Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

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  • In April, an army sergeant told Amnesty International that systematic military exploitation took place at a large cassiterite mine in Walungu territory, South-Kivu province. He said that the profits were split between two FARDC army brigades and the regional army headquarters in Bukavu.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Torture and other ill-treatment remained common in military, police and intelligence service custody. Armed groups were also responsible for such abuses. Conditions in all detention centres and prisons constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Scores of prisoners and pre-trial detainees died from starvation and treatable illnesses. Rape and other sexual abuse of female prisoners were widespread. There were frequent mass escapes from prisons and detention centres, including by army personnel accused or convicted of human rights violations.

  • Twenty women detainees were raped at Goma's Muzenze prison during an attempted mass escape in June. The women were attacked in their cells by a group of military prisoners armed with weapons smuggled into the prison.

Death penalty

Military courts sentenced scores of people to death during the year, including civilians. No executions were reported.

Human rights defenders and freedom of expression

A number of human rights activists were arbitrarily arrested and ill-treated in custody. There was an increase in death threats against human rights defenders and journalists, usually received by mobile phone text message. Two human rights defenders were prosecuted after their organizations published reports critical of the authorities. Trade unionists and journalists were arrested after they alleged corruption by government ministers and other officials. The government threatened that local and international journalists would be tried before military courts if they published articles considered insulting to the army.