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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Zaire: UN Human Rights Report
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
However, we hope they may still provide leads for your research.
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

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 elŠves (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
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

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

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

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.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary
objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States
around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by
concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and
individuals. APIC is affiliated with the Washington Office on
Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church, trade union and civil
rights group supported organization that works with Congress
on Africa-related legislation.


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