With the decrease of violence in the Kasaï region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the arrival of new civilian authorities, and the appointment of a new prime minister, the conditions are in place to begin the fight against impunity and work towards the reconciliation of communities, said two UN independent human rights experts on Tuesday.
The region, one of the country’s poorest, was the theater of tremendous atrocities – including the enslavement of women and children – in 2016 and 2017, leading hundreds of thousands to be displaced and in need of life-saving assistance. A reconciliation process between fighting communities began in September 2017.
“The authorities need to act now," stated Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Chairperson of the human rights team mandated with monitoring the situation in the Kasaï region. He was presenting the team’s report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, following three missions to verify the implementation by the Congolese government of the recommendations made by the previous team of experts.
This new report stresses that impunity prevails and highlights the need for the Congolese authorities to punish serious crimes committed in Kasaï between 2016 and 2017, and to create the necessary conditions for a reconciliation of the communities. The experts also noted that these efforts would be in vain in the absence of economic and social development policies in Kasaï, a landlocked region suffering from a chronic deficit in infrastructure.
"Although there are obstacles to overcome, it is still possible to get Kasaï out of the crisis, to move towards justice and an inclusive resolution of the conflict and progress," said Mr. Ndiaye.