sans voix (VSV), Voice of the Voiceless, were held incommunicado for six days before being released.


Les executions, la torture et les arrestations arbitraires se poursuivent and l'indifference general

KINSHASA -- A l'issue de deux semaines dèenquete au Zaire, le Secretaire general adjoint d"Amnesty International, Herve Berger, a declare aujourd"hui que torture et arrestations ont lieu dans la capitale zairoise et que des massacres se deroulent dans les zones d'intenses combats dans un climat d"insecurite et d'impunite croissantes.

Herve Berger affirme : "Bien que les autorites exercent un controle strict des entrees dans les zones en conflit du pays, la diffusion d"informations faisant etat d'executions, de torture et d'arrestations arbitraires ne peut etre arretee.

" Les autorites zairoises creent un climat d"intimidation au sein duquel ceux qui demandent que la lumiere soit faite sur le role des autorites zairoises dans la crise actuelle n'ont pas voix au chapitre. Les gens ont peur de s'exprimer sur les recents evenements tels la persecution de membres des minorites Tutsi et Hutu et le role des Forces Armees Zairoises dans l'est du Zaire. Pendant ce temps, les groupes armes a Kivu executent deliberement et arbitrairement des Zairois et des refugies".

Dans un rapport presente aujourd'hui a Kinshasa (intitule Zaire: violente persecution perpetree par l'Etat et les groupes armes), l'equipe d'Amnesty International fait etat des graves violations des droits de l'homme commises a la fois par les forces armees zairoises et par les groupes armes qui controlent une grande partie du nord et du sud Kivu dans l'est du Zaire.

M. Berger affirme : "La semaine derniere, nous avons recu des temoignages affirmant que des centaines de refugies rwandais et de Zairois deplaces avaient ete massacres par des groupes armes diriges par des Tutsi."

L'organisation a recueilli des temoignages faisant etat de centaines d'executions deliberees et arbitraires de civils zairois et de refugies perpetrees a Bukavu, Uvira et Goma par des membres de groupes armes Tutsi connus aujourd'hui sous le nom d'Alliance des forces democratiques pour la liberation du Congo-Zaire (AFDL). Des refugies ont egalement ete rapatries de force vers le Rwanda et le Burundi.

Selon les informations d'Amnesty International, le 18 novembre et les jours qui ont precede et suivi cette date, environ 500 refugies rwandais et Zairois deplaces ont ete massacres par des membres de l'AFDL. Le massacre a eu lieu dans le camp de refugies de Chimanga, a environ 60 km au sud de Bukavu. L'AFDL a aussi encercle et expulse de force des refugies du Burundi, les livrant aux troupes burundaises postees a la frontiere. Des centaines de refugies ainsi livres ont ete massacres par les soldats burundais.

L'AFDL a aussi attaque le camp de refugies de Mugunga pres de Goma, causant ainsi un exode massif de refugies vers le Rwanda. Des centaines de corps ont ete retrouves et enterres dans le camp de Mugunga.

M. Berger affirme : "Aujourd'hui, dans l'indifference de la communaute internationale, des centaines de milliers de civils zairois et de refugies du Rwanda et du Burundi fuient la violence dans l'est du Zaire. Ils sont sans nourriture, sans eau et sans medicaments."

La delegation craint aussi que de graves violations des droits de l"homme, telles des executions extrajudiciaires ne soient actuellement perpetrees a Kisangani, au nord du Zaire, recemment devenu zone operationnelle a la suite de l'eclatement du conflit dans l'est du Zaire. La delegation a demande l'autorisation de mener une enquete a Kinsangani mais bien que le Vice Premier Ministre et le Ministere de l'interieur aient donne l'assurance de leur soutien, l'autorisation n'a jamais ete delivree, laissant ainsi planer le doute quant aux raisons pour lesquelles les autorites pourraient craindre la presence de la delegation a Kisangani.

M. Berger declare : "Nous avons recu des temoignages faisant etat d"executions, de viols et de pillages menes par les Forces Armees Zairoises (FAZ) qui ont notamment conduit de violentes attaques contre des familles a Kisangani ou des femmes et de tres jeunes filles de 12 ans ont ete battues et violees."

Amnesty International continue de demander instamment aux autorites zairoises de mettre fin aux violations des droits de l"homme commises par ses propres forces.

L'organisation appelle a la fois les FAZ et l'AFDL a observer les principes du droit humanitaire international en respectant les personnes vulnerables (civils et autres personnes hors de combat) et en autorisant l'acces aupres des victimes d'organisations humanitaires telles le CICR.

Les enquetes menees au cours de ces dernieres semaines par la delegation d'Amnesty International revelent que les autorites sont responsables de la detention de dizaines de prisonniers politiques dans des centres repartis dans toute la capitale. Ces prisonniers sont detenus sans preuve et sans jugement et se voient refuse l'acces a un avocat, a des medecins ou a leurs proches. Certains d'entre eux auraient "disparu".

Amnesty International s'inquiete en outre de ce que les autorites zairoises continuent d'arreter des personnes qui ont exerce leur droit a la liberte d'expression. Ces deux dernieres semaines, la delegation a rencontre des dizaines de victimes, notamment des parlementaires, des syndicalistes, des juristes, des journalistes et des membres d'ONG. Ils nous ont parle de passages a tabac, de viols et d'emprisonnements punissant le simple exercice de leurs droits fondamentaux. Rien qu'a Kinshasa, l'organisation a identifie 10 prisonniers d'opinion potentiels actuellement detenus. Trois militants des droits de l'homme - Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, Harouna Mbongo et Bashi Nabukili - membres du groupe des droits de l'homme La voix des sans voix (VSV) ont ete detenus six jours au secret avant d'etre finalement relaches.


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