The UN announced Friday that 43 people were killed during anti-UN demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Demonstrators in Goma were protesting against a UN peacekeeping mission when soldiers interfered, resulting in 56 injuries and at least 222 arrests.A religious sect attempted to host the rally against the the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) on Wednesday. The peacekeeping mission replaced the previous operation in July 2010. It is authorized to use all necessary means to “protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.” The UN stated that these particular demonstrations were also in opposition to the Regional Force of the East African Community, other UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs)A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, condemned the use of violence during these events. She stated that the UN is “extremely alarmed” at the death toll. Shamdasani also expressed concern over the protection of the human rights of those who have been arrested:We are concerned that the risk of human rights violations in such a charged context is high. It is crucial that the rights of those arrested are fully respected, including their due process rights . . . People have a right to express themselves freely and to assemble peacefully, even if in protest at the United Nations and other actors. Authorities must facilitate the right to peaceful assembly.As a result of the demonstrations and their casualties, the DRC government has opened an investigation. The UN called for the investigation to be “thorough, effective, and impartial” and to focus on the use of force by the security forces involved. The UN stated, “Those responsible for violations must be held to account, regardless of their affiliation.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk specifically called for all future policing of public assemblies adheres to human rights standards.Armed conflict has simmered for three decades across the DRC, predominately brought about by the resurgence of the rebel group M23 who captured large amounts of territories in 2021. Two years on, and despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers, the situation in the region remains volatile. Currently, there are approximately 5.1 million internally displaced people within the eastern portion of the country. UN activities in the DRC amount to one of the largest peacekeeping missions in the world at the moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *