Three international experts have been assigned to investigate allegations of mass killings and other grave human rights violations in the Kasai provinces of Democratic Republic of Congo.
The appointments of Bacre Ndiaye of Senegal, Fatimata M’Baye of Mauritania and Canadian Luc Côté were announced Wednesday by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The establishment of the international team of experts was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution that followed a request from OHCHR chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in June. That resolution noted violence in the region marked by violations of international humanitarian law including reports of the “recruitment and use of child soldiers, sexual and gender-based violence, destruction of houses, schools, places of worship, and state infrastructure by local militias, as well as of mass graves.”
The appointment announcement came as the United Nations Security Council, also on Wednesday, stressed that DR Congo must implement the December 31 political agreement and move toward December 2017 elections.
That deal between President Joseph Kabila and his PPRD party, and the Rassemblement opposition coalition, sought to resolve the country’s political standoff after Kabila postponed 2016 elections and remained in office despite the constitutional two-term limit.
The security council expressed its ongoing concern over a humanitarian crisis that has left more than 1.4 million people internally displaced and forced more than 30,000 people to flee the country. It also called on Congolese officials to “swiftly and fully investigate” the deaths of American Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan of Sweden, two special experts who were killed in the Kasais in March.
Image: UN Human Rights Council file