The republic of Congo has received praise from the United Nations (UN) in respect of its openness during visits by human rights investigators.
This was disclosed by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, during his opening statement at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council.
After bemoaning how other countries had shut out his officers, Zeid added, ‘‘I want to emphasise that some States do continue to cooperate fully. This was recently the case of the Republic of Congo, despite the severity of the violations alleged. The report of that mission is being finalized, and the prompt access granted by the authorities is appreciated.’‘
Other African countries that were mentioned during his address included Ethiopia, the Gambia, Mozambique and Burundi.
According to him, despite impressive economic advancement, the UN was deeply concerned about ‘‘repeated allegations of excessive and lethal use of force against protesters, enforced disappearances, and mass detentions, including of children, as well as by worrying restrictions on civil society, the media and opposition.’‘
He emphasized calls for the government to allow his office access to carry out an independent and impartial assessment of the situation on the ground in order to affirm or revise the allegations.
On the situation in Gambia, he said:
“Similarly, in the Gambia the UN has requested clearance to field a joint mission and we await a positive response.
“As I outlined at the June session of this Council, we have been alarmed by instances of inflammatory speech, as well as alleged violence against protesters in the context of the electoral campaign, and more recently, death in detention, and reported torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
Given the potentially serious repercussions of any further decline in the situation, I believe it is urgent to assist the authorities to maintain respect for all human rights.