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Cablegate: Drc Human Rights Group Issues Report On

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PP RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1307/01 2301229
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181229Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4623
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001307

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KPKO CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ISSUES REPORT ON
PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE

REF: A. KINSHASA 1064

B. KINSHASA 1195
C. KINSHASA 1208

1. (U) Summary: The National Observatory for Human Rights
(ONDH), one of the five "citizen institutions" of the DRC's
transitional government, issued August 12 a report detailing
its findings concerning campaign-related violence in the
month leading up to the country's July 30 presidential and
legislative elections. ONDH focused its findings primarily on
two incidents -- a clash between security forces and an
anti-separatist group on June 30 in the port city of Matadi
(ref A), and the violence in Kinshasa July 27 occurring after
a campaign rally for Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba (refs B
and C). The human rights group spread blame for the Matadi
incident largely among Congolese military and political
officials, but stated the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) group also
shared some responsibility for the violence. Regarding the
Kinshasa affair, the ONDH report stated that the Movement for
the Liberation of Congo (MLC, Bemba's party) should be held
responsible for the violence and destruction caused and
should pay reparations for the damage and loss of human life.
End summary.

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2. (U) ONDH, one of the five "citizen institutions" of the
DRC's transitional government charged with following the
country's human rights situation, issued August 12 a report
analyzing the state of public freedoms during the Congo's
pre-election campaign period from June 29 to July 28. The
report assigned blame for the violence of two particular
events -- one in Matadi and one in Kinshasa -- and called for
those responsible to be held accountable. ONDH officials
appealed for state authorities to take disciplinary actions
against those incriminated in the report. The report
concluded that if examples are not made of the perpetrators
of these acts, then the violence which occurred and the
impunity they enjoy severely compromises the electoral
process, human rights, and freedom of expression in the DRC.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
MILITARY, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS BLAMED IN MATADI INCIDENT
--------------------------------------------- ----------

3. (U) Much of the report focused on the June 30 clash
between members of the separatist group Bundu dia Kongo (BDK)
-- which advocates for the overthrow of the DRC government
and the creation of an independent Kongo state -- and
security forces in the port city of Matadi in Bas-Congo
province (ref A). The report stated that the object of the
BDK rally was clearly political in nature as the marchers
were carrying banners with messages urging members of the
transitional government to leave their posts. (Note: The
transitional government, according to the DRC's transitional
constitution, was to end June 30, 2006. With the adoption of
the new constitution in December 2005, the transitional
government remains in place until a new president and prime
minister are installed following presidential and legislative
elections. End note.) ONDH said it was not convinced by the
arguments of Congolese military officials that they were
acting in self-defense against the protesters, given the
disproportionate response by security forces and number of
victims killed in the clashes.

4. (U) The ONDH report likewise lays partial responsibility
for the Matadi events on the commander of the 2nd Military
Region in Bas-Congo, General Tshikwej. The report states that
General Tshikwej incorrectly presumed, contrary to reports
from local police officials, that the BDK protesters would be
in possession of arms and include demobilized soldiers in
their ranks. ONDH said it would bring charges against
Tshikwej regarding his decision to deploy the military in

SIPDIS
this situation, especially as the police were responsible for
providing election-related security.

5. (U) The ONDH report noted as well the irresponsibility and
lack of attention paid to the developing situation by the
Governor of Bas-Congo, Cesar Nsasa di Tumba. Observatory
officials said he did not take seriously his responsibility
to maintain public order or to follow the deployment of the
military in Matadi. ONDH said it will file complaints against
the governor as well for his omissions. Finally, the report
held BDK guilty of violating DRC law regarding authorization
for public meetings and rallies. According to DRC statutes,
all political groups must receive advance permission from the
appropriate provincial authorities to hold demonstrations.

KINSHASA 00001307 002 OF 002


BDK officials did not receive such authorization. In
addition, the report holds BDK responsible for the death of
one Congolese soldier and the violence committed against
military police officers.

----------------------------------------
MLC RESPONSIBLE FOR VIOLENCE IN KINSHASA
----------------------------------------

6. (U) The second part of the ONDH report focused on the
events before and after a rally of the MLC in Kinshasa July
27. After a speech at a local stadium, Bemba followers
committed various acts of vandalism along the road from the
Kinshasa airport to the neighborhood of Masina, including the
harassment of police forces and the burning and tearing down
of campaign banners. Five police stations were sacked by MLC
supporters during the course of the day, as were the
headquarters of the ONDH itself and the offices of the High
Media Authority. The ONDH report noted that the MLC militants
were responsible for the deaths of four police officers, one
of whom was burned alive outside the stadium where Bemba
spoke.

7. (U) Referring to elements of the DRC's electoral law
holding the organizers of political rallies responsible for
maintaining their order, the ONDH report held the MLC fully
responsible for the acts committed July 27. The report called
for the party to pay reparations for the losses of property
and life. The report noted that public authorities were
likewise partially to blame for not adequately controlling
the rioting and providing sufficient security.

8. (U) The MLC officially responded to the ONDH report in an
open letter dated August 14 which called for an independent
inquiry into the events of July 27. The statement deplored
the "political exploitation" of the July 27 events and the
broadcast of images recorded during the rioting by
state-owned RTNC television station. The MLC likewise
condemned the acts of violence themselves, but claimed
certain political leaders were using the incident to defame
the party and Bemba. With regard to the deaths of the four
police officers, the statement said the MLC was "shocked" to
find ONDH had blamed the party for such acts, alleging
instead the police in question died as a result of a car
accident.

----------------------
COMMENT: LITTLE IMPACT
----------------------

9. (SBU) Comment: The ONDH report provides little new
information on either the events in Matadi or Kinshasa. The
involvement of MLC supporters in the July 27 rioting was
known from the beginning. The events in Matadi demonstrate
the difficulty in coordinating police and military
activities, as well as the largely ineffective management and
training of the Congolese military. Unfortunately, despite
making clear who should be held responsible for such acts,
ONDH has no enforcement power, and its report will not have
much impact. End comment.
MEECE

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