While the human rights situation in the DRC has further deteriorated and the armed violence has intensified, the Council called for an accelerated adoption of the Law on the Protection and Responsibility of Human Rights Defenders.
On the second day of the NGO Forum ahead of the 73rd session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), civil society discussed measures taken by crisis-stricken African States that hamper progress in fighting gender-based violence and shrink civic space.
On 22 March 2021, the High Commissioner on human rights, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the International Team of Experts on the Kasaï region updated the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 22 February to 23 March 2021, will consider issues including the protection of human rights defenders, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests-particularly in the United States of America-, freedom of religion or belief, protection and promotion of human rights while countering terrorism, the right to food, among others. It will also hold dedicated debates on grave human rights situations in States including Nicaragua, Venezuela, Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, Syria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Eritrea, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.
Despite current circumstances being conducive to the opening of a healthy democratic space, doubts linger over whether the new authorities will seize this opportunity to put an end to impunity, bring its legislation into line with international standards and take concrete steps to promote and protect human rights.
Lassana Koné is a lawyer in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, working for Forest Peoples Programme, an international NGO working to protect the rights of those who live in the world’s forests.
'Human rights defenders in DRC face obstacles in all aspects of their work, especially because neither companies nor the Government understand, or are willing to understand, their important role in the society', says Emmanuel Umpula Nkumba, a human rights defender from the Democratic Republic of Congo.