Alarming reports of human rights violations in the Republic of Congo � Zeid

Very alarming reports have been coming out of the Republic of Congo regarding an apparent Government security operation in an area of southern Brazzaville known as the Poolrdquo;. Since the March 20 presidential election, there have been reports that security operations have been conducted against opposition leaders and supporters who allegedly attacked a police station and areas in the southern part of the capital on 4 April. The Government has announced that 17 people died in security operations, including three members of security forces, with several others wounded.

There have been reports of mass arrests and torture in detention, as well as the killing and displacement of people from the Pool. The reports have been difficult to verify, given a lack of access to the area by independent actors. I urge the Government to ensure that humanitarian actors are urgently able to access the Pool and to ensure that security forces act in full accordance with the Republic of Congo’s obligations under international human rights law. Any incidents involving the use of force, particularly lethal force, by the security forces must be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated. All those arrested and detained must not be ill-treated. They should either be charged and brought before a judge, in line with international due process standards, or be swiftly released.

I call on the Government, political leaders and their supporters to endeavour to resolve all differences peacefully and within the law, and to eschew violence in the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.rdquo;

Source:Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).