국제앰네스티는 30일 콩고민주공화국 독립 50주년을 맞이해 콩고 내 인권활동이 극심한 탄압을 받고 있음을 경고했다.독립기념축제는 26일 킨샤사(Kinshasa) 경찰에 의해 소환됐다가 사망한 인권활동가 플로리베르 체베야 바히지레(Floribert Chebeya Bahizire)의 장례식 며칠 후 개최됐다.
국제앰네스티 베로니크 오베르(Veronique Aubert) 아프리카 부국장은 “콩고 내 인권활동가와 언론인을 상대로 한 살해위협이 급증하고 있다”며 “목소리를 내야 하는 이들이 억압당하고 있다는 사실은 부끄러운 일이다”라고 말했다.
국제앰네스티는 독립조사위원회를 조직해 체베야 씨의 죽음 및 실종된 운전사의 소재에 대한 조사에 착수할 것을 콩고민주공화국 정부에 요청했으나, 당국은 이를 무시하고 있다.
또 다음달에 파스칼 카붕굴루(Pascal Kabungulu) 인권활동가가 사망한 지 5주년을 맞는다. 그는 2005년 7월 자신의 거처에 침입한 무장 괴한에 의해 침실에서 끌려 나와 가족들 앞에서 총을 맞고 사망했다.
그를 살해한 범인들에 대한 재판은 5년 이상 보류돼왔다. 이들은 군인 및 고위급 군인 및 정치적 인사로서 사법적 정의를 약속했던 조셉 카빌라(Joseph Kabila) 대통령의 약속에도 불구하고 여전히 자유로운 상태다.
오베르 부국장은 “콩고가 이렇게 극심한 인권상황을 무시한 채 전국적인 축제를 벌이는 것은 충분히 위선적인 행동이다”며 “콩고인들은 만족스럽지 못한 평화와 차후 있을 위기 사이에 갇혀있다. 콩고 정부가 시민의 요구를 우선시하지 않는 한, 인권존중은 동떨어진 꿈에 불과할 것이다”라고 말했다.
Human rights activists targeted in Democratic Republic of Congo
30 June 2010
The work of human rights activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo is becoming increasingly deadly, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday as the country celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence.
The high profile celebrations come just days after the 26 June funeral of Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, the country’s most prominent human rights activist, whose body was found the day after he was summoned to attend a meeting with Kinshasa police.
“Death threats against human rights defenders and journalists in the DRC are increasing at an alarming rate,” said Veronique Aubert. “It is shameful that the voices that need to be heard most are those being stifled.”
Floribert Chebeya was the executive director of one of Congo’s largest human rights organizations and had been working on a number of sensitive affairs involving the head of Police General John Numbi. His body was found in his car early on 2 June.
The activist had previously told Amnesty International that he felt he had been followed and that he was under surveillance by the security services.
Floribert Chebeya’s funeral was held on 26 June, International day for the Victims of Torture, at the wish of his family, who believe he died as a consequence of torture.
Lavish Independence Day celebrations in the capital Kinshasa are to be led by President Joseph Kabila and attended by senior figures such as UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon. Amnesty International has called on the Congolese government to launch an independent enquiry of commission to investigate Mr Chebeya’s death and the whereabouts of his driver who is still missing. These calls have been ignored by the authorities.
The past year has seen an increase in death threats against human rights activists and journalists in the DRC, usually received by telephone and text message.
Two activists were prosecuted in August and September respectively after their organizations published reports critical of the authorities. Numerous others have been arbitrarily arrested and ill-treated in custody. Next month marks the 5th anniversary of the death of Pascal Kabungulu, another prominent human rights activist who was killed on July 2005 by a group of armed men who broke into his house, dragged him out of his bedroom and shot him dead in front of his family.
The trial of the men accused of killing him has been deadlocked for more than five years. These men, who include soldiers and more senior military and political figures, are still free in spite of a public promise by President Joseph Kabila that justice would be done.
“It is nothing short of hypocritical for Congo to throw nationwide celebrations without acknowledging the appalling state of human rights in the country today,” said Veronique Aubert. “The Congolese people are trapped in a limbo between an unsatisfactory peace and the threat of further approaching crises.
“Until Congo’s government puts the interest of its people first, security and respect for human rights will remain a distant dream.”
About two million people remain internally displaced in Congo due to continued fighting between the military and armed groups. Unlawful killings, torture and rape remain rife in the eastern part of the country.
MONUC, the biggest UN peacekeeping mission in the world with 20,500 personnel, remains the only force in the DRC capable of providing a measure of protection to the civilian population.
The government has repeatedly called for its withdrawal. Amnesty International fears that a withdrawal of MONUC will lead to further deterioration of the human rights situation in the country.