GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE REAX

12-Mar-2019 00:03:01
Tribal massacres in Western Democratic Republic of the Congo involving horrific attacks on women and children last December may amount to crimes against humanity, UN investigators said on Monday. UNTV CH
Size
Format
Acquire
429.3 MB
HD PAL
192.36 MB
SD PAL
430.66 MB
HD NTSC
DESCRIPTION
STORY: GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE REAX
TRT: 3:01
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 12 MARCH 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations, sunny.
2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“We’ve been able to verify fully that at least 535 men, women and children were killed and 111 others were injured in Yumbi town, Bongende village and Nkolo II village.”
4. Med shot, journalists,
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“These figures are most likely an underestimate. The number of casualties is believed to be much higher, as the bodies of some who died are believed to have been thrown in the Congo River. It’s also not possible to confirm the number of people who are still missing. As an estimated 19,000 people were displaced by the violence, 16,000 of whom crossed over into the Republic of Congo.”
6. Close up, journalists.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“Our detailed investigation found that the attacks, which were initially triggered by a dispute over the burial of a Banunu customary chief, followed strikingly similar patterns and were characterized by their extreme violence and speed, leaving little time for people to escape. They were led by another ethnic group, the Batende villagers, who were equipped with firearms, including hunting rifles, machetes, bows and arrows, and gasoline, who targeted the Banunu villagers. People were attacked in the streets, in their homes and as they tried to flee.”
8. Med shot, journalists.
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“The report details the horrors documented, such as a two-year-old reportedly thrown into a septic tank and a woman reportedly brutally raped after her three-year-old child was decapitated and her husband killed.”
10. Med shot, journalist.
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“The investigation concluded that the crimes documented in Yumbi may amount to the crimes against humanity of murder, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as persecution.”
12. Med shot, journalists.
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“So there are going to be elections held in this territory on 31 March, but of course these people who’ve been displaced and who’ve had to flee across the border to the Republic of Congo, will probably not be able to vote because of ongoing fears of violence and reality this impossibility for them to get back to their homes.”
14. Close up, cameraman.
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“There were clear indications that there were rising tensions, especially after the burial of this customary chief. There were police that had been deployed, but they left before the attacks actually took place, so there was a clear absence, I mean, of preventive action being taken by the authorities on this instance.”
16. Close up, cameraman.
17. Med shot, journalists.
18. Med shot, journalists.
19. Med shot, journalists.
20. Close up, man on phone
STORYLINE
Tribal massacres in Western Democratic Republic of the Congo involving horrific attacks on women and children last December may amount to crimes against humanity, UN investigators said on Monday.

The development follows a UN probe in Yumbi territory, Mai-Ndombe province, which found evidence of extended attacks carried out between 16 and 18 December 2018 in four locations.

Similar violence was also reported in neighbouring Lukolela territory.

The mission to Yumbi took place after reports that 890 people had been killed and thousands displaced as a result of clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities, Ravina Shamdasani from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in Geneva.

“We’ve been able to verify fully that at least 535 men, women and children were killed and 111 others were injured in Yumbi town, Bongende village and Nkolo II village,” Shamdasani said, adding that these figures “are most likely an underestimate. The number of casualties is likely to be higher, as the bodies of some who died are believed to have been thrown into the Congo River”.

In addition, the OHCHR spokesperson explained that it was “not possible to confirm the number of persons still missing as an estimated 19,000 people were displaced by the violence, 16,000 of whom crossed the Congo River into the Republic of the Congo”.

According to the investigators, the violence was triggered by a dispute over the burial of a Banunu chief, reportedly on Batende land.

Attacks followed “strikingly similar patterns and were characterized by their extreme violence and speed, leaving little time for people to escape”, Shamdasani said, noting that some Batende villagers “equipped with firearms, including hunting rifles, machetes, bows and arrows, and gasoline…targeted the Banunu villagers. People were attacked in the streets, in their homes and as they tried to flee.”

Among the report’s findings are witnesses’ testimonies that victims were asked if they were ethnic Banunu, before being killed, Shamdasani explained, adding that other “horrors” documented included a “two-year-old reportedly thrown into a septic tank and a woman reportedly brutally raped after her three-year-old child was decapitated and her husband killed”.

Faced with such evidence the OHCHR official highlighted the investigation’s conclusion that the crimes documented in Yumbi “may amount to the crimes against humanity of murder, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as persecution”.

Asked whether there was a possible link between the intercommunal attacks and elections that were due to take place in December - but which were postponed to the end of March because of the violence - she said that no concrete proof had been found to support the theory.

“There are going to be elections held in this territory on 31 March,” she said, “but of course these people who’ve been displaced and who’ve had to flee across the border to the Republic of Congo, will probably not be able to vote because of ongoing fears of violence and reality this impossibility for them to get back to their homes.”

Turning to the responsibility of the DRC authorities to protect its citizens, Ms. Shamdasani reiterated the importance of holding the perpetrators responsible for their actions.

She also repeated the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, for a truth and reconciliation between the Banunu and Batende communities to prevent further violence.

“There were clear indications that there were rising tensions, especially after the burial of this customary chief,” Shamdasani said. “There were police that had been deployed, but they left before the attacks actually took place, so there was a clear absence, I mean, of preventive action being taken by the authorities on this instance.”

The joint investigation was carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office, which was established in February 2008 - the Human Rights Division of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) - and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC.
Category
Topical Subjects
Source
Alternate Title
unifeed190312a