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DRC Government Demands Evidence of Rights Abuses

FILE - DRC President Joseph Kabila.
FILE - DRC President Joseph Kabila.

A spokesman for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo said human rights groups concerned about abuses in the DRC should cooperate with the government by providing proof of alleged violations so that the government may investigate such claims.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch released a report Tuesday accusing top security and ruling party officials in the DRC of hiring thugs to attack peaceful demonstrators last month calling on President Joseph Kabila not to seek another term when his mandate ends in December 2016.

Information Minister Lambert Mende said the allegations are not credible because Human Rights Watch has yet to provide a single name to support its claims.

“We were very concerned about that statement from Human Rights Watch. We did ask them to give us more evidence to help us inquire. But what we saw was that it was just a copy of a statement from the opposition that was launched on the same day of the demonstrations. We didn’t see any names, any evidence. There are no names of so-called people who are being killed. These people are [supposedly] being killed don’t have families,” he said.

Mende also said the allegations are part of an effort to get the UN Human Rights Commission to appoint a special rapporteur on human rights issues in the DRC.

“We are smelling a game to feed this claim that is being made in Geneva in the Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations that a special rapporteur be appointed on human rights issues in Congo because if they wanted to help our justice to investigate anybody, be it in government or parliament, they could have given us a single name. But there is no name. So there is a lack of credibility,” he said.

In the report, Human Rights Watch said it had been told by people who took part in the attack on the protesters that they were recruited by senior security officials and paid an equivalent of $65.