World Bulletin/News Desk
U.N. officials on Monday demanded a halt to the expulsion of tens of thousands of Democratic Republic of Congo's citizens from neighbouring Congo Republic and called for an investigation into allegations of human rights violations.
A U.N. statement said that over 130,000 Congolese nationals have been ejected from Brazzaville, capital of Congo Republic, since the start of April and that it has received reports of physical abuse and sexual violence on those being expelled.
The government in Brazzaville says the operation, dubbed the "slap that hurts" in the local Lingala language, is targeted at cleaning up city streets and putting an end to criminal gangs.
Democratic Republic of Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende has repeatedly stressed that Congo Republic has a sovereign right to manage its internal affairs but that those arriving in Kinshasa told stories of abuses and mistreatment.
"I heard numerous testimonies of victims of gross human rights abuses and cruel treatments," said Martin Kobler, the head of the U.N. mission to Democratic Republic of Congo, after visiting a camp near Kinshasa that is processing arrivals.
"I saw a man injured by bullets and mothers who had given birth alone on the shore of the Congo River. All that has to stop," he added, insisting that mass expulsions are contrary to international law.
Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, joined Kobler in demanding an end to the expulsions and expressing concern about the stories of sexual violence.
Kinshasa and Brazzaville face each other across the Congo river and are the two closest capitals in the world. They share strong ethnic and commercial ties, and expulsions and diplomatic tension on this new scale have been rare.Last Mod: 26 Mayıs 2014, 16:17