The government response to deadly ethnic violence and reprisals in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda in July 2014 has been inadequate. The government should arrange for a credible independent investigation to examine the circumstances of the initial attacks, the subsequent response – including the possible involvement of government forces in reprisal attacks and torture, and the adequacy of protection for civilians in the following days.
The bold activists around the world who stand up to corporate and government economic interests frequently face a harsh backlash. Individuals and communities are threatened, and activists may be arrested or killed with impunity in retaliation for speaking out against abuses of worker rights, hazardous environmental conditions, and displacement from large-scale infrastructure projects, to name some all-too-common examples.
Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo summarily killed at least 51 youth and forcibly disappeared 33 others during an anti-crime campaign that began a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. “Operation Likofi,” which lasted from November 2013 to February 2014, targeted alleged gang members in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
One night in 2013, Jeanne was awakened by pounding on the door of her home in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, she told Human Rights Watch in a soft, sad voice. When she asked who was there, the men outside yelled “Police!” They broke down her door and rounded up all the men in the house and beat them, but let them go once they found Jeanne’s 19-year-old grandson, Joseph, whom Jeanne had helped raise. They dragged her grandson outside the house, shot him three times in the chest, and left him dead in the avenue, covered in blood.