News / Africa

DRC Rights Activist Found Dead

Congolese head of the Voix des Sans-Voix (Voice of the Voiceless) (VSV) party Floribert Chebeya (2005 file photo)
Congolese head of the Voix des Sans-Voix (Voice of the Voiceless) (VSV) party Floribert Chebeya (2005 file photo)

A leading human rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been found dead on the outskirts of the capital. Kinshasa police say they have opened an investigation.

Amnesty International says it is stunned and appalled by the death of Floribert Chebeya, who was summoned Tuesday to see police Inspector General John Numbi.

Chebeya's family says he sent a text message later that evening saying he was leaving the police inspectorate and stopping briefly at the university on his way home.  He was found dead early Wednesday near his home.

Inspector General Numbi has not spoken to reporters about what happened Tuesday.  

Jean Eloko Botuna, Kinshasa's provincial inspector general of police, says police found a body in an abandoned vehicle on the outskirts of Kinshasa, and that body was later identified as Chebeya's.  At this stage of their investigation, he added, police are unable to determine the circumstances of his death.

Botuna says police are going forward with their inquiry.  And once that investigation uncovers the circumstance of Chebeya's death, he says police will arrest those responsible.

Amnesty International says Chebeya had been arrested and harassed by authorities in the past.  The deputy director of Amnesty's Africa Program, Veronique Aubert, says Chebeya felt he was being followed by security services.

"We have spoken regularly with Floribert, and we knew that he was very worried about his security, worried that something could happen to him.  He said in October he was sleeping on the floor.  And the fact that he disappeared and then was found dead after having been summoned by police in Kinshasa is very suspicious," said Aubert.

Chebeya led one of Congo's most prominent human rights organizations, the Voice of the Voiceless.

"Floribert was extremely courageous," said Aubert. "He was outspoken and was trying to help the human rights situation on the ground.  His death is a great loss not only for his family, but also for human-rights organizations in Congo and all over the world."

Provincial police Inspector General Botuna says he and Chebeya spoke regularly about human rights in Congo.

Botuna says he is happy to talk about Chebeya because if the human rights leader had problems in Congo, it was not with the police.  In the last two years, Botuna says Chebeya was never summoned by the police.  But he did come on his own to speak about different cases.

Botuna says human rights workers in Congo are a barometer of police conduct.  And those responsible for the police need that criticism, especially as the country approaches this month's 50th anniversary of independence.

Botuna says everyone goes about their business in Kinshasa.  Women leave home in the morning to sell bread and return at midnight.  In a city of 10 million people, he says there are only one or two crimes a month.  He is not saying that is good, but compared to other cities, Botuna says, Kinshasa is safe.

Amnesty International says police oppression of human rights defenders in Congo has been on the rise during the past year and has included threats and illegal arrests.  The human rights group says President Joseph Kabila's government must immediately launch a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into Chebeya's death.   

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid