News / Africa

    UN Congo Report Released Amid Protest from Uganda, Rwanda

    Michael Onyiego

    The United Nations on Friday released a controversial report documenting massive violations of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report has sparked protests from both Rwanda and Uganda, whose armed forces are implicated in the crimes. The African countries of Angola and Burundi have also disputed aspects of the report.

    On Friday the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released the final version of a report documenting crimes against humanity and human rights violations committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    The report documents over 600 major crimes including mass rape, targeted killings of civilians and other crimes against humanity from 1993 to 2003. The report implicates armed forces from Uganda and Rwanda in many of the crimes, suggesting that some may have amounted to genocide.

    An initial draft leaked in late August sparked a diplomatic crisis, with Rwanda threatening to pull troops out of peacekeeping operations in the Darfur region of Sudan. While Rwanda has since withdrawn its threats, Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo called the final report "flawed and dangerous" and said it was a "moral and intellectual failure" aimed at "reigniting conflict in Rwanda and the region."

    But the United Nations is standing by the report. The Director of Field Operation and Technical Cooperation for the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, Anders Kompass, said the research was held to the highest standard and conducted impartially.

    "We have absolutely no interest in fabricating things that are so serious, so sad like the ones that are in this report," said Anders Kompass. "What is important to say is that the report does not make and definitive legal conclusions. What is in this report has then to be brought to a competent court where the evidence is then presented by both sides. What the report does is to provide a preliminary assessment of the facts."

    After the initial outcry from Rwanda and Uganda, the United Nations invited the countries mentioned in the report to submit comments, which have been published along with the final version. There were fears the Rwandan threats might compel the U.N. to dilute the report's findings but the final version maintains its initial conclusions, with some changes to the language.

    The report refers to many of the attacks as systematic in nature, and suggests they could possibly be characterized as genocide before a court of law.

    The report has essentially challenged the narrative of the Rwandan genocide which left over 800,000 dead in 1994. Much of President Paul Kagame's legitimacy has been based on his role in ending those killings. But the report implicates Rwandan forces under Mr. Kagame's command of similar crimes just across the border.

    In the wake of the 1994 genocide, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front pursued Hutu forces responsible for the genocide into the Congo. While Rwanda maintains it was pursuing military opponents, the report finds many instances of Hutu civilians being deliberately targeted.

    But the Rwandan government says the report is aimed at promoting the theory of "double genocide."

    The report also met with fury from the government of Uganda, similarly accused of serious crimes in the report.

    Following in Rwandan footsteps, the government issued a statement earlier this week saying the report could undermine its commitment to international peacekeeping operations. Uganda makes up a large portion of peacekeeping troops currently stationed in Somalia and there were fears the report would provoke their withdrawal from the troubled region. But the spokesman of the Uganda People's Defense Force, Felix Kulayigye, told VOA Uganda remained committed to the AMISOM mission in the Horn of African nation.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora